ABC Implies NYC Cop Killer Bought Gun from Dealer, Ignores Original Legal Buyer

On Friday's World News, ABC host Charles Gibson incorrectly implied that a murder suspect in New York City had purchased his weapon from a gun store in Virginia, ignoring the fact that the original owner, now deceased, had purchased the gun legally from the shop in 1999, and that police have not yet discovered how the suspect obtained the gun. Instead, Gibson contended that this case shows that criminals often go to shops for their weapons as he set up the piece: "Well, the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer is shedding some light on how criminals get their guns. Too often, they simply go to a store. And they know which stores to go to. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, one percent of this nation's gun stores sell the guns that account for nearly 60 percent of the guns traced to crimes." (Transcript follows)

During the shooting, another police officer was wounded by a second suspect using a gun purchased in Tennessee, but the ABC story, filed by correspondent David Wright, focused on the gun involved in the fatal shooting of Officer Russel Timoshenko, and on the gun shop, R&B Guns, of Hampton, Virginia, that originally sold the weapon. Wright cited a 2004 study by gun control advocacy group Americans for Gun Safety Foundation (AGS), although without actually mentioning the group's name, which reported that of all gun stores in America, R&B Guns sold the fifth largest number of weapons that ended up being found by police in the hands of criminals. Wright then showed a clip of gun control advocate Jim Kessler, co-founder of the left-leaning Third Way and former member of AGS who was involved in the study. Kessler: "There's thousands of guns that this store sold that have been used in crimes. And now a cop has been killed."

According to the Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), R&B Guns owner Richard Norad's legal trouble began when, "while checking the transaction forms for R&B in 1998, State Police found that the store's gun sale documents omitted a potential buyer's second identification," as the law requires two forms of ID for a purchase. After Norad was issued five warnings, he was charged with 10 such failures to provide a second ID that occurred between January 1998 and April 2000. Notably, the Daily Press also relayed that Norad "filed 2,300 transaction forms with the State Police in 1999," which would suggest that the total number of incomplete transaction forms may have been 10 out of as many as 5,000. No details were reported by the Daily Press on whether authorities interviewed the purchasers involved in the 10 incidents to see if they were legally entitled to their purchases or if any of these guns made their way to criminals.

Without providing details on Norad's violations, Wright concluded his report continuing to suggest that the gun shop owner had sold a gun to the killer directly: "Virginia authorities finally closed down R&B Guns several years ago. The store owner pled guilty to selling firearms without checking ID's and served a two-year probation. This week he told the New York Daily News it's very upsetting that one of the guns he sold was used to kill a cop."

Below is a complete transcript of David Wright's piece from the Friday July 27 World News with Charles Gibson:

CHARLES GIBSON: Well, the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer is shedding some light on how criminals get their guns. Too often, they simply go to a store. And they know which stores to go to. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, one percent of this nation's gun stores sell the guns that account for nearly 60 percent of the guns traced to crimes. Here's ABC's David Wright.

DAVID WRIGHT: When a New York City police officer is killed in the line of duty, the funeral is a city event, fraught with grief and anger. Officer Russel Timoshenko was gunned down July 9th. And authorities now know where the gun came from. They've traced it back to R&B Guns of Hampton, Virginia, a store with a terrible reputation.

JOHN FEINBLATT, Office of New York City Mayor: What we know is that R&B had 1,116 guns that were used in crimes over a five-year period.

WRIGHT: A 2004 study found that 120 gun stores accounted for at least 55,000 guns used in crimes. And on that list, the fifth-worst offender was R&B Guns.

JIM KESSLER, Third Way: There's thousands of guns that this store sold that have been used in crimes. And now a cop has been killed.

WRIGHT: Officer Timoshenko's death has lent new urgency to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign to go after out-of-state gun dealers, suing 27 dealers around the country. Officials in New York say Virginia needs to do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. But Virginians resent that. They say New Yorkers should mind their own business.

MICHAEL ZARLENGA, The Trophy Room: New York has its own problems, has its own troubles. They need to concentrate on what's being done in New York.

WRIGHT: Virginia authorities finally closed down R&B Guns several years ago. The store owner pled guilty to selling firearms without checking ID's and served a two-year probation. This week he told the New York Daily News it's very upsetting that one of the guns he sold was used to kill a cop. David Wright, ABC News, Alexandria, Virginia.