During the July 7 airing of Hannity, Fox News’ Casey Stegall stood on the street in downtown Dallas and used the word “automatic” to describe the gunfire during the police ambush.
Fox News anchor Patricia Stark concurred, saying it sounded “like an automatic weapon.”
Stegall described the sounds of the ambush, saying, “Some of the gunshots can be heard so distinctly. In fact, some of the eyewitnesses that we talked to tonight say up to 50 gun shots rang out over a series of minutes.” He stated that witnesses said, “It started with a few rapid shots, and then there was silence. The crowd started running, and then there were more shots.” He observed that some witnesses said “the echoing of those gunshots … was deafening.”
Minutes later, Stegall referenced cell phone video that captured the sound of the ambush, and said, “It sounds just like automatic gunfire.” He supported the “automatic gunfire” description by quoting anonymous witnesses who said, “That is absolutely what it was.” He tried to further support this description by saying, “One interview that we did earlier, a man had a good knowledge of guns, and he knew just by the sound of it.”
He added, “People who know guns, and know weapons and firearms and such, they can tell what different types of guns are by the sound.”
Anchor Patricia Stark added, “It was rapid fire, sounding like an automatic weapon.”
In reality, all reports are that the Dallas gunman used a semiautomatic rifle. CBS News reports that he used an SKS rifle, while ABC News reports it was an AR-15. Either way, the rifle fires one bullet–and only one–each time the trigger is pulled. It is not an “automatic weapon.”
It must be noted that Dallas police officers were firing back at Johnson. The New York Times quotes the Dallas Police Department saying, “Twelve officers … returned fire during a wild series of gun battles that stretched for blocks.”
This goes a long way in explaining some of the dense, rapid gunfire referenced by Fox News, gunfire that consisted not only of Johnson shooting a semiautomatic rifle at officers, but of officers shooting back with numerous guns, as well.
Similar comments about “automatic weapons” came from media anchors, celebrities, and politicians following the Orlando terror attack, although the guns used in Orlando, as in Dallas, were semiautomatic. Breitbart News sought to remedy this failure to understand how firearms work by publishing “AR-15 Users Guide for Ignorant Media Pundits Who Just Don’t Get It.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.