CNN Targets Gun Web Sites
Pity the business that gets caught in a media feeding frenzy. The latest example is gun sellers, following another school shooting.
CNNâs Veronica De La Cruz turned a negative spotlight on an online gun dealer for selling legal products that were then used in crimes.
On the Feb. 17 âAmerican Morning,â De La Cruz showed how two Web sites, operated by âthe same owner,â sold products to the shooters in both the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University tragedies. She said it was âpretty shocking to figure this out.â Anchor Kiran Chetry agreed, calling it an âeerie connection.â
But that wasnât enough. De La Cruz was even upset at the sympathy banners on the site because they were near banners that still advertised the companyâs business. âI want to show you the strange juxtaposition if you move down the page. Here's the NIU shooting and then âSave big on rifles and handgunsâ right underneath. You know, something that kind of turns your stomach, if you will,â she added.
De La Cruz didnât bother to explain that there were actually two banners. The first, âTragedy at NIU,â included a statement from TGSCOM Inc. President Eric Thompson that she never mentioned. "For now, the most important thing we can all do is send our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the victims of this heinous act. Iâd also suggest making a contribution to the NIU Memorial Fund,â wrote Thompson.
The second link took readers to a page that included information on the NIU Memorial Fund. But, TGSCOM is a business and there were seven other ads on the page at http://www.topglock.com/ and two at http://www.thegunsource.com/.
De La Cruz also didnât report much about the Green Bay, Wis., company. She found it âshockingâ that two Web sites run by the same company could have sold legal products to recent college killers. But according to its own site, TGSCOM âoperates 100 Web sites that sell firearms, firearmsâ accessories and hunting supplies.â Having two out of 100 connected doesnât seem like much of a stretch. Especially since, as De La Cruz said, the NIU shooter purchased only âtwo 9-millimeter magazines and a holster.â
De La Cruz also seemed stunned that guns could be purchased online and that online shopping might even be easy. âIf you click on this link here, buying a gun online, it shows that absolutely it is legal to buy a gun on the internet.â You work through the process, place an order and âthen sit back and relax while we do the rest,â she added, her voicing rising for dramatic effect.
De La Cruz and Chetry concluded by emphasizing the connection between the two crimes and the two purchases. âThe same owner owning the same two Web sites,â said De La Cruz.
That attack is consistent with recent media coverage of gun companies. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, the media went into a frenzy attacking gun companies. The coverage turned into a debate about gun control, with reporters on the three major networks blaming businesses that committed no crime. ABCâs Brian Ross was the worst offender, painting Roanoke Firearms as the villain on several different ABC programs.