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Thu, Dec. 05

Reporting on gunmaker bill reflects the bias of the news media

Anyone who wants to see a prima facie example of media bias should review coverage earlier this week of the Senate vote to kill a bill to ban nuisance lawsuits against gunmakers.

The Senate voted to kill the lawsuit bill when Senate Democrats added two amendments – one reinstating the ban on a group of military-style semi-automatic rifles and limiting magazine capacities to 10 rounds and one to require background checks on people buying firearms at gun shows.

But before the media and gun control advocates hail it as a major victory for themselves, let's analyze the whole picture.

True, the lawsuit curb was a high priority for the National Rifle Association, and it probably was disappointed at having to reverse field and urge lawmakers to kill the measure.

But as a result of that vote, the NRA achieves two higher goals than the lawsuit curb. First, the semi-auto ban will sunset in September absent any further action, and to paraphrase Clint Eastwood in "The Line of Fire," that further action's "not gonna happen."

Even though the Senate was able to insert the semi-auto ban and gun show provisions by a 52-47 vote, the measure isn't likely to clear the House in the future and probably is less likely to withstand a veto.

The media however, didn't call the gun show background check measure by its proper name; they called in the measure "to close the gun show loophole."

Even though the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has used despicable tactics to terrorize law-abiding citizens in many cases, the so-called "gun show loophole" is the fact the current law allows firearms sales between private parties without background checks or federal paperwork.

It's legal to sell a gun through the newspaper classifieds without having to do federal paperwork, although the BATF answers those ads on occasion and tries to intimidate the sellers.

Private party sales also are legal at swap meets and gun shows, although federal firearms licensees, such as gun stores, exhibiting at gun shows must do background checks and the paperwork.

But a retiree or collector trying to sell two or three guns on his table at the show doesn't.

Lawsuits against gunmakers to recover medical costs and other costs of crime involving the use of firearms are like suing General Motors because some Corvette owners speed and are involved in accidents. Most courts have agreed and thrown them out, although the suits cost gunmakers a lot of money in the pro-cess.

A setback for the NRA, yes. But a victory for anti-gun factions, not hardly.

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