The Corner

A Cynical Double-Standard

Last night, on his CNN show, Piers Morgan expended a considerable amount of energy railing against the AR-15, a rifle that he evidently disfavors. Citing evidence that was mysteriously never shown, Morgan insisted that an AR-15 had not only been used in the shooting at the Navy Yard but had been legally bought in a Virginia gun store by the perpetrator himself and then taken deliberately to the scene. This, Morgan said, was obviously going to be the case because, as we all know, the AR-15 is the choice of serial killers and mass-shooters.

Morgan was not alone in this characterization. There was quickly a proliferation of stories on the AR-15, including a New York Daily News cover that the editor probably now wishes that he hadn’t run, and a related story in which that paper’s writer, Mike Lupica, hysterically describes the AR-15 as “the rifle for the ’sport’ of hunting humans.” Last night, you see, it really mattered what gun the shooter had used.

It is fair to say that this is an obsession shared by much of the Left. If it weren’t, progressives wouldn’t spend their time compiling lists of which guns and magazines citizens should be allowed and which they should be denied. Taxonomically, “assault weapon” means little more than “gun I want to ban”; politically and legally, however, it means “gun that made it onto the list of banned guns.” To most advocates of gun control, there are Bad guns and Less Bad guns, and, in a country with “sensible gun safety regulations,” we should all agree, per the president’s own language, that “weapons of war have no place on our streets” and that “military style” weapons should not be privately owned. Weaker weapons, on the other hand, are fine — for now, at least . . .


Well, apparently that depends. Initially, there were indeed reports that an AR-15 rifle was used in the comission of the crime. This morning, however, the FBI poured cold water on that, immediately allowing Americans to see which journalists were actually journalists and which journalists were merely members of the literary and entertainment wings of the gun-control movement. Those in the former camp retracted the story within the hour; those in the latter are still running with it. Indeed, Piers Morgan is not only still running with it, but he has tried to square the circle with a neat little trick. First, he pretended that there was still confusion about which guns were used, which there is absoutely not. Then he moved to a new refrain: ”But do you think it matters to the victims?”

All of this is to say that Morgan’s position is effectively this: If a shooting is carried out with a firearm he wants to ban, it is extremely important that it was used and its use tells us an awful lot about how our public policy should be developed. If, on the other hand, a shooting is not carried out with a firearm that Morgan wants to ban, it doesn’t matter at all — and you are probably a freak for even caring. Are we to presume that Morgan’s new position, “it doesn’t matter what the shooter used,” implies that he doesn’t want to ban any particular type of firearm because they are all the same? Or, perhaps, that he wants to ban all firearms?

Either way, there is only one word that comes to mind: Hypocrite.


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