ABC Continues Push for More Gun Control, Laments 250 Million Guns in America

One night after ABC's World News featured Diane Sawyer and Pierre Thomas fretting over the lack of interest by Congress in passing new gun laws in response to recent shooting sprees, Thomas appeared on World News Saturday and again treated as problematic the statistic that there are "more than 250 million legally registered guns in this country," and seemed to complain that Congress is not planning to enact more gun laws. After recounting several incidents of mass shootings in the past month, Thomas fretted: "Even with all that carnage, there's no major gun control legislation pending before Congress." And earlier on ABC's Good Morning America, co-anchor Bill Weir had also brought up the statistic that there are more than 250 million guns in America as he recounted mass murder statistics from various decades.

On World News Saturday, after viewers were updated on the Binghamton mass shooting and the murder of three police officers ambushed in Pittsburgh, anchor David Muir introduced Thomas's report by recounting the complaint by liberals that "guns are more easily available here in the U.S. than in other Western countries," but he seemed to set up the piece as if Thomas were about to question that conventional wisdom as Muir asked: "But is that playing a role?"

But instead of questioning the liberal assumptions favoring gun control, Thomas repeated his fretting from Friday night as he relayed the unlikely prospects for more gun laws being passed. After recounting several instances of recent mass shootings, which were followed by a soundbite of President Obama expressing his condolences, Thomas continued: "Since the Virginia Tech massacre, there have been at least 50 mass shootings where three or more people were killed. Total dead: more than 200. And with more than 250 million guns already in circulation, figuring out what to do about the gun violence is not an easy task."

Then came a soundbite of Northeastern University Professor James Fox contending that "unfortunately, there are plenty of guns out there for" people who are frustrated about losing their jobs "to acquire legally or illegally to get the kind of satisfaction that they seek."

The ABC correspondent continued: "David, even with all that carnage, there's no major gun control legislation pending before Congress."

After Muir asked if the Obama administration had brought up the possibility of enacting more gun control at all, Thomas responded: "Well, there's been some talk of taking another look at the assault weapons ban, which was allowed to expire, but it's fair to say that since the administration took office, no urgency on gun control."

Muir then plugged next Friday's 20/20 special on guns, which he will co-host with Diane Sawyer. Muir: "Next Friday, the result of a year-long ABC News investigation. I team up with Diane Sawyer, as we ask: How do you defend yourself in cases like these if an intruder bursts in? Our hidden cameras arranged by police, and we ask: After Columbine and Virginia Tech, were lessons learned? Were promises kept? That's next Friday on a special 20/20."

Earlier in the day, on the Saturday edition of Good Morning America, Weir had also brought up the statistic that there are 250 million guns legally in circulation in America as he portrayed the statistic as problematic. After displaying a graph showing that the number of mass murders committed per decade has risen, Muir continued: "Major upswing in the last 20 years. So far this decade, 28 mass murders. The common denominator in all of these, guns. More than 250 million legally registered guns in this country. No telling how many more there are illegally out there."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, April 4, Good Morning America, followed by a complete transcript of the relevant report from the same day's World News Saturday:

#From Good Morning America:

BILL WEIR: This is the worst American mass murder since the Virginia Tech shootings two years ago this month, and if you put it in context, and look at this graph. The numbers are truly stunning. Since the 1930s, incidents of mass murder – defined as the killing of four or more people – have risen steadily decade by decade. Major upswing in the last 20 years. So far this decade, 28 mass murders. The common denominator in all of these, guns. More than 250 million legally registered guns in this country. No telling how many more there are illegally out there.

#From World News Saturday:

DAVID MUIR: With this gun violence in Binghamton and Pittsburgh, 44 people have now died in mass shootings in this country in just the past month. It's been said over and over again that guns are more easily available here in the U.S. than in other Western countries, but is that playing a role? Our senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas tonight with that part of the story.

PIERRE THOMAS: Mass shootings are occurring with frightening frequency. On March 10, a gunman fired 200 rounds, killing 10 in a Sampson, Alabama, shooting spree. March 21, about a week later, four California police officers shot to death. Eight days later, March 29, a gunman executes eight people at a nursing home in cold blood. Then, the very same day, six dead after a man fatally shoots five family members before killing himself. Today Pittsburgh, yesterday Binghamton.

BARACK OBAMA: I am heartbroken for the families who survived this tragedy, and it just underscores the degree to which, in each of our countries, we have to guard against the kind of senseless violence that the tragedy represents.

THOMAS: Since the Virginia Tech massacre, there have been at least 50 mass shootings where three or more people were killed. Total dead: more than 200. And with more than 250 million guns already in circulation, figuring out what to do about the gun violence is not an easy task.

PROFESSOR JAMES FOX, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: We have a downturned economy, we have people losing jobs, an eclipse of community, people are angry, they want vengeance. And that, unfortunately, there are plenty of guns out there for them to acquire legally or illegally to get the kind of satisfaction that they seek.

THOMAS: David, even with all that carnage, there's no major gun control legislation pending before Congress.

MUIR: Pierre, we did hear the President talk as a candidate about gun control. Have we heard anything from the administration now that he's President?

THOMAS: Well, there's been some talk of taking another look at the assault weapons ban, which was allowed to expire, but it's fair to say that since the administration took office, no urgency on gun control.

MUIR: All right, Pierre Thomas from the news room of our affiliate in Lynchburg, Virginia., tonight. Pierre, thank you. And we wanted to note that next Friday, the result of a year-long ABC News investigation. I team up with Diane Sawyer, as we ask: How do you defend yourself in cases like these if an intruder bursts in? Our hidden cameras arranged by police, and we ask: After Columbine and Virginia Tech, were lessons learned? Were promises kept? That's next Friday on a special 20/20.