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Washington Whispers
Second Amendment Hero Dick Heller Offers Searing Indictment Of Media Coverage Of Guns

By Elizabeth Flock
June 5, 2013

Part 1 of 2

(Gerald Herbert/AP) Dick Heller, who sued to overturn Washington handgun ban, poses for the assembled media after picking up his gun registration.

Dick Heller is angry.

The so-called hero of the gun rights community on Wednesday accused members of the media of purposefully confusing the public about guns and gun ownership in the months since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Heller was the center of a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2008 that held the Second Amendment protected civilians, and not just law enforcement, in owning guns. His prescription for reporters on the gun beat Wednesday: learn how to use a firearm.

[READ: 62 Percent Want Congress to 'Move On' From Gun Debate]

"You folks in the media, I challenge you to add another [notch] to your resume. Learn about guns. Take a safety course," Heller told a room of reporters at the National Press Club. "If you don't ... you're going to have a struggle understanding the process. When I see people take a firearms class, and they start out as antigun, they enjoy it, they start to absorb that environment. If you did, you would not make mistakes, like calling a magazine a clip."

That advice is one the gun rights community has offered before.

In an April interview with Whispers, Dave Workman, a senior editor at and spokesman for the second amendment group Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said there were times he was "ashamed of his journalism degree" because of the way the mainstream press covered the National Rifle Association. "The problem is that most of the people who occupy newsrooms in the U.S. are not gun owners," Workman said.

[BROWSE: Political Cartoons on Gun Rights and Gun Control]

part two