Monthly Archives: August 2009

CNN’s Claim That AR15 Protester Carries Legally Is Demonstrably False.


This man, who would only give his first name, “Chris,” stood outside an Presidential town hall appearance with (what may have been) a loaded AR15 military assault rifle. The creepiness of this, given the history of political assassinations and right-wing violence, will go without further comment here.

I’d like to discuss the facts.

Consider this article from CNN.

One would assume they had done their research into the claim of legality, and on first glance, everything appears in order. In a previous iteration of the same story they spelled out that in Arizona it is legal to carry a weapon without a permit as long as the weapon is legal itself (not a banned weapon, purchased legally, etc) and legally owned (see below).

Since this man never gave an ID or his full name, CNN’s claim that “it’s legal,” REALLY means it WOULD be if they had properly vetted this man and his weapon. By all indications they did neither.

Looking at the long list of prohibitions in the Arizona open carry law, this man could fall into many of these categories without CNN (or us) having any way of knowing.

Is he under 18? Probably not, but we can’t know without a name or ID check.

Is he an ex-felon, or on parole? There’s no way to know.

Does he have a history of being institutionalized for being a danger to himself or others? We can’t possibly know.

Is he a US citizen? We, guess what, don’t know.

This guy faces tougher scrutiny when he buys a brewski at the local deli. Bad CNN!

More importantly, CNN’s claim that he was carrying the weapon legally is false. They (and we) can’t know that objectively or with any certainty. But wait kids, there’s more…

The weapon itself could be illegal. I am not a gun expert by any means and haven’t found AR15 regulations for AZ … I’ll leave that to the REAL reporters (as if); but if it’s anything like the law in California, this particular weapon has to be configured a certain way and can NOT, legally, have certain features like a pistol grip, telescoping barrel, certain ammo capacity, etc.

Now if I WAS a real reporter I might show these pictures to someone who IS a gun expert and figure it out. But that would take time, and let’s face it, the CURIOSITY to get the friggin’ facts.

We might know one day if this man, who suspiciously withheld his name, was actually protesting legally. I doubt that information will come from people in the media who put sensationalism over research.