The PJ Tatler

New York Times Makes Stuff Up to Put an AR-15 Into the Navy Yard Killer's Hands

(Getty Images)

At the Washington Times, Emily Miller fact-checks the so-called “paper of record.” The New York Times reported the Navy Yard murderer tried to purchase an AR-15 rifle in Virginia, but state law prohibiting the sale of “assault rifles” to out-of-staters prevented the sale.

Government and gun control, you see, prevented the tragedy from being even worse than it was.

But there’s a problem with the Times’ narrative: It’s not true.

The Times has a story Tuesday on its homepage with the headline “State Law Stopped Gunman From Buying Rifle, Officials Say.”

The first line says: “The gunman who killed 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.”

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.

Lots of people rent guns at ranges that they have no intention of buying. I’ve done that myself.

There’s no evidence that the killer ever even attempted to buy an AR-15.

That didn’t slow the New York Daily News down, though, not a bit. This was that paper’s cover after the killings.

new-york-daily-news-ar-15-sept-2013

Same gun, only, not the same gun at all.

At some point, mediots should educate themselves on firearms if only to stop making such obvious and avoidable errors. Learn the law. Go to a gun range once or twice, fire a few weapons to get the feel of them, and talk to some experts. Maybe go through the process of purchasing a firearm at a licensed dealer just to see how it all works.

Stop reporting as if the graphic below describes your understanding of firearms. Click to enlarge.

journalists-guide-firearms