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Distortion of Young Guns

ABC recently ran an anti-gun segment hosted by Diane Sawyer on a 20/20 special entitled “Young Guns,” which was simply an experiment used to demonize guns and private firearms ownership. Sawyer and others went to neighborhoods where firearms are kept in homes and portrayed guns as threats to children, rather than tools to be used in self-defense.

The producers’ anti-gun sentiments were evident from the very beginning. First, they determined that youngsters like playing with guns. ABC gathered 44 children who had been taught not to touch guns in a classroom in St. Petersburg, Fla. Then the news team hid real guns in the classroom along with regular toys to see how the children would react. To no one’s surprise, the children were very curious about the guns. Many of them touched the guns, picked them up, pointed them at their faces, looked down barrels, and some even aimed them at each other.

Not a word was mentioned about the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program which has been in existence for decades and instructs youngsters when they find a firearm to “Don’t touch, leave the room, find an adult.” This message has reached tens of millions of youngsters. I used to employ NRA’s Eddie Eagle comic-book-like publications in schools and found them to be very effective. At that time they had publications available for all age groups from early readers to early teens. Yet, again ABC ignored this fact.

The segment included gun owners who believe that teaching children about guns is the best way to prevent an accident. (Count this writer among them!) They showed footage of parents on the shooting range with children younger than 10, shooting as their parents watched and supervised.

One father remarked, “It takes away the mystery. It takes away the curiosity.”

ABC managed to find a father whose son was tragically shot and killed, even after being around guns for years. Tragic of course, but ABC failed to mention the 2.5 million times per year that U.S. citizens defend themselves, usually by merely brandishing the firearm to scare off attackers. Less than eight percent of the time, according to the Gun Owners of America, does a citizen kill or wound his/her attacker.

Interestingly, conservative radio talk show host Dana Loesch took on ABC’s biased report with a rebuttal of her own, pointing out that ABC attempted to portray accidental shooting deaths of children as an epidemic when it is not.

With 90 million gun owners and 40 million children 10 years of age or younger in the U.S., the approximate 28 who died of accidental gunshots make up less than one percent of shooting deaths. The vast majority of gun deaths are gang and drug-related violence among young men. In fact, according to the CDC’s John Lott and the National Safety Council, swimming pools caused 602 drowning deaths among children, 262 children died in fires, 923 in car accidents, and 1,537 to abuse and neglect. 

Loesch concluded that perhaps the most beneficial question to ask your neighbor, rather than did they have a gun in the house, is if they have a swimming pool, a car, or if they have a nutty family member who abuses drugs or alcohol.

Loesch was subsequently attacked by the far-left anti-gun group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The group partners with another anti-gun organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is funded by billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Columnist and Second Amendment supporter Katie Pavlich wrote that the attacks of Loesch continued on Facebook, “complete with death threats (including a beheading threat!) and obscene language.”

That’s apparently what the Left regards as “tolerance.”

Bernie Kuntz, a Jamestown native, has been                               an Outdoors columnist for The Sun since 1974