During his opening monologue on Monday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, host Jimmy Kimmel made seven false or misleading statements about gun laws as part of a push to shame Congress into enacting increased gun control measures following Sunday’s attack on a country music concert in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and hundreds more injured.
Ironically, he did this after admitting that the Las Vegas attacker complied with all gun controls in purchasing a number of firearms–meaning he passed background checks for those guns. Moreover, Kimmel even admitted that the attacker had “no criminal record,” and therefore, nothing to keep him from passing a check to acquire a gun.
Breitbart News reported Monday that the attacker purchased three guns within the last year from Guns & Guitars in Mesquite, Nevada, where store manager Christopher Sullivan said the attacker came across as “a normal guy.” Sullivan said the attacker had no criminal history and indicated that he passed a FBI background check for his firearms.
Kimmel is correct on one point–there was nothing in the attacker’s past that signaled a problem. But after making that point, Kimmel argued that there are still things that Congress could be doing (and this is where the falehoods and/or misdirection come into play).
1. Kimmel said, “Orlando, Aurora, Newtown, San Bernardino, [in] every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semiautomatic rifles.” The inclusion of the word “automatic” is very misleading. In all four instances the rifle used was semiautomatic, period. Pistols were also present. Moreover, Kimmel did not mention that in three of the four instances, the attackers acquired their guns via background checks. Exceptions to this would be the rifles used in San Bernardino–they were acquired via a friend–but the San Bernardino handguns were acquired via a background check. And the guns used by the Newtown attacker were stolen. He stole them from someone who passed a background check for them.
2. Kimmel made the classic leftist claim that AR-15s and the like “are not weapons used for self-defense.” In doing so, he ignored the report of the Houston boy who used his father’s AR-15 to defend his sister’s life during a home invasion. When the two intruders broke into the home, the boy grabbed his father’s AR and shot one of them three times. He also ignored the Michigan gas station owner who stopped a robbery in progress at his station by pulling his AR-15 on the robbers. He also ignored the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, son who was home alone when he used his father’s AR-15 to stop a home invasion by shooting all three suspects. The suspects died but the son’s life was preserved.
3. He accused President Trump of “signing a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally.” This was a reference to Trump’s repeal of Obama’s Social Security gun ban; a ban that was actually not directed toward people with severe mental illness but toward recipients of disability benefits who required help with finances. Yes, mental health labels were given to these people, but those labels could reference easily treatable and temporary conditions. This is why Duke University psychiatry and behavioral science professor Jeffrey Swanson said Obama’s Social Security gun ban targeted the “vulnerable” rather than the dangerous.
4. He said that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “won’t do anything about [the attack] because the NRA has their balls in a money clip.” In reality, Breitbart News has been reporting that NRA-supported legislation revolving around concealed carry reciprocity has stalled because of Ryan.
5. Kimmel said, “Right now, there are loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks if they buy a gun privately–from another party–if they buy a gun online or at a gun show.” For starters, there is no loophole. The Second Amendment was ratified in 1791 and since that point (and before), Americans have been buying guns from Americans. It is not a loophole, it is freedom. The left pushed background checks and secured them on retail sales in 1998–i.e., there have been background checks on retail sales for nearly two decades–and the left has spent the last four or five years inaccurately describing private sales as a “loophole” as a way to persuade Americans to support more gun control. Also, it must be noted that it is illegal to buy a gun online without going through a background check. If an individual from Florida wants to purchase a firearm online from a gun store in Oklahoma, that gun has to be shipped to a Florida store where the buyer passes a background check before taking possession of it.
6. Kimmel then showed a collage containing the photos of Senators who voted against closing the fictional private sale, online sales, and gun show “loopholes” after the June 12, 2016, Orlando Pulse attack. He did not mention that the Orlando Pulse attacker did not use these “loopholes.” Rather, he passed background checks and a waiting period for his firearms.
7. Lastly, Kimmel said Congress is now working to “legalize the sale of silencers.” In reality, “silencers”–or suppressors, as they are properly called–have been legal and are legal in 42 states. They are widely owned and used by hunters and sport shooters because of the hearing protection benefits they offer. What Congress is considering is a bill that removes the federal tax on suppressors, as well as the burdensome acquisition process to obtain one.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.