NBC News released an article on Friday that makes several erroneous claims about the shooter who killed four in Rancho Tehama, California on Tuesday.
Andrew Blankstein and Corky Siemaszko claim that the shooter, Kevin Janson Neal, “exploited a legal loophole” to assemble two semi-automatic rifles.
Officials say Neal had two guns which weren’t registered to him, and he assembled two more himself. But there was no “legal loophole.”
Blankstein and Siemaszko begin their article by demonstrating a lack of firearms knowledge. They say Neal assembled his rifles with “multi-round magazines.” Obviously, all magazines are multi-round.
They go on to cite “experts” and make several mistakes along the way.
From NBC News:
Experts say Neal apparently exploited a legal loophole that enabled him to get around California’s tough gun laws by ordering the parts for a weapon that is illegal in that state — and putting it together at home.
The NBC writers failed to notice that their expert explains that it is illegal to assemble a gun restricted in the state. There was, therefore, no legal loophole for Neal to exploit.
The Daily Caller reports:
However, their cited “expert” immediately contradicts their own claim, as he explains that you can only legally assemble guns that are not restricted in the state.
“‘As long as it’s not restricted in the state of their residence and the person is not prohibited, anyone can manufacture a sporting firearm for person use,’ Rick Vasquez, a retired technical expert with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” told the writers.
The writers and Vasquez then claim that self-assembled firearms are not required to have a serial number, despite a California law that requires citizens to apply for a serial number before assembling a homemade firearm.
As Vasquez himself points out, most people assembling guns at home do it as a hobby. But Neal wasn’t taking advantage of a legal way to obtain firearms.
According to USA Today, Tehama County’s assistant sherriff, Phil Johnston got it right.
“These firearms were manufactured illegally,” Johnston said the day after the shooting. “We believe, by him at his home. So they (the guns) were obtained in an illegal manner, not through a legal process. They are not registered.”
For a major news outlet like NBC News, it’s simply an embarrassment to publish such a terribly researched article. Mistakes mean little when the media does everything it can to paint gun laws as lax.
They go on, however, to make even more mistakes.
NBC News continues:
Despite being out of bail for stabbing a neighbor in January, the 44-year-old shooter was not barred from owning a weapon, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said on Wednesday.
Neal also owned two handguns that were also used during the killing spree, including one that he purchased in 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina, NBC News learned Thursday.
Blankstein and Siemaszko claim the shooter was legaly allowed to own a weapon.
The Associated Press says that’s not true. The judge who ruled over the stabbing case prohibited Neal from owning guns.
The Latest: California shooter wasn’t allowed to have guns. https://t.co/3dPvhpr2sM
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 15, 2017
NBC News made so many mistakes in a single article that a simple correction won’t do. They should retract their whole bogus story immediately.
Let us know what you think, and sound off in the comments below.