In a clear push for gun control, CNN and MSNBC yesterday hyped false claims by an al-Qaida spokesman that America is awash with easily obtainable, fully automatic “assault rifles.”
The networks played an al-Qaida propaganda video from June 2011 that until now has received little news media attention.
In the video, American al-Qaida spokesman and operative Adam Gadahn urged jihadists to obtain automatic rifles at U.S. gun shows, wrongly claiming those weapons are sold without background checks.
Stated Gadahn in the video: “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”
The video was aired yesterday by CNN as part of a two-day report on gun background checks.
CNN’s Brook Baldwin introduces the video by stating: “Al-Qaida already thinks America’s gun control system is weak. An Al-Qaida spokesman says it is so easy to get guns in America that wannabe terrorists should take advantage of it.”
The segment went on to claim that gun legislation being proposed is not strong enough to stop al-Qaida from obtaining firearms.
The video was used yesterday by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to push for gun control.
After the video was aired, co-host Mika Brzezinski stated, “Yeah, we’ll show you something and then we’ll let you talk. You know your background check system is weak when even al-Qaida makes a video pointing out how easily attainable guns are in the U.S.”
Neither CNN nor MSNBC pointed out that the al-Qaida claim about obtaining fully automatic assault rifles is false.
When the al-Qaida video was first released, National Review deputy editor Kevin D. Williamson debunked the claim.
He noted that if that civilian is not a federally licensed firearms dealer, “owning a fully automatic weapon manufactured after 1986 is categorically illegal.”
Scarborough discussed the video again today:
Continued Williamson: “Fully automatic weapons that were legally owned and registered with the federal government before 1986 may be transferred to a qualified buyer with the approval of federal and local law-enforcement authorities, a rigorous background check, and, of course, a sign-off from the U.S. Treasury Department: there’s a couple hundred bucks in fees and taxes involved.”
Williamson warned that selling a fully automatic weapon to an unlicensed party, at a gun show or anywhere else, “is a very excellent way to land yourself in prison for a good long while.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., discusses the video on “Morning Joe”:
With research by Joshua Klein