NBC's Williams Inaugurates 'Post-Newtown Era' of Gun Restrictions

For three consecutive nights on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed the country to now be in the "post-Newtown era," as he and reporters promoted how "the White House prepares its battle plan" to push for more gun control following the school shooting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

On Tuesday, Williams kicked off the coverage by describing how "in our post-Newtown era," the Obama administration was "gearing up for a fight on this issue." In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Mott touted "a growing chorus of calls around the country for gun restrictions, in the wake of a spike in gun-related murders in cities like Chicago and Detroit and last month's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut."

Near the end of the segment, Sarah Brady of the anti-gun Brady Campaign stressed the importance of pushing through new restrictions immediately: "We cannot have a long conversation about this. We've got to have action and we've got to have action quickly, or it will fade."

On Wednesday, White House correspondent Kristen Welker continued to emphasize liberal urgency on the issue: "Trying to maintain momentum for stiffer gun control laws in the wake of that tragedy, Vice President Biden met with victims' groups and gun safety organizations here at the White House today and laid down a new political marker....[he] said the White House is prepared to act if Congress does not."

Williams introduced Welker's report by again declaring "the administration push for new gun laws in the post-Newtown era." He then used the phrase at the end of the segment as well: "Kristen Welker from the White House on this White House effort in the post-Newtown era."

On Thursday, Williams was still focused on pushing the idea of the nation being in a new age: "Now we turn to the fight over guns and the news of another school shooting breaking at the very same time that they were meeting at the White House trying to figure out what to do about all of the gun violence in this country, post-Newtown."

During her report that evening, Welker further pushed the media meme: "Public policy experts say the politics of gun control have shifted since Newtown." A sound bite followed of University of Maryland professor Don Ketl announcing: "The tragedy of what happened in Newtown, and the previous tragedies behind, have clearly changed the game on gun control in a way that's historically unprecedented. There's now a demand for action of the sort that we just haven't seen before."


Here is a full transcript of Tuesday's Nightly News report:

7:00PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The fight over guns. After so much tragedy, new voices joining the call for action now, as the White House prepares its battle plan.

7:07PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Now we turn to gun control in our post-Newtown era. The White House is gearing up for a fight on this issue, announcing today they will meet with representatives of the NRA later this week. NBC's Ron Mott covering this story for us.

RON MOTT: Two years ago today, 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green was the youngest of six people shot and killed at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store. In a new campaign, her mother is pleading for stricter gun laws.

ROXANNA GREEN: I have one question for our political leaders. When will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby? Whose child has to die next?

MOTT: Her questions are part of a growing chorus of calls around the country for gun restrictions, in the wake of a spike in gun-related murders in cities like Chicago and Detroit and last month's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Today, calls for action were joined by a new voice, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in that Arizona spree, launching an effort to curb gun violence.

MARK KELLY: Gabby and I are both gun owners. We are strong supporters of the Second Amendment, but we've got to do something to keep the guns from getting into the wrong hands.

MOTT: It's a sentiment that seems to be spreading. A Gallup poll taken after Newtown shows more Americans, 58%, favor tougher rules on gun sales that at any time since 2004, up 15 points from 2011. And nearly two-thirds, 62%, say it's time to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, the kinds often used in mass killings. All this talk of gun restrictions has meant bang-up business at Second Amendment Sports in Tucson.

JOSH BECK [SECOND AMENDMENT SPORTS GENERAL MANAGER]: Because of the word "ban" coming out in the political side, we're starting to see a little bit more of that fear purchasing.

MOTT: Andy Stead stopped in to buy his wife a handgun.

ANDY STEAD: People are going to be very, very passionate about their weapons and very passionate about the Second Amendment.

MOTT: The White House is preparing its strategy to address gun violence, which is expected to include a push for background checks on almost all gun purchases, reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, and stronger penalties for gun traffickers. Among the groups invited to meet, the National Rifle Association.

WAYNE LAPIERRE [NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION]: You want one more law on top of 20,000 laws, when most of the federal gun laws we don't even enforce?

SARAH BRADY: We have to just keep the talk going.

MOTT: Sarah Brady, who led the fight for handgun control after the 1981 assassination attempt against President Reagan left her husband paralyzed, hopes these conversations amount to more than just talk.

BRADY: We cannot have a long conversation about this. We've got to have action and we've got to have action quickly, or it will fade.

MOTT: NBC News has learned that family members and victims of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, will soon announce that they, too, have formed a new organization. Brian, they want to be part of this ongoing dialogue.

WILLIAMS: While this issue is still top of mind. Ron Mott with us here in the studio. Ron, thanks.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC