Fact or Farce: CNN’s Guns in America Town Hall, Part Two

Facts. While it might seem simple on the surface to get the facts regarding various issues, it can actually be difficult – and some issues are more problematic than others. The gun rights issue is a good example due to the way various statistics are laid out. Both sides of the aisle present statistics, numbers which should – should – come from the same sources but which tend to be portrayed in contradictory ways. And of course there is a somewhat alarming tendency on the gun control side to fabricate statistics to suit their needs. The fact that gun control supporters have a tendency to spout inaccurate statistics, half-truths and outright lies cannot be denied because the proof is, quite frankly, everywhere. Case in point: CNN’s Guns in America Town Hall on January 7, 2016.

The gun-focused meeting was hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Cooper hosts CNN’s news show “Anderson Cooper 360” which is often referred to simply as AC360. He hosts AC360 with the claim of providing a neutral ground and fair coverage for both sides of the aisle and sometimes does manage to present somewhat balanced coverage. However, he has a number of liberal leanings that shine through the supposed mask of neutrality at random times. This is not exactly surprising considering he works for CNN and they as a network are one of the most liberal mainstream media outlets out there. Interestingly enough, during the Guns in American Town Hall, Cooper did make a number of accurate, thoughtful statements about gun rights. Unfortunately, he also let Obama get away with a string of falsehoods and inaccuracies- simply saying nothing or moving on. Granted, presenting fair and balanced coverage of a town hall meant to showcase the current administration’s anti-gun agenda isn’t just a difficult task, it’s flat-out impossible.

In part one we covered the foundation of the town hall and who was invited, who attended, and so on. This time we’re going to take a look at a few of the statements made by Obama. Because many of these quotes from the town hall are in the question and answer format the speaker will be listed prior to the quote itself rather than listing the person the statement is attributed to in parentheses at the end of the quote.

After Anderson Cooper welcomed Obama and addressed the assembled audience and viewers, he launched into his first question. It may seem innocuous, but it is actually quite significant.

Cooper: “Let me start. Have you ever owned a gun?”

Obama: “I have never owned a gun. Now, up at Camp David, we’ve got some skeet shooting, so on a fairly regular basis, we get a 12-gauge and… I’m not making any claims about my marksmanship, but…”

Obama GunsHere we have a POTUS pushing gun control who has never owned a single firearm in his life. Of course, he’s surrounded by Secret Service agents who are heavily armed, but that fact never seems to enter the picture when he discusses removing the rights of private citizens. It’s also interesting Obama invoked the name of Camp David as his basis for identifying with gun owners. As of August 12, 2014, Obama had visited Camp David 33 times. In 2013 Obama mentioned that he had gone skeet shooting during an interview with Frank Foer, editor of The New Republic. The topic was only raised when Foer asked if Obama had ever even fired a gun, and Obama replied, “Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we go skeet shooting all the time.” Following the interview, which was reacted to with a combination of scorn and amusement, the White House decided to take a picture of the president firing a shotgun. The picture itself has some problems, but it’s the in-depth fact-checking that took place after that was really an issue. Journalists from various media outlets began digging for evidence that Obama had actually spent time skeet shooting at Camp David, and this is what they dug up: evidence of a single instance of Obama skeet shooting. One time. Once. Now, this took place in 2013, but it seems highly unlikely Obama has suddenly become an avid shooter. In fact, that one photo taken in 2013 combined with the way he talks about firearms makes one thing quite clear: the POTUS knows nothing about firearms and does not care to change that, ever. He knows only that he wants them gone.

Cooper: “Before you were president, did you ever feel a desire to get a gun, feel the need to get a gun?”

Obama: “You know, I grew up mostly in Hawaii, and other than hunting for wild pig, which they do once in a while, you know, there’s not the popularity of hunting and sportsmanship with guns as much there as there are in other parts of the country.”

Obama did not even bother to answer Cooper’s question, and Cooper let it slide. The reply regarding hunting in Hawaii just goes to show how little Obama knows of the industry as well. Hunting in Hawaii is far bigger than the POTUS knows with game ranging from Axis and Chital deer to Mouflon sheep to game birds such as Chukars, turkeys, and Melanistic Mutant pheasants. There are interesting and incredibly enjoyable hunting opportunities on the various islands far beyond the occasional hunt for a “wild pig” as Obama put it. And those pig hunts? They’re far more than “once in a while”; pigs were brought to the islands many centuries ago and Mauna Kea pigs are thought to be the feral hogs most similar to the original bloodline. Of course, when it comes to actual gun ownership – especially for concealed carry – Hawaii is sometimes referred to as a “gun control paradise” due to its stringent laws.

Cooper: “Right, I mean, I ask the question because there’s a lot of people out there who don’t trust you, obviously, on the issue of guns. You keep saying you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns, but there’s a lot of people out there tonight watching who don’t believe you. There’s a lot of people in this room who, frankly, don’t believe you.

And it’s not that you don’t really have personal experience having owned a gun, but it’s that things you said – support for Australia’s tough anti-gun policies. They banned semi-automatic assault rifles, they, they even banned shotguns in Australia.”

Obama: “Right.”

Cooper: “You praised their policies over and over. Back in 2008, you said – you talked about bitter Americans clinging to their guns. Even now these executive actions tended to cause a lot of concern among people.

What can you say to somebody tonight to convince them that you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns? That you’re not coming for their guns?”

Obama: “Well, first of all, Anderson, I think it’s useful to keep in mind, I’ve been, now, president for over seven years and gun sales don’t seem to have suffered in that time.”

Cooper: “If anything, actually, you’ve helped.”

Obama: “They’ve – they’ve – gone up. I’ve…been very good for gun manufacturers.”

ObamaFollowing the above exchange, Obama launched into a few stories about Chicago and his time on the campaign trail in 2007. He mentions the crime rate in Chicago and how people are being shot, then he says that while campaigning in rural areas Michelle Obama supposedly said she could understand wanting a gun for protection if you lived in those areas. He does not answer Cooper’s question but instead steers the conversation in the direction in which he wants it to go. Has he been good for gun sales? Absolutely. But that’s because people are buying firearms in response to his repeated pushes for gun control. Americans want to possess firearms before they can no longer be legally obtained, and they want to be prepared to defend themselves. Remember, it is not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

Obama: “And so, part of the reason I think that this ends up being such a difficult issue is because people occupy different realities. There are a whole bunch of law-abiding citizens who have grown up hunting with their dad or going to the shooting range, and are responsible gun owners, and then there’s the reality that there are neighborhoods around the country where it is easier for a 12- or a 13-year-old to purchase a gun and cheaper than it is for them to get a book.”

Really, Obama? I’d like to see these cheaper-than-a-book firearms. Are there areas were guns are illegally sold to minors? Yes. Is it a problem? Of course. Will pushing gun control fix it? No, because criminals are going to go about their business regardless of various laws. They’re criminals, after all. They aren’t going to cease the sale of illegal guns any more than a crazed, unbalanced shooter is going to call of a mass shooting because he sees a “gun-free zone” sign on the building’s front door. If anything, these gun laws and gun-free zone signs are a welcome mat for the criminal element. It makes their job easier, not to mention more profitable when it comes to sales.

Obama: “But all of us can agree that it makes sense to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of people who would try to do others harm or to do themselves harm, because every year we’re losing 30,000 people to gun violence. Two-thirds of those are actually suicides. Hundreds of kids under the age of 18 are being shot or shooting themselves, often by accident, many of them under the age of 5.”

These particular statistics are a favorite among politicians who push for gun control. The actual numbers read closer to 32,000 gun-related deaths annually. 60% are suicides, 3% are accidents, and 34% are homicides (no this does not quite add up to 100%, but this is how the statistics are presented in the national database).  That leaves us with approximately 11,000 homicides annually that are carried out with firearms. Now, to quote myself: “Of the 11,000 gun-related homicides annually, a huge number are gang-related. For example, in Chicago it is estimated that 80% of the city’s homicides take place as the result of gang activity. According to Baltimore’s City Police Commissioner, Anthony Batts, 80% of that city’s murders are drug-related. Let that sink in for a moment – 80%. And, of course, homicides in general committed with firearms are typically carried out with illegally-obtained weapons.” (Excerpt from Fact or Farce: CNN’s Guns In America Town Hall, Part One. Read part one for a more in-depth look at suicides involving firearms.)

Statistics involving children and firearms are also skewed on a regular basis by the left. When referring to the high number of “children” being killed by gunshot wounds, whether self-inflicted or homicide, the numbers quoted are almost always those covering an age range up to 24 years of age. Those numbers also include gang member activity. The idea of referring to gang-related murders as “children killed by firearms” is ludicrous, but it’s precisely what the liberal left does. Including those homicides pumps up the body count significantly which, in turn, makes the case for gun control look far more compelling to some. Skewing gun-related statistics is what the current administration seems to do best.

Aim GunThe conversation then rolls around to Obama saying there are too many loopholes in background checks which is why people who should not have guns, have guns.

Cooper: “But they’re not buying them at gun shows. Only 1 percent of criminals are buying them at gun shows.”

Obama: “Well, no, but this is what happens. Let’s go back to the city of Chicago that has strong gun control laws. And oftentimes, the NRA will point to that as an example and say, see, these things don’t work.

Well, the problem is, is that about 30 percent, 40 percent of those guns are coming from Indiana across the border, where there are much laxer laws, and so folks will go to a gun show and purchase a whole bunch of firearms, put them in a van, drive up into Mike Pfleger’s neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago where his parish is, open up the trunk, and those things are for sale.

Now, technically, you could say those folks bought them illegally, but it was facilitated by the fact that what used to be a small exception that said collectors and hobbyists don’t need to go through a background check has become this massive industry where people who are doing business are, in fact, saying they’re not in the business of selling guns, but are.”

Here’s the thing: a study done by Duke University and the University of Indiana in 2015 discovered that an overwhelming majority of criminals in Chicago get their guns illegally from friends and family members, not gun shows or online sales. Another new study was reported on by USA Today in the fall of 2015 and found that 60% of guns recovered at crime scenes in Chicago did indeed come from out-of-state but only 19% of those guns came from Indiana.  Also, in Indiana there is a federal law in place that allows only Indiana residents to purchase handguns from FFLs. Criminals cannot just waltz into Indiana, Mississippi, or Wisconsin – the three states where it seems most of Chicago’s out-of-state firearms come from – and buy a gun. It doesn’t work that way.

It’s clear that Obama does not know his facts but prefers to use inaccurate or inflated statistics to further his agenda. During the town hall he did not actually answer Anderson Cooper’s questions but went on his merry way, saying whatever he wanted to at the time. A town hall meeting is meant to be an open discussion of an important topic, but that is not what took place. It was, instead, a one-sided platform where Obama could spout his gun control plans and patronize Second Amendment supporters (yes, he did, more than once).

It should not surprise you that Obama stretches the truth in an attempt to get his way, but it should concern you. It should make you alert, make you follow current events, make you get involved. The time for staying on the sidelines has long since passed. Get involved, and defend your Second Amendment rights. Time is running out; what are you going to do about it?

Coming soon: Part three, the final chapter: a look at the question-and-answer time of the town hall meeting.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine is a military and political journalist with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-holds-barred articles. Her career as a writer has immersed her in the military lifestyle and given her unique insights into the various branches of service. She is a firearms aficionado and has years of experience as a K9 SAR handler, and has volunteered with multiple support-our-troops charities for more than a decade. Katherine is passionate about military issues and feels supporting service members should be the top priority for all Americans. Her areas of expertise include the military, politics, history, firearms and canine issues.
Katherine Ainsworth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *