In a report at the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kevin Tibbles fretted that "Despite bylaws that prohibit gun shops within city limits...Chicago appears to be awash in guns." A sentiment that echoed ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer, who on Wednesday announced to viewers that the whole nation was "awash in guns." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The declaration from Tibbles teed up gun control advocate and UCLA law professor Adam Winkler to claim that the problem with Chicago's gun restrictions was that they were not universal: "Chicago certainly has strict gun control laws. But the difficulty is that outlying areas outside of Chicago and in other states, neighboring Illinois, don't have strict gun control laws, and the guns easily flow into Chicago because of that."
In an editorial for the New York Daily News immediately following the Newtown shooting, Winkler pleaded for President Obama to use the tragedy to push the gun control agenda:
There are hopeful signs things are different this time around. The political environment in Washington may have been changed by this shooting and the recent elections....If President Obama is serious about meaningful action, he better act now. In several months, the sad truth is that people will have forgotten the victims of Friday's tragedy. To honor their memory, he should act with haste to do everything he can to reduce the daily death toll from guns.
Introducing the Nightly News report from Tibbles, anchor Brian Williams eagerly cited data from a prominent anti-gun group: "The people at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the people who also compile the numbers, tell us that so far today, 203 people have been shot in this country. That's just today, and just as of 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time."
Williams didn't bother to mention how many of those shootings actually involved the "assault weapons" that gun control advocates are seeking to ban.
Here is a full transcript of the January 31 Nightly News report:
7:00PM ET TEASE:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Up in arms over gun violence. More than 200 shootings across this country just today. And tonight, the plan to fight back in the city hardest hit.
7:01PM ET SEGMENT:
WILLIAMS: The people at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the people who also compile the numbers, tell us that so far today, 203 people have been shot in this country. That's just today, and just as of 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Among the shootings, Kauffman, Texas, an assistant district attorney gunned down and killed outside the courthouse where he worked. Lincoln, Nebraska, a man shot while in his apartment building after two armed men burst in. Atlanta, Georgia, a 14-year-old student shot in the head at Price Middle School this afternoon, one person in police custody. And then, of course, there's the city of Chicago. More people killed there last year than American troops killed in Afghanistan. More than 40 gun murders so far just this year, and today they announced a new strategy. NBC's Kevin Tibbles starts us off from there tonight. Kevin, good evening.
KEVIN TIBBLES: Brian, 2013 is barely a month old and already 42 murders in the city of Chicago. The latest has galvanized this city into taking action.
RAHM EMANUEL [CHICAGO MAYOR]: No one gets a pass.
TIBBLES: Today, Chicago city officials went on the offensive, taking aim at gun violence by calling for background checks on gun buyers.
EMANUEL: The loss of any child, in any community, in this city, is a loss to the entire city.
TIBBLES: Moving 200 more officers from behind their desks to the streets.
GARRY MCCARTHY [CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT]: If I have to put a policeman here, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365, we're going to make a point that this territory belongs to the community.
HADIYA PENDELTON: I'm Hadiya, year 2015.
TIBBLES: The victims have names and families. 15-year-old honor student, Hadiya Pendelton, has become the latest face of violence in this city. In sixth grade, she took part in an anti-gang video.
PENDELTON: It's your job as students to say no to gangs and yes to a great future.
TIBBLES: Despite bylaws that prohibit gun shops within city limits, more than any other city in America, Chicago appears to be awash in guns. More than 7,400 seized by police last year, almost 600 since January 1st.
ADAM WINKLER [PROFESSOR, UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW]: Chicago certainly has strict gun control laws. But the difficulty is that outlying areas outside of Chicago and in other states, neighboring Illinois, don't have strict gun control laws, and the guns easily flow into Chicago because of that.
DAVID WHEELER [NEWTOWN SHOOTING VICTIM'S FATHER]: We lost our son, Benjamin.
TIBBLES: In Newtown, Connecticut, they gathered to continue the push for new gun legislation nationwide.
WHEELER: The liberty of any person to own a military-style assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine and keep them in their home is second to the right of my son to his life.
TIBBLES: Others suggested beefing up gun laws can't stop all the violence.
BRIAN CHALMERS [NEWTOWN EMT]: Neither the size of the magazine, nor the style of the rifle, will affect the actions of evil. Those wishing to do harm to those wishing to do good will never be swayed by the laws of man.
TIBBLES: And Chicago police say those extra 200 officers will start hitting the streets as early as Saturday. Brian.
WILLIAMS: Kevin Tibbles, starting us off tonight from Chicago. Kevin, thank you.