ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday pushed the pro-gun control angle as she highlighted the debate in Congress over a "nation awash in guns." After World News reporter Jon Karl recapped the testimony by the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre and Gabby Giffords, Sawyer lectured, "...There are two facts driving those hearings today. Thirty Americans die from gun violence in this country every single day. And nearly 23,000 have died in the past two years alone."
The anchor then mentioned "Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student and majorette" who was recently gunned down in Chicago by a gang member. This was Sawyer's only example of "gun violence." Of course, she didn't mention the case of a Texas mother who fended off three armed intruders, shooting one. Erin (her last name was withheld) explained, "Protecting ourselves goes into, you know, our Second Amendment right to bear arms and thousands of people died to give me the very right that saved my life." [See local news video of her story below.]
Camille Williams, a local NBC reporter added, "[Erin] says if she didn't have her pistol, her story would have been much different."
Sawyer concluded the tragic story of Ms. Pendleton, the teen killed in Chicago, by emotionally recounting, "She was just trying to get out of the rain." Equally real are cases like the mother in Texas or the man with the concealed carry permit who faced down a gunman in an Oregon mall.
They deserve press coverage, too.
A transcript of the January 30 World News segment, which aired at 6:35pm EST, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: And now, a dramatic day in Washington, a kind of showdown over gun violence in America. It began with a surprise appearance by Gabby Giffords, who made a plea for a nation awash in guns to do something. ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl tells us what happened.
JON KARL: You wouldn't know it by watching the way she arrived on Capitol Hill today, but it was just two years ago that a bullet shattered Gabby Giffords' skull.
GABBY GIFFORDS: Too many children are dying, too many children.
KARL: They were the very first words Giffords has spoken before Congress since she was shot. She used them to implore her former colleagues to act against gun violence.
GIFFORDS: It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.
KARL: And with that, Giffords left, leaving her husband, Mark Kelly, to take on the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre. Kelly argued for better background checks for all gun sales.
MARK KELLY: My wife would not be sitting in this seat, she would not have been sitting here today if we had stronger background checks.
WAYNE LAPIERRE: My problem with background checks is you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks.
KARL: And Kelly said if the man who shot his wife had been limited to an ammunition clip with just ten bullets, a little girl killed that day might still be alive today.
KELLY: The first bullet went into Gabby's head. Bullet number 13 went into a 9-year-old girl named Christina Taylor Green.
KARL: LaPierre said that new gun laws would only punish those who don't break the law.
LAPIERRE: Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals.
KARL: When it was over, Kelly went over to shake LaPierre's hand. The two had only agreed on one thing - the need for stronger measures to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. But as Giffords and Kelly told Diane Sawyer earlier this month, they are hoping for more common ground than just that.
SAWYER: So, it is the common sense consensus you're going for.
KELLY: We are. And I think most gun owners are in the same camp with us.
SAWYER: When it can happen to children in a classroom, it's time to say?
KARL: After the hearing was over, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly met with the President here at the White House. He is counting on them to help build public support for his gun control plans and he is going to need it, Diane. Right now, even the President's allies on Capitol Hill say that it will be extremely difficult for him to get any of it passed.
SAWYER: Okay, Jon, and as you well know, there are two facts driving those hearings today. 30 Americans die from gun violence in this country every single day. And nearly 23,000 have died in the past two years alone. And one of those lost became a kind of presence in those hearings today. Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student and majorette was in Washington 11 days ago, with her high school band for the inauguration. But yesterday, with her team in a Chicago park, a gunman, possibly a gang member, shot her dead as she took shelter. She was just trying to get out of the rain.