CNN Evokes Tragic School Shootings and Hypes Gun Control Activists In Reporting Repeal of Virginia Gun Law

In light of Monday's school shooting in Ohio, CNN hyped the alarm of gun control activists over the repeal of a Virginia handgun regulation, and also evoked the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where 33 students lost their lives.

CNN's Kate Bolduan interviewed the father of a victim of the Tech shooting and asked him about his opposition to the handgun limit's repeal. She gave him a sympathetic interview but hosted no one from the other side to argue in favor of overturning the law.

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) overturned the 19 year-old regulation on Tuesday, a law limiting handgun purchases to one per month. "He did so over the objections of families of students killed or hurt in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. How could we forget that?" Bolduan stated.

She also captured the alarm of gun control activists. "And while all this is happening in Ohio," she said of Monday's school shooting, "gun control activists fear Virginia has once again opened up the quote, unquote, 'Iron Pipeline'," she stated in reference to the I-95 corridor which is used for gun trafficking.

Bolduan did quote one of the lawmakers in favor of the repeal, asking her guest to respond. However, the rest of her reporting and the interview itself was sympathetic with the opposition to Gov. McDonnell's repeal.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 2 on Newsroom at 1:08 p.m. EST, is as follows:

KATE BOLDUAN: Classes are back in session today at Chardon High School, for the first time since five students were shot in the school cafeteria Monday morning. A sixth was nicked in the ear by a bullet. Three students died, and the 17 year-old suspect now faces charges that range from aggravated murder to assault. T.J. Lane will be back in court next week.

And while all this is happening in Ohio, gun control activists fear Virginia has once again opened up the quote, unquote, "Iron Pipeline." That's a reference to the trafficking of guns up Interstate 95 from Virginia and other states to New York City, where the guns are resold or had been for a long time, or used in crimes. Crimes such as this deadly shooting of a New York police officer in December, and the attempted killing of a New York policeman just this week. One day after that attack, Virginia's governor signed a repeal of a 19 year-old law that limited handgun purchasers to one handgun a month. He did so over the objections of families of students killed or hurt in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. How could we forget that?

My guest today lost his eldest daughter on that horrible day, and pleaded with Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia to leave the hand restriction in place. Peter Read, thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. First off, I guess, just I'd like to hear your reaction to the final decision that you know that the governor has repealed that handgun ban.

PETER READ, father of Mary Karen Read: Kate, to me and to many of the family members from Virginia Tech, and the survivors, it's a huge disappointment. You might even say a slap in the face, because having lived through this, our primary motivation is we never want any other family or survivor to ever have to live through this again. And what the governor's done, despite our pleas, is put us back in the position of becoming a supplier for that Iron Pipeline you talked about, and of course for handgun violence within Virginia itself. So it was just hugely disappointing.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and Mr. Read, I'm sorry to interrupt. You had a chance to speak with the governor, along with other families of victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, before he had made his final decision or announced it. What did you say to him in that conference call?

READ: I personally made a plea to him, as a fellow veteran, as a father of a daughter – the governor's daughter, by the way, was at Virginia Tech when officer Derek Crouse was shot to death last year, so I know he understands what we go through in these events. But I appeal to him not to do this, because it's bad on public policy grounds. It's certainly bad on political grounds, because two-thirds of Virginians support the one gun a month legislation. And it's the wrong thing to do. So I just made my best appeal to him, and he had given me two hours to talk to him almost five years ago after the Virginia Tech shooting. So I was hoping that we had a rapport to perhaps persuade him. Obviously, that didn't happen.

BOLDUAN: And I do want to read a quote to you from the Republican state lawmaker who sponsored this repeal. He said – he was reported as saying, quote, "Criminals don't go into gun stores, stand there in the bright light, hand over their driver's license and stand there and wait for the vendor to see if they have a criminal record. If you really want to get after gun crime," this lawmaker says, "you get after people who use guns illegally. You don't punish law abiding citizens." What do you say to that?

READ: Yeah. That's a statement made out of complete willful ignorance on his part. First of all, this law has never kept any law-abiding gun owner from buying any weapon he or she chose. If you have to buy more than 12 handguns in a year, my question is, what exactly are you doing?

And if what you're doing is running a business, you need to have a federal firearms license. Second, the argument that criminals don't go to gun stores to guy guns is disproved by the fact that Virginia state police arrest criminals every year who go to gun stores to buy guns, because we have a robust action program here in Virginia that triggers it. And the police actually go to the gun stores, sometimes while the transaction is in progress. So, that's just complete willful ignorance on his part, doesn't hold any water at all.

BOLDUAN: Now unfortunately, of course, Mr. Read, even having the – even when that handgun ban was in place, it was not able to prevent or protect your daughter from that horrible day back in April of 2007. It has been almost five years now since Mary Karen was killed. How are you and your family doing?

READ: We are doing as well as you can expect our family to do. Of course, all of our other children are now almost five years older, so we have very busy lives. And we – you know, we work for them and, you know, we have all their normal activities. But Mary is still very much a part of our family. We remember her every night in their bed time prayers and my daughter, Colleen, who is almost 5, we have a picture of her, doesn't have a big sister to guide her through life anymore. And that hole is just there in our family, it's always going to be there. And that's the case for all the other families that lost children, fathers, loved ones, and the survivors carry that through the rest of their lives, too.

BOLDUAN: No one forgets that day back in 2007, absolutely not. Thank you so much for your time. We wish you the absolute best to you and your family. Mr. Peter Read, thank you.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center