Tuesday's NBC Nightly News ran a full report highlighting calls by liberals to legally require background checks for private gun sales.
But, in citing the case of a mass shooting from 2012 as alleged evidence of how a backround check might have prevented the attack, correspondent Pete Williams failed to address whether the perpetrator, Radcliffe Haughton Jr., could have been deported before his crime since he was reportedly a Jamaican national who already had a criminal record. Host Lester Holt set up the report:
Now to the battle over guns in Washington. Tomorrow, the House is set to hold hearings on a bill to require background checks on nearly all gun sales, even private ones. A group supporting the ban says the internet has become a go-to place for people who could never get one in a store.
Correspondent Williams then opened the report by recounting Haughton's crime from 2012:
Inside this suburban Milwaukee spa in 2012, a man opened fire, killing four people, then himself. He used a gun he bought just the day before from a seller he found online. No background check required. Radcliffe Haughton was legally barred from buying that gun. He was subject to a restraining order for abusing his wife, Zena, who became one of his shooting victims.
Then came a soundbite of Haughton's brother-in-law theorizing that his sister would still be alive if a background check had been required before Haughton purchased his gun from a private seller.
Willliams recalled that gun dealers are required by law to do background checks but private sellers are not. He then cited complaints by the gun control group, Every Town for Gun Safety: "The group hired private investigators who shopped for guns online, then recorded hidden camera videos when they met the sellers and bought guns with cash. One seller even joked about no background checks."
The NBC correspondent concluded the report by including some of the arguments by pro-gun groups that such background checks would be ineffective.