Late Thursday Update: NYT just now corrected article. However, they did not change Michael Schmidt's claim that the shooter tried to buy the AR-15 and was stopped by the law, and that is the key part. But if not prevented because he was out of state, as they'd falsely reported, then why? Here's the correction: "An article on Wednesday about the gunman in the Navy Yard shooting, using information from senior law enforcement officials, misstated a provision in Virginia state gun law. Out-of-state buyers must provide additional forms of identification to purchase a high-capacity AR-15 rifle; the laws do not prohibit the sales of all AR-15 rifles to all out-of-state residents."
Thursday Update: Just saw another cable news report that states as fact that gun control law worked in Virginia to keep shooter from buying AR-15. NYT has not changed its story. This is a major claim so it will be interesting to see if it holds up, despite the below.
Update: Talking Points Memo talked to same lawyer I mentioned below and now he denies that Alexis tried to buy the AR-15. Mediaite talked to a salesman at the store who says the same. We'll see if that holds up and NYT corrects story.
Earlier: Interesting media tussle now over the question: Did Aaron Alexis try to buy an assault rifle at that Virginia shooting range and if he did why didn't he end up with one? If he did have an AR-15 on MOnday--instead of the shotgun he did buy, with only 24 shells--the death toll almost certainly would have been much higher.
The NYT, as I noted last night, broke the story that he had fired off a few rounds from the assault rifle at the range but was prevented from buying it because Virginia state law restricts such sales to out-of-staters. So he bought the shotgun. They even feature the role of the law right in the headline ("State Law Prevented Sale.....") But a Washington Times reporter, who has used the shooting range in the past, charged that there is no such law in Virginia and her sources claim Aaron didn't even try to buy the AR-15, and she demanded the Times correct its story. It has not. This morning the CBS News site has a story that falls somewhere in-between, stating that he did try to buy weapon but was rebuffed--for an unknown reason. NBC said a lawyer for the shooting range/gun store said he didn't know if Alexis did try to purchase the AR-15.
Surely the owner of the range will clear this up soon.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Why Didn't D.C. Shooter Buy That AR-15?
is author of a dozen books (click on covers at right), including the new "THE TUNNELS: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill." He was the longtime editor of Editor & Publisher. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @GregMitch