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Diane Sawyer’s ABC News hit piece on guns may show violation of Florida law

Diane Sawyer and ABC News colleague David Muir set an “experimental” trap designed to attract and snare kids in what appears to be a violation of Florida law.
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Citing tomorrow night’s scheduled ABC News special report, “Young Guns: A Diane Sawyer Special,” Lauren Pearle of the network’s blog promised Thursday the program would take “a sharp look at children and guns, and parental responsibility.”

Aside from noting admissions that deaths from guns among young people are “trending down” (despite record numbers of gun sales and the admission that ABC evidently considers people old enough to vote and serve in the military to be “kids”), there is one other noteworthy aspect to the report revealed in the teaser video presented in the article when the network sets out to debunk NRA’s “Eddie Eagle” child gun safety program: ABC News, along with the police, set up an “experiment” at an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Fla., where children were left alone with guns.

They were “unloaded,” the report assures viewers, although the late Col. Jeff Cooper, one of the foremost authorities on gun use and safely, taught as his most basic principle that “All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.” That ABC and the police deliberately put children in a position to ignore not only that cardinal rule, but also the remaining three concerning where the muzzle is pointed, keeping fingers off triggers and being sure what is beyond the target, is grossly irresponsible, and the excuse that the police provided expert assurance rings hollow in light of how many negligent police shootings (invariably deemed “accidents”) have been documented in this column’s companion WarOnGuns blog.

Beyond such inexcusable jeopardizing of children’s lives, the segment may actually violate the law.

Florida Statute 790.174, “Safe storage of firearms required” mandates “A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm ... and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor's parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.

“It is a misdemeanor of the second degree ... if a person violates [the above] by failing to store or leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result thereof a minor gains access to the firearm, without the lawful permission of the minor's parent or the person having charge of the minor, and possesses or exhibits it, without the supervision required by law.”

While ABC could argue that parental permission was obtained, the fact is, the children in the video were not under direct “supervision” of anyone “having charge” of them -- the "adults" were all in the “control room” watching their “experiment” on TV monitors.

Not that any official action should be expected on this -- as seen time and again, and as exemplified by the prosecution in Washington D.C. of a man for having an expended shotgun shell while NBC’s David Gregory was allowed to skate on illegally possessing a magazine, the lesson is clear that the law is pliable and enforcement is discretionary. Those against private gun ownership given a pass, particularly if they’re among the “legitimate news media” class Joe Biden is counting on to help with “gun control,” and those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms are to be pursued with a vengeance.


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When your turn to be tested comes, how will you fare? Wouldn’t it be better to stop the antis before they get that far? How can we, if most gun owners let a relative handful of activists do all the work? The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "The Unconstitutional State.”

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