On Tuesday's Good Morning America, anchor Elizabeth Vargas and reporter Pierre Thomas tag-teamed to push into overdrive their program's call for gun control legislation, giving their audience the idea that banning certain types of guns is the solution to preventing future mass murders like the Newtown, Conn., shooting last week. For the second day in a row, ABC’s Thomas pushed the gun control narrative amplified throughout the liberal media.
The segment began with anchor Vargas framing the topic in pro-gun restriction language, “we now turn to our ABC News ongoing commitment to the search for solutions to gun violence.” Vargas then turned to ABC’s Pierre Thomas who for the second straight day pushed for stricter gun control. This time, Thomas turned his focus to outside the NRA's Fairfax, Virginia headquarters Monday he described, “An angry crowd. Scores of activists protesting the gun lobby.” [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Yet the entire story provided less than 15 seconds arguing on behalf of gun rights activists, instead choosing to focus entirely on pushing stronger gun control, turning to gun-control enthusiast New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Pierre turned to the otherwise relatively conservative land down under:
Supporters of gun control point to Australia. In 1996, after a mass shooting there, that country banned certain types of rifles and launched a massive gun buyback campaign. Since then, Australia has not had a single mass shooting.
Following Thomas's piece, Vargas observed that "The NRA has been notably silent since the attacks on Friday." Of course, the organization has a policy to not jump into politics in the midst of tragedy, and had the organization come right out of the gate to rebut pro-gun control voices, it would have been castigated as ghoulish by the liberal media.
"What about retail stores? Sporting goods stores that sell these guns? Any moves, any actions or any statements from them?" Vargas inquired of Thomas.
After learning that Dicks Sporting Goods has decided to stop selling certain types of rifles, Vargas once again showed her activism for greater gun control by commenting, "That's one step."
See relevant transcript below.
Good Morning America
December 18, 2012
7:13 a.m. EST
ELIZABETH VARGAS: Alright George, we now turn to our ABC News ongoing commitment to the search for solutions to gun violence. President Obama promised action on Sunday at that interfaith vigil for the victims of the Newtown shootings. At least one pro-gun rights advocate in the Senate has said that everything should be on the table. ABC's Pierre Thomas has the latest on the call to action. Good morning, Pierre.
PIERRE THOMAS: Good morning, Elizabeth. Many Americans are demanding that something be done to stop nightmares like we saw in Newtown. But what that something should be is where the fight begins. At NRA headquarters in Virginia Monday, an angry crowd. Scores of activists protesting the gun lobby. And the gun control debate ignited yet again. But those in support of the NRA questioned whether the assault rifle used in the Newtown massacre was really the issue. Conservative columnist John Fund called into the NRA’s webcast yesterday.
JOHN FUND: The bottom line is the laws don't work. These mass killings are because of psychotic or mentally ill individuals.
THOMAS: But some political leaders are fed up with the nation's gun violence. 34 Americans are killed every day by firearms.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: This is just ridiculous. This is an outrage. We are killing each other. And we're the only industrialized country in the world doing it.
THOMAS: The nation has fought this battle before. In 1994, congress passed an assault weapons ban, after a surge in gun violence across the nation. The law banned 18 types of rifles. But after ten years, it expired, as the gun lobby's power had grown. But according to a University of Pennsylvania study, the number of mass shootings did decline during that decade, except for the year 1999. That was the year of columbine. 13 students and faculty killed in a murderous rampage. Since the ban ended, the country has seen a spate of mass shootings including the spree in Tucson and the Colorado movie theater massacre. But little in the way of significant gun control. Supporters of gun control point to Australia. In 1996, after a mass shooting there, that country banned certain types of rifles and launched a massive gun buyback campaign. Since then, Australia has not had a single mass shooting. Is there the will or the desire to do something like that in the U.S.? We don't yet know. Elizabeth?
VARGAS: Pierre, the NRA has been notably silent since the attacks on Friday. What about retail stores? Sporting goods stores that sell these guns? Any moves, any actions or any statements from them?
THOMAS: We’re hearing this morning that Dick's Sporting Goods, a major chain, is announcing that it is banning certain types of rifles.
VARGAS: All right. Well, that's one step. We'll keep our ears posted to see if anything changes. Pierre Thomas, thank you very much.