WashTimes Writer Miller Notes Media 'Obsessed' with Linking AR-15 to Navy Yard Murders

September 18th, 2013 10:19 AM

At the New York Times on Tuesday, Michael S. Schmidt claimed that "The suspect in the killing of 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday test-fired an AR-15 assault rifle at a Virginia gun store last week but was stopped from buying one because state law there prohibits the sale of such weapons to out-of-state buyers, according to two senior law enforcement officials."

The portion of that statement about being "stopped from buying" an AR-15 isn't true, writes Emily Miller at the Washington Times, not only because "state law" wouldn't have prevented such an attempt, but also because Aaron Alexis didn't even try to buy one. Miller asserts that the New York Times "should issue a correction immediately." She also decries the establishment media's "obsession" with tying the AR-15 to the Navy Yard shooting (bolds are mine throughout this post):

New York Times gets it wrong, media obsessed with linking AR-15 with Navy Yard shooter

The liberal media is so obsessed with linking the Navy Yard shooter with the AR-15 rifle that it is making up false tales of Aaron Alexis trying to obtain one.

The New York Times attempts to give the impression that a so-called assault-weapon law stopped Alexis from buying a rifle in Virginia, but that is not true.

... Apparently neither the reporter nor his editors took the time to fact check their vague “law enforcement officials” sources.

“Virginia law does not prohibit the sale of assault rifles to out-of-state citizens who have proper identification,” Dan Peterson, a Virginia firearms attorney, told me Tuesday night. The required identification is proof of residency in another state and of U.S. citizenship, which can be items like a passport, birth certificate or voter identification card.

... John Frazer, also a firearms attorney in the Commonwealth, told me that, “State law in Virginia — like most states — allows purchase of rifles or shotguns by residents of other states. Virginia simply requires some additional forms of identification.”

Federal law is clear on this residency issue. A quick glance at the ATF website would have informed the New York Times journalists that a person may buy a rifle or shotgun, in person, at a federal firearms licensee’s premises in any state, provided the sale complies with state laws, which it would in this case.

... While it is true that Alexis rented and shot an AR-type rifle at Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, sources close to the investigation tell me that he did not attempt to buy the rifle.

... Despite all the stories over the last 48 hours about the AR-15, it was never used by anyone but law enforcement at the shooting on Monday. The New York Times should issue a correction immediately.

Previous NewsBusters posts (here and here) have noted how Piers Morgan promoted the idea that Alexis bought and used an AR-15 in the Navy Yard killings, even though his own network CNN ultimately reported that Alexis did neither. Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com notes that several of Morgan's tweets concerning his AR-15 claims have been sent down the memory hole.

Another Twitchy post indicates that the New York Daily News, with a headline "Same Gun Different Slay," claimed that Alexis used an AR-15. NYDN's Far-lefty Mike Lupica devoted an entire column to the AR-15's evils. That column currently has an italicized preface:

The FBI’s assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office said Tuesday that gunman Aaron Alexis acted alone in the Navy Yard shooting that killed 12 people and added "we do not have any information" that an AR-15 was used. Mike Lupica’s column was written Monday when The Daily News and The Associated Press among many others reported, using reputable law enforcement sources, that the shooter Alexis had used three weapons including an AR-15.

Yet another Twitchy item noted how an "MSNBC animation of (the) Navy Yard shooting depicts nonexistent AR-15":


Emily Miller is right. The AR-15 is a media obsession. Too bad getting stories right isn't.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.