CNN’s not even pretending to hide their antigun bias these days. Two reports over the weekend painted gun owners as a scourge on America while at the same time giving criminals – and Chinese communists – a free pass.
CNN posted a report on the soaring level of criminal violence in America. The report’s headline stated that 2021 could be the worst year in decades when it comes to crime. Statistics were cited from the Gun Violence Archive through mid-September, noting that 14,516 people died from what they define as gun violence, a nine percent increase over 2020. CNN also reported Gun Violence Archive’s data showed mass shootings are on the rise, claiming 498 were committed through mid-September, or 1.92 each day of the year. That ticked up, according to their calculations, by 15 percent over last year.
CNN and Gun Violence Archive define mass shootings as four or more people killed or wounded in an incident, excluding the suspect. That’s not how the FBI defines it, though. Armed American News’ Lee Williams pointed out earlier this year the figures are being inflated for shock value. Gun Violence Archive reported that in 2019 there were 417 mass shootings, but the FBI counted just 30, because they stick to a traditionally accepted definition. The FBI excludes incidents of self-defense, gang violence, drug violence and others.
CNN presented this report of crime spiking alongside information that firearm sales were also at record levels. The pairing of the information leads a reader to believe that there’s a correlation between the two – or even causation. The inference is that because guns are selling at record levels, criminal violence is the result.
In fact, gun sales are at records levels. More than 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a gun in 2020 and so far in 2021, there have been over 12.4 million. Last year, an estimated 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time and in the first six months of this year, over 3.2 million have also legally bought their first gun.
CNN’s article briefly touched on what might be driving the crime spike, pinning the causes on the pandemic and racial strife. However, COVID-19 symptoms don’t include sudden lawlessness or violent criminal intent. The report glosses over the tolerance by elected officials for rioting, looting and burning of cities. Portland, Ore., witnessed riots for over 100 days straight. Judges turned criminals out on reduced and no bail policies, only to have those criminals standing before the bench hours later for more heinous charges including murder.
The authors attempted to link rising crime with increased gun buying, not for a moment pausing to think that gun sales rose because of rising crime. It is an anathema to some reporters that Americans would defend themselves against lawlessness.
Praising Communist China
That wasn’t enough for CNN, though. The news outlet drew comparisons between the United States and China. They posited that both countries were born of armed conflict and now have radically different gun policies. The authors praised Communist China’s low rate of criminal violence involving a firearm.
“The difference is stark when it comes to public safety,” the CNN authors wrote. “Despite being the world’s most populous country, with 1.4 billion residents, China only records a few dozen gun crimes a year.”
CNN completely whitewashed that America was a nation founded in protecting personal liberties while China’s revolution was a communist takeover. The disarmament policies instituted by Mao Zedong not only stripped Chinese of their firearms, Chinese also lost the ability to protect themselves against their own government. The Washington Post reported Mao’s bloody campaign to “purify class ranks” resulted in the deaths of as many as 40-80 million Chinese. That started with landowners in 1949 and later included Christians, Chinese Nationalist sympathizers, counter revolutionaries and “bad elements,” which included tens of thousands to millions executed in the 1950s by government authorities that controlled all the arms. Other deaths are attributed to disastrous policies that resulted in widespread famine.
About Control, Not Just Guns
This all seems outlandish, but this is what is being pushed by mainstream media. It’s not a new notion, but one that National Review’s Kevin Williamson noted in a series of articles that gun control groups and the politicians that carry their mantra into Congress and state capitals are keen on instituting gun laws on gun owners – who are exceedingly law-abiding. Gun purchasers are required to pass the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), or similar state systems before they can take possession of a firearm.
Criminals don’t pass background checks. They go around them and illegally obtain guns. They also don’t care, Williamson wrote. The striking part is gun control politicians aren’t proposing to hold criminals responsible. They’re only targeting the law-abiding. Williamson pointed out that gun control isn’t interested in controlling guns as much as they are interested in controlling gun culture.
“From that point of view, what matters is not that retail gun dealers and their clients are dangerous — which they certainly are not — but that they are icky.”
That notion was cemented even among a minority of gun owners who supported the view put forth by a New York Times columnist about the need for increased gun control. The commenter started with, “As a gun-owner and carry-concealed holder in Oklahoma,” and later distorted the Second Amendment before tarring every AR-15 owner as a loudmouth braggards with little-man complexes.
“That kind of sneering really gets to the heart or the issue — this is not a crime-policy debate, but a culture-war exercise. It’s not ‘these guns,’ it’s ‘these people,’” Williamson wrote.
That’s what makes it easy for CNN to dismiss gun owners while overlooking criminals and murderous regimes when pushing a gun control narrative. It’s not really about the guns. It’s about you.
Larry Keane is the senior vice-president for government and public affairs, assistant secretary and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.