I've roundly criticized ABC's Brian Ross for his blatant falsehoods
regarding the "assault weapons" ban provision of the 1994 Crime Bill,
but it appears that not only has ABC News refused to retract these
false claims, it appears that the lie is spreading among other members
of the ignorati.
Enter one of the least, shall we say, "mentally agile" disciples of this profession at MSNBC.
Ian Schwartz has the video of Olbermann parroting of Ross's falsehoods.
At least one of the weapons used by the shooter is believed, as we
said, to be in nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol, which would be
like this one, with a clip designed to hold more than 10 shots. Clips
like those were banned under the Assault Weapons Law of 1994, but
Congress and President Bush allowed that law to expire more than two
I'll try this once more, making it so easy that even journalists can understand it.
High-capacity magazines were never outlawed. They were never
illegal to own, buy or sell, person-to-person, in retail stores,
catalogs, or online.
Part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
was the so-called Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was a ban on
certain cosmetic features found on some firearms. It was, in fact,
nothing more than "scary-looking gun" law.
Banned "assault rifles" were easily made legal again by
manufacturers who merely had to remove the offensive accessories, such
as flash hiders, pistol grip-style stocks, or bayonets lugs, none of
which affected the rate of fire, accuracy or velocity of the firearms
in question. Older firearms arbitrarily (and inaccurately) deemed
assault weapons by the ban that were already in the market were
grandfathered in, and the new "post-ban" assault weapons sold quite
well during the length of the so-called ban.
Another provision of the ban was a ban on the manufacture of
"large capacity ammunition feeding devices," which the law defined,
again arbitrarily, as those rifle and pistol magazines that hold in
excess of then rounds of ammunition.
Where Ross, ABC New, Olbermann and others are dead wrong is when
they attempt to imply that the ban on the manufacture of new magazines
of more than ten rounds was a ban on all high-capacity magazines. This
is patently false.
There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of
firearms in America primarily designed to use magazines of more than
ten rounds. Most of these firearms were sold by the manufacturer with
at least two magazines, and there was and is a robust industry for
magazines for these firearms. By the time the "large capacity
ammunition feeding devices" stipulation of the 1994 AW Ban provision
was implemented into law, there were literally millions of such
magazines in America, and hundreds of thousands more available for
retail and commercial sale.
The AW Ban did not make owning nor selling such magazines
illegal. As a result, magazines of more than ten rounds were available
for uninterrupted sale during the entire ten-year life of the AW ban.
It was never illegal to own, sell, or buy such magazines.
All the ban actually did was to spur interest in purchasing such
magazines, and manufacturers literally had to work overtime to meet
anticipated demand prior to the implementation of the law.
As a result of supply and demand, once the "ban" (which it never was
in any meaningful way) went into effect, some magazines increased
significantly in cost, and some were even in relatively short supply,
but they were always available in retail stores, catalogs and online,
and they were always legal to own, buy, or sell.
I'm growing increasingly tired of journalists such as Brain Ross,
ABC News, and Keith Olbermann spouting falsehoods, when they have
obviously been too lazy--or perhaps just to agenda-driven--to simply
read the law itself, or even point a web browser in the direction of
These so-called journalists have forfeited their credibility by
refusing to address the truth, and instead, decided to foist upon an
unsuspecting public, blatant falsehoods to further a political agenda.
We've come to expect our media to be biased. We shouldn't have to
deal with them blatantly, recklessly, and repeatedly lying to further
their private policy beliefs.
Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.
Update 12:38. Still troubled by the refusal of the ABC News blog "The Blotter"
to retract the patently false claims they made regarding the sunset of
the Assault Weapons provision of the 1994 Crime Bill, I posted a
comment to their latest blog entry
on the Virginia Tech shooting, asking them to retract the article, and
telling them why the allegations made by Brian Ross and Dana hughes
were blatantly false on the facts. I copied the comment to my blog to capture it for posterity,
and it is a good thing I did; an ABC News employee modering comments on
the blog deleted it, and the completely inaccurate post of Ross that
I dismantled here and here, still stands
even the factual truth in order to push a false story with a naked
political agenda. Any help you can provide in shining a lot on this
disreputable and unethical behavior would be greatly appreciated.