Heller to Press Club: Learn About Guns Before You Write About Them
Heller lauded Students for Concealed Carry for persuading six state legislatures and 200 colleges nationwide to allow firearms on campus, and brought up a 2002 case where a student upset over his grades killed three at Appalachian School of Law before two students raced to their cars and retrieved their handguns.
"In one newspaper clipping that I saved, the student guns were not even mentioned in the story. Some just love to leave that part out of the story. Was that honest and unbiased coverage? In fact, the students didn't even have to shoot their guns. They merely brandished their firearms, then tackled the killer. That is courageous and responsible gun ownership," he said.
"I think one of the problems is that many in government and media don't know much about using guns for self- defense, and many aren't particularly keen to learn. It's easier to be spoon-fed quotes and false science by anti-gun lobbyists and politicians than to be a real fact-checker. That gets people killed. Is that a responsible standard for media to follow?" Heller continued, encouraging the media to learn about guns before writing about them. "You can be armed if you want to, but be trained in case you need to be."
In the face of today's "gentle tyranny," according to Heller, "the brown shirts have invaded the privacy and sanctity, or sacredness, of our free press which affects some people in this room."
"So now, perhaps, our position on the Second Amendment, may not seem so extreme as it did before," he said. "…The pen is mightier than the sword, but right now, I think the press is in more danger than the Second Amendment."
"A war on the First Amendment is truly a war on the Second Amendment, and vice versa. I appreciate being able to read six newspapers every morning, and seven on Friday. What the press does on a daily basis, for the sake of freedom, is the most important task of all. I'm concerned that the new harassment of journalists is merely the camel's nose under the tent, so I hope we can move forward together, not only to protect both of them, but to assure that newsworthy events associated with firearms, and their use, are given fair coverage by the media."
In his indictment of media coverage on gun ownership, Heller also noted that reporters "always pick Bubba to answer to an interview, instead of talking to people around that might be wearing suits and ties and packing a gun, that are concealed carry, that might be a little bit more intelligent."
"So that gives us a real bad image. I'm not a Bubba, and I left my gun at home today," he added.
Heller also challenged gun-control advocates' use of a poll noting 90 percent of Americans want gun background checks.
"I gotta tell you, I would bet half a paycheck that not 50 percent of the citizenry on the street, if asked in a fair, unbiased poll, if they would even know what a universal background check is, number one, and number two, I've never seen 90 percent of Americans agree on anything, except after Pearl Harbor, and 9/11," he said.
"There might be some appropriateness to it, but the challenge is that whenever you have a universal background check, you cannot trust government, it will generate a list, and the list can be used, not today. We have Fourth Amendment, reasonable Supreme Court, but 10, 20, 30 years from now, who knows what use that list might have to another government."
Heller II, a case challenging 16 regulations or controls on D.C. gun ownership, has been "slow-walked through the court system" by the government since 2008, he noted.
"And we've reached the end of discovery, so I think we'll start seeing a little faster pace now, as that progresses through the court system, upwards and onwards," Heller said.
On the Hill this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that he'd spoken to Biden about regrouping for the next stab at gun-control legislation.
"He and I are gonna get together in the next week. I've spoken to Senator [Joe] Manchin today. We're going to get together this week and talk about this," Reid said.
"You know, I'm not going to bring up a vote just to have a vote. I want to bring up this vote again if we can accomplish something that seems pretty common sense to me: If you have severe mental problems or you're a criminal, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun," the majority leader added. "That's what -- I agree with 90 percent of the American people, we should get this done."