At ABC, Wanting More Guns Is 'Controversial' But Obama Pushing Gun Control Is Just News

For ABC's Good Morning America, favoring more guns on the streets is "controversial" but President Obama's plea for gun control is simply news.

"Those who argue that the best way to stop mass killings is to have more guns in the right hands at the right time, even in the classroom. It's a controversial debate," reported co-host George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. In contrast, ABC's Jake Tapper framed the Newtown shooting as a "tipping point" amidst Obama's push for more gun control.

Correspondent Alex Perez's report featured three quotes from supporters of arming school teachers with guns, and just one to the contrary. However the debate was cast as "controversial."

In contrast, ABC's Jake Tapper did not find anything "controversial" about President Obama's push for gun control. Tapper featured only quotes from those favoring or willing to consider more gun laws: President Obama, CNN's Piers Morgan, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

"And some gun rights Democrats suggest something has changed," Tapper said before ABC quoted Manchin, an NRA member, for the second day in a row. ABC likewise featured liberal CNN host Piers Morgan, who has clamored for gun control since the shooting.

"The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary appears right now to have been a tipping point for a national conversation about gun violence, one we've not seen in a long time," noted Tapper.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 20 on Good Morning America at 7:09 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[7:09]

ELIZABETH VARGAS: Now, to the debate over gun control. And this is all in the wake, of course, of that tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Vice President Joe Biden will be meeting with law enforcement officials in the first step of President Obama's push for a sweeping new plan to put an end to gun violence. The NRA is set to speak out tomorrow in its first news conference since the tragedy. And ABC's Jake Tapper joins us from the White House with the very latest. Jake, you asked the President yesterday in that news conference, where have you been for the past four years on this issue to eradicate semi-automatic weapons?

JAKE TAPPER: That's right. Vice President Biden had written that ban into law in 1994. It expired in 2004. The Vice President will be meeting today with chiefs of police who support reinstating that ban. And the Vice President will also be reaching out to lawmakers to try to come up with post-Newtown solutions.

(Video Clip)

TAPPER: President Obama had promised the citizens of Newtown meaningful action. And in a morning press conference, he explained what that meant. An administration focused on preventing future tragedies by focusing on mental health, culture, education, and gun control.

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence.

TAPPER: Vice President Biden will head the initial effort with a January deadline for specific recommendations.

OBAMA: This is not some Washington commission. This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now.

TAPPER: The President's already made some demands, calling on Congress to ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips and what he called military-style assault weapons. And close the so-called gun show loophole that does not require background checks in many private sales. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary appears right now to have been a tipping point for a national conversation about gun violence, one we've not seen in a long time.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN host: They can fire 100 bullets in a minute if people know what they're doing with them.

TAPPER: And some gun rights Democrats suggest something has changed.

Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.): I'll defend the Second Amendment to my dying breath. They know that I'm a proud owner and a lifetime member of the NRA with straight-A ratings. I've always been. And I hope always will be. But I also have a responsibility to speak up and say, listen. Come to the table. I want to hear both sides.

(End Video Clip)

TAPPER: Of course, one group we have not yet heard from that much, George, are leaders of the Republican Party who have been so opposed to any regulations on guns in the past. We'll hear from them in the coming days, as well. George?

(...)

[7:12]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And now, we're going to have more in our search for solutions after this tragedy. A different take. Those who argue that the best way to stop mass killings is to have more guns in the right hands at the right time, even in the classroom. It's a controversial debate. And ABCs Alex Perez takes a closer look.

(Video Clip)

ALEX PEREZ: Since the nightmare at Sandy Hook, some lawmakers are making the push for a new solution, more guns. Arguing teachers should be armed.
                                   
Gov. RICK PERRY (R-Tex.): You should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state.

PEREZ: In tiny Wichita, Texas, licensed teachers are already allowed to carry concealed guns in the classroom. The superintendent is convinced classroom guns can prevent school shootings.

DAVID THWEATT, superintendent, Independent School District, Texas: My goal is, if someone comes in to try to hurt my little ones, that they're killed.

PEREZ: Another company, OPSGEAR, is teaching teachers how to use firearms. Spearheading a course for educators about gun permits and energy survival tactics. The CEO believes educators should have the option to arm themselves.

DAVID BURNELL, CEO, OPSGEAR: Violence needs violence at times to solve the problem. You have to disrupt the behavior of the bad guy. We think firearms are a good alternative.

PEREZ: But Bill Bond, who was the principal at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky back in 1997, when a 14-year-old shot and killed three students, believes more guns will simply lead to more bloodshed.

BILL BOND, former principal, Health High School, KY: A lot of innocent kids would be killed by the principals and the teachers trying to stop something before it started.

PEREZ: Elsewhere, frustrated parents are taking another controversial approach, backpack body armor. Richard Brand's company is now making bullet-resistant backpacks for schoolchildren. The ordinary-looking child-sized backpacks have a sheet of bullet-resistant body armor sewn into them.

RICHARD BRAND, chief product development officer, Amendment II: For my kids to have a shield, why not offer them that protection wherever they are?

PEREZ: One Marine in Tennessee, heartbroken by the tragedy in Sandy Hook, is taking matters into his own hands, standing guard outside his daughter's school in Nashville. For Good Morning America, Alex Perez, ABC News, Chicago.

(End Video Clip)
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014