Video: Piers Morgan and the scourge of the AR-15 shotgun, or something; Update: FBI confirms no AR-15 used in Navy Yard shooting

posted at 10:01 am on September 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Presented mostly as a public service, since nothing in this segment will change minds, nor was it designed to do so.  CNN’s Piers Morgan wanted to gather a panel for a public beating over the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and the AR-15 rifle used in the crime as a means for arguing for a federal assault-rifle ban.  John Lott and Ben Ferguson exist only in this paradigm as objects for Morgan’s righteous anger and indignation, but instead operate more as a sounding board for his ignorance:

Unfortunately for Morgan and practically everyone else who leaped to exploit this for an assault-weapons ban, the shooter apparently only carried a shotgun into the base and may not have had an AR-15 at all.  And note, by the way, that CNN buried this little tidbit today in a retrospective on crimes in which the AR-15 has been used:

However, federal law enforcement sources told CNN Tuesday that authorities have recovered three weapons from the scene of the mass shooting, including one — a shotgun — that investigators believe Alexis brought in to the compound. The other two weapons, which sources say were handguns, may have been taken from guards at the Navy complex.

The sources, who have detailed knowledge of the investigation, cautioned that initial information that an AR-15 was used in the shootings may have been incorrect. It is believed that Alexis had rented an AR-15, but returned it before Monday morning’s shootings. Authorities are still investigating precisely how many weapons Alexis had access to and when.

In other words, just as in so many other breaking news stories of this type, people latch onto rumor and bad data to build entire arguments on vapor.  Instead of rushing into the hype, Morgan might have waited, oh, perhaps 24 or 48 hours for the facts — if he had any interest in informed public debate.  Morgan, however, appears interested only in shouted demagoguery and the aforementioned public-beating style of “journalism,” rather than allowing his guests an opportunity to speak, as this five minutes amply proves.

Even more laughably, CNN offered this explanation of a weapon [see update] that not only may not have been involved in the incident, but also certainly doesn’t exist (via Twitchy):


The AR-15 isn’t a shotgun; it’s a semi-automatic rifle.  There is a vast difference between the two types of firearms.  Also, Alexis didn’t purchase an AR-15, but apparently rented one before the shooting, as CNN reports, and in any event may not have used an AR-15 at all in this mass murder spree.  Why should we bother to pay attention to self-righteous “experts” on gun violence who don’t know the first thing about guns? Or to a network that buries the lede on a key correction on the weapons reporting in a piece about a weapon that turns out not to have anything to do with the crime?

Maybe CNN should be asking itself that question.

Update: The FBI confirms that the AR-15 was not used in the massacre:

Update: Here’s the question I asked earlier on Twitter:

Maybe we can have an hour of this instead of Morgan tonight:

Update: Instapundit calls this an “epic fail” for “agenda journalism.” Sometimes, it seems there is no other kind.

Update: Initially, I thought the “AR-15 shotgun” chyron appeared during Morgan’s show, but was apparently on Anderson Cooper’s. I changed the reference above.

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Bmore on September 17, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Let’s ban shotguns!
In 3…2…1…

shorebird on September 18, 2013 at 12:53 AM

What happened in DC has zero legitimate bearing on the question of whether or not AR-15s and such should be more or less regulated.
verbaluce on September 17, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Should HIV+ citizens have their abilities and freedoms regulated in an attempt to save thousands of non-carriers from HIV/AIDS death and injury each year?
rogerb on September 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM


rogerb on September 19, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Maybe if one of your loved ones dies of gun violence you won’t be quite so cavalier. Oh forget it. You don’t give a sh*t anyway. Back to the Fritos!
lostmotherland on September 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Same question, lostmotherland.
Annual gun and AIDS death numbers are almost identical.
Should HIV+ citizens have their abilities and freedoms regulated in an attempt to save thousands of non-carriers from HIV/AIDS death and injury each year?
rogerb on September 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Back to the Fritos, lostmotherland?

rogerb on September 19, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Morgan reminds me of the column wanting to ban revolver magazines.

mixplix on September 19, 2013 at 2:01 PM