Leah Barkoukis
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ABC news is defending their decision to selectively edit Michelle Obama’s claim during Good Morning America today that an “automatic weapon” was used in the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old who was killed shortly after performing at President Obama’s inaugural celebration. The “sole” reason, they argue, was for time.

Via the Washington Examiner, the first lady’s quote in full is below, showing the portions removed:

She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grow – grew – up, where our house is.  She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.

Those 10 words, or 17 in total, do not take enough time to warrant an edit on that basis alone in my opinion. The fact is that the first lady made a false claim that the weapon was automatic when it wasn’t. The Associated Press reported police said a man  “opened fire with a handgun before fleeing in a waiting car.” If she didn’t actually know what kind of weapon was used, however, wouldn’t it have been more natural to have just said, “Because some kids had some guns they didn’t need”? Probably. But even if she meant to say, “assault weapon,” she was definitely attempting to use the gun-control agenda buzzwords. Either way, the edit (er, not in the web version) assured that she didn't make an erroneous claim on the show and/or look ignorant on the issue.

If, however, she truly doesn’t know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons, Emily Miller breaks it down for her:

Automatic weapons have been highly regulated for civilian owners since the National Firearms Act of 1934. Owning one means going through an extensive process and background checks with the ATF. It is hard to believe that Mrs. Obama, a Harvard Law School grad, is not aware of the national firearms laws.

They have been banned from manufacture and import since 1986, so the low demand has made them very expensive, often more than $20,000. The last known crimes from automatic firearms were by law enforcement in the 1980s. Street criminals can’t get them, but confusing the public into believing that gang members are using weapons of war helps perpetuate myths to push a gun-control agenda. 

Any way you want to look at what the first lady said, she was completely wrong on the most important point: Hadiya Pendleton’s life was taken because of someone’s decision to pull a trigger--and that has nothing to do with what type of weapon was used. 

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Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Assistant Editor at Townhall.com/Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography