"The primary issue is that Berlow's selective editing gave the impression that I/we support gun registration. We don't."
JUNE 2, 2016 By Sean Davis
First it was Katie Couric, who blatantly doctored a video in order to smear gun owners in a new documentary. Then came HBO's Bryant Gumbel, Couric's former sidekick, who twisted the words of AR-15 inventor Jim Sullivan to make it look like he thought the AR-15 was too dangerous for civilians.
Now the New York Times apparently wants in on the act. According to yet another Second Amendment activist, a writer for the New York Times op-ed page distorted the words of the gun rights activist to make it appear as though he favors national gun registration.
According to Jeff Folloder, the executive director for the National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association (NFATCA), New York Times op-ed author Alan Berlow took Folloder's quotes out of context to give the impression that Folloder agreed with certain gun control measures.
"The primary issue is that Berlow's selective editing gave the impression that I/we support gun registration," Folloder told The Federalist via e-mail. "We don't."
Here's how Berlow characterized his conversation with Folloder in his New York Times piece published earlier this week:
"Many of my quotes/attributions from that past interview were taken out of context," Folloder told The Federalist. "I detailed to the author that one of the rumors that we have to constantly dispel is the fiction that registering an NFA weapons gives ATF permission to come inspect or kick in your door without cause or warrant."
"I specifically said that registering an NFA weapon does not mean that you give up any search and seizure rights," Folloder continued. "Of course, that morphed into 'not giving up any rights.'"
"Berlow, through manipulation and editing, implied that I/we think that a gun registration scheme is effective," Folloder concluded. "It's not."
In addition to ripping Folloder's words out of context, Berlow also badly botched the history behind the regulation of certain items by the National Firearms Act, or NFA. Here's what Berlow wrote about the NFA:
First developed and sold by Hiram Maxim in 1902, a suppressor is nothing more than a hollow metallic cylinder with internal baffles to help slow the diffusion of gas as a round is fired from a gun. Unlike in the movies, where a suppressor magically turns the BANG! of a gun into nothing more than a pew-pew whisper, suppressors in real life merely reduce, rather than eliminate, the noise created by the firing of a weapon.
And when the suppressor was officially added to the list of controlled devices within the 1934 gun law, it wasn't added because it made a gun more deadly or more dangerous. It was added to help reduce out-of-season hunting and poaching on private lands by making illicit hunters easier to identify and apprehend. The reduced volume of the gun report from the suppressor made it more difficult to catch poachers.
It's no wonder that suppressors are so rarely used in crimes in the U.S. Not only do they not eliminate the loud noises associated with firing a gun, they're also incredibly expensive, with most suppressors costing far more than the guns they'll be attached to. On top of that, they make weapons extremely difficult, if not impossible, to conceal. According to data analyzed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, suppressors are used in an infinitesimal crimes not because of gun control, but because they're just not very practical for most criminals:
Berlow's distortions and misstatements of fact weren't the New York Times' first foray into shoddy anti-gun propagandizing, though. In December of 2015, the New York Times editorial page claimed that the expiration of the 1994 assault weapons ban resulted in .50 caliber sniper rifles flooding the streets because "18-year-olds" can "easily buy" them.
It would be a shocking claim, if it were true. However, the so-called assault weapons ban didn't ban .50 caliber rifles, so it's hard to see how the law's expiration magically resulted in the firearm's proliferation. And then there's the whole easy to buy charge: a .50 caliber sniper rifle and its accessories could cost you upwards of $10,000. And on top of all that, there's one more inconvenient fact: a .50 caliber rifle has never, not once, ever been used in a mass shooting in the U.S.
According to Folloder, the gun rights activist whose words were grossly taken out of context by Berlow, the New York Times author, the New York Times never bothered to fact-check the conversation to determine if Folloder's words were being accurately characterized.
"For what it's worth, the New York Times never fact checked Berlow's quotes and attributions," Folloder told The Federalist. "I am not surprised that I was not given an opportunity to correct the false implications."
Which brings us back to the willful distortions from anti-gun hacks like Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Alan Berlow, and the New York Times editorial page. If gun owners are so dumb and so evil, and if some gun rights activists are so on board with federal gun control schemes, then anti-gun propagandists should have no problem demonstrating those facts without having to doctor videos, distort quotes, mangle laws, misstate historical facts, and deliberately omit key context.
Sean Davis is the co-founder of The Federalist.
Photo Guy J. Sagi / Shutterstock