CNN: 'Universal' Background Checks 'Could Have Stopped' TX Shootings


Cross posted at the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Even though word leaked last week that investigators believe Texas spree shooter Seth Ator obtained his murder weapon from an unlicensed gun dealer selling weapons illegally, CNN's New Day morning show not only is still playing up the notion that requiring background checks for private sales would have prevented the shootings, but has also failed to clearly inform viewers of the illegality angle.

Additionally, last Friday, CNN anchor Jim Sciutto similarly suggested that such background checks would have stopped the attack as he claimed that the sale of the gun to Ator without a background check "blows up the NRA point."

On Friday's CNN Newsroom, at 10:20 a.m. Eastern, as correspondent Dana Bash recalled President Donald Trump recently arguing after one of the recent mass shootings that background checks could not have stopped it, an exasperated Sciutto jumped in and exclaimed: "We just got a shooting -- the guy failed a background check because he had a mental issue and then bought a gun from a relative which would have been covered from universal background checks."

It is unclear where Sciutto heard that it was a "relative" who sold Ator sold him his rifle since this has not been reported elsewhere so far.

As Bash injected, "Precisely,: Sciutto added: "So it blows up the NRA point."

Bash declared that President Trump has been "bowing to" the NRA, but that the President might oppose them if he senses that the pro-gun group is weaker than in the past.

On Monday morning, CNN host Alisyn Camerota let it be known that she is also clinging to the possibility that more background checks could have stopped the mass shooting. At 8:23 a.m., Camerota noted that Congress will soon be back in session and then claimed:

The American public is begging them to take some sort of action. The Odessa, Texas, shooting would have been stopped -- could have been stopped with universal background checks. You know, often people who don't want any more laws about guns say 'Well, it wouldn't make any difference.' This one, it would have made a difference.

Although a couple of other CNN shows on Friday afternoon informed CNN viewers that investigators are looking at whether the gun seller was running an illegal business, or knew that Ator did not legally quality to purchase a gun, which would open him up to criminal charges, New Day failed to forthrightly inform its viewers that the illegality angle is being explored as they gave two updates with correspondent Ed Lavandera last week on Wednesday and Friday.

On Friday morning, Camerota referred to the circumstances of the sale as a "loophole" as she plugged the segment, and then stated that the private sale "did not require a background check" as she brought aboard Lavandera.

Lavandera recalled that investigators are looking at whether the unidentified seller is an "unlicensed" dealer without explicitly stating that such activity would be illegal:

And essentially what investigators are probably trying to do is to determine whether or not this seller was operating as an unlicensed firearm [sic]. That's one of the things that investigators typically do in these cases, trying to determine whether or not this seller was profiting from the buying and selling repeatedly of firearms and working as an unlicensed firearm dealer.

He then added:

Of course, in a private sale, as you mentioned, Alisyn, a background check is not required, but it's also clear that the gunman in this case was essentially kind of working around the system because, back in 2014, we have learned according to three law enforcement sources, that Seth Ator failed a background check, and in that background check, he was deemed a, quote, "mental defective," which is a federal term that is often used to determine whether or not someone is eligible to purchase a firearm.

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