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Friday, June 22, 2007
WND's Biases Shine Through
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Let's count the biased claims in this June 21 WorldNetDaily article by Naomi Laine, shall we?

First off, it's essentially a press release for the right-wing gun-rights group Gun Owners of America, promoting its claims against a bill that would allow states to more easily flag the mentally ill in criminal databases so that they appear in gun-sale background checks. Laine writes in her lead paragraph: "The House of Representatives has fast-tracked new legislation to 'improve' the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by allowing doctors to now decide who can own firearms." Yes, Laine put the word "improve" in scare quotes.

Laine writes that "soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would be classified as mentally ill and given the same opportunity to own firearms as convicted felons: None," without offering any reason why that's a bad thing.

Laine writes of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, sponsor of the legislation, that her "own husband was killed in a random shooting on a commuter train in New York City in 1993." That understates the situation; in fact, McCarthy's husband was just one of six people killed by Colin Ferguson -- who had mental health evinced by his decision to defend himself during his trial on the shootings -- on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993. Further, McCarthy's son was seriously wounded in the incident.

Laine also writes:

Tech student Seung-Hui Cho was not flagged when he purchased guns, although the state of Virginia knew Cho had been ordered to undergo mental health treatment. No evidence indicates that Cho could have been stopped from opening fire on classmates had the new changes been in place at the time of the shooting.

A Virginia judge in December 2005 deemed Cho "an imminent danger to himself because of mental illness"; Cho purchased the guns he used in his April 2007 shooting spree in Febraury and March 2007. Had Cho's mental illness been entered in the gun-check database, those guns might not have been sold to him and he could indeed have been "stopped from opening fire on classmates."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT

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