Front page fiction returns to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

By Jim Irvine
Editors note: As you read this piece, keep in mind that we contacted the Plain Dealer about correcting these problems. Thus far, they have failed to respond.

After months of relatively good reporting on matters of firearms and crime, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has jumped back to its old ways of anti-gun bias.

Sunday’s front page story, entitled “Where do the guns come from?” came complete with a list of all 108 “victims” who died from gun fire. If you read the fine print, you might notice that some of these “victims” deaths were “ruled as justified homicides” - i.e they died when their intended victim or police used justified deadly force against these violent miscreants.

The article focuses on “the gun” as if it were the cause of all these deaths. The story only mentions one convicted criminal, and he was used to discuss how he obtained a gun. His alleged “straw purchase” used to support the idea that police should be able to look at all sales of guns because you might be buying it for a convict to kill a cop.

The article covers most of three pages, and follows a week-long series about good citizens trying to take back their crime-filled neighborhoods. Obviously this story was planned for some time, yet the reporters did not check the most basic facts supplied to them by Cleveland police Chief Michael McGrath. This is troubling, as we have outlined for the PD lies that McGrath and Mayor Jackson used to further their political views. This is especially ironic, considering the story states, “Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson doesn’t see politics in a city trying to stop sky-rocketing shooting deaths.”

Would the PD print that the leader of the KKK “does not see race or skin color as an issue.”? Of course not, but it would be just as accurate!

The article wrongly informs readers that the city can do nothing about “Straw purchases.” That is wrong. The crime is a felony under Ohio law.

The story includes multiple sections, each showing how hard it is to solve Cleveland’s crime problem.

One section, titled “Pros and cons on NRA-backed rules” offers statements on issues from the NRA and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. If both groups made true statements, it would be balanced reporting. Of course the Brady bunch can’t help themselves when they know a complicit paper will print their lies as “news.” Example:

    2005: Congress passes a bill that protects firearms manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers from civil liability lawsuits triggered by gun violence.
    Pro: Firearms manufacturers and dealers should not be held accountable for the misuse of their products.
    Con: The gun industry wants to receive special legal protection that frees gun manufacturers and dealers from accountability for negligent or dangerous conduct.

Most would find it hard to pack so much wrong information into one sentence. The PD accepts it all as gospel. No matter that it is all false. (Click here
for more information on the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”)

A second section has a map of the U.S., noting gun control laws that other states have passed, but the Ohio legislature has not. The PD seems upset that Ohio has not followed California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York in this gun control scheme.

They note that 17 other states have passed such gun control, but Ohio has only passed one of the recommended laws, requiring dealers to report stolen guns.

So will the PD soon be running a lead story with a map of all the states that have passed “Castle Doctrine” legislation? Or how about “Emergency Powers” legislation? Or how about a map showing that most states allow you to carry a loaded gun in your car without any license? Will they lament that the Ohio legislature has not passed these common sense laws to help crime victims? Don’t hold your breath.

A third section cites three things "Cleveland is doing to prevent gun violence", "wants to do but cannot", and "could do but is not". Notably missing in what Cleveland is doing is “prosecute criminals.” Most would ask why, but that was not an issue for the PD. The idea of going out and teaching people how to “Refuse to be a Victim”
or, God-forbid, get a concealed handgun license and defend their life from violent criminals is never mentioned.

Under things "Cleveland could do but is not", the PD credits the city of “Atlanta” for the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Don’t lie for the other guy program.
There is no mention that this program is 100% paid for by firearms manufacturers. The fact that the firearms industry does not want criminals to have guns and spends money to address the issue goes directly against the purpose of the article.

Most troubling are the things “Cleveland wants to do but cannot.”

    Prevent residents from owning assault weapons in the city. An ordinance used to ban the weapons in the city. When the concealed-carry weapons law passed, it voided the local ordinance.

As previously revealed on this website, Mayor Jackson and the City of Cleveland didn’t prosecute criminals when their ban was in effect. They would not do so now. They use the issue for political grandstanding, nothing more. My story on the subject, entitled "The truth about Cleveland’s “Assault Weapon Ban” - Part I, was sent to the PD. Obviously, they don’t want the truth to get in the way of a good story.

    Track gun purchases. When guns are traced, the information tells police which dealer originally sold the gun. How the gun changes owners before it is used in a crime is murky. Police say if gun owners had to register and transfer the firearms, much like cards, houses and even pets – solving and preventing violent gun crimes would be easier.”

Wrong. People like Mayor Jackson and Michael Bloomberg want to harass and blame law-abiding people for the acts of criminals. Chief McGrath may make this comment, but his officers, whose lives would be at risk if their boss had his way, strongly disagree. They have access to everything they need to fight crime, and that information is protected from nefarious individuals. That is the whole point. (For more information on the “Tiahrt Amendment” click here.)

As is almost always the case, the people claiming they need tougher gun laws to fight crime are the same ones that refuse to use the laws currently on the books to prosecute criminals. They want nothing to do with fighting crime. They want to take away your right to own a gun and defend your life. It’s that simple.

To say the story is filled with errors, lies, omissions, and half-truths would be an understatement. It is an anti-gun hit piece, with quotes from an NRA spokesman in a thinly veiled attempt to mask the anti-gun bias. It seems that expecting the Plain Dealer to accurately report news is like expecting a drug dealer to give up crack.

Buckeye Firearms Association has repeatedly made direct offers to help the Plain Dealer and other news outlets get their stories factually accurate. We will provide this service for FREE, even to a for-profit business that works to deny citizens their rights. The fact that the Plain Dealer never checked basic facts or called us leads one to believe they never intended to write an accurate story.

Maybe one of the more telling statements was Chief McGrath’s: “All it takes is someone on the Potomac to put the throttle down and go after the straw purchasers.” No. All it takes is a police chief to focus his attention on the criminals who are killing the good people in his city. Helping potential crime victims defend themselves is beyond hope. Alas, a “news paper” reporting news instead of writing fiction would be nice too.

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