20/20 Mocks Use of Guns for Self-Defense

Last week's programming on ABC was full of commercials aimed at drawing viewers to a special April 10 edition of 20/20 titled "If I Only Had a Gun." The promotions described how gun sales were skyrocketing in and around areas where recent mass shootings had occurred, therefore giving the appearance of an honest documentary. But the real premise of the show was 20/20's contention that private citizens with guns aren't capable of using those guns effectively, thus 20/20's website headline: "Carrying a Gun Wouldn't Necessarily Get You Out of a Shooting."

In other words, before you get too self-reliant, please give Diane Sawyer 20 minutes to convince you that you're not capable of defending your own life.

20/20's hit piece began with various videos of mass public shootings, overlaid with Sawyer describing "rampages in the past few months" which took place "in a mall, in a church, [and] in a home in Pittsburgh where a shooter [fired] off 98 shots in under two minutes." "No wonder more and more ordinary people are talking about getting a gun to protect themselves," she added. "But police are saying think about it before you do."

To back up her assertion that we might not be able to defend ourselves with a gun, Sawyer had two policemen agree to provide firearms training to six university students who had volunteered for it. According to Sawyer, the pre-training "gun experience [of the six ranged] from none at all to more than 100 hours." Sawyer, an obvious gun novice, included hours spent shooting plastic pellets from Air Soft brand toy guns in her calculations for "gun experience."

After the students were trained to a level that exceeded what half the states require before issuing a concealed carry license, according to Sawyer, some of the students were unknowingly placed in situations where they had to draw a gun to defend their lives. Joey, the student who had "spent countless hours firing an ... Air Soft gun," was asked to wear his holstered pistol to class to become acquainted with carrying it on his person. Once his class was under way, a gunman barged in and began firing a pistol loaded with paintball bullets at Joey and others in the class.

The video cameras in the classroom showed Joey struggling to get his gun out from under his shirt as Sawyer narrated: "The room is under attack, the instructor is down, a student hit, Joey struggles to get his gun out but it's stuck in his shirt. He can't even get it out to aim it." She was strangely silent on the fact that they had positioned Joey's holster so that his gun was sitting awkwardly in between his pants and the center of his belly, and that he was wearing an extremely long shirt in order to cover carrying the gun in a place so difficult to conceal.

Undaunted by such details, Sawyer added: "Had this event been real, Joey would have been killed in the first five seconds or there's the chance the bad guy would have simply taken the gun from him." How does she know this? Is she omniscient?