National Press Club

Gun-rights advocate complains about ‘biased’ media at NPC Newsmaker

June 5, 2013 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver | HeatherForsgrenWeaver@gmail.com

Dick Heller addresses June 5 Newsmaker

Dick Heller addresses June 5 Newsmaker

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Dick Heller, the winning litigant in a gun-rights lawsuit at the Supreme Court, told a National Press Club Newsmaker event June 5 that the press is biased against responsible gun ownership.

“With multiple examples available of proper and appropriate use of guns by people across the nation, I can only conclude that many reporters are willfully biased by mainly reporting stories associated with illegal or inappropriate firearms usage," Heller said.

Many people in government and the media don’t want to learn about using guns for self defense, Heller said.

“It’s easier to be spoon fed quotes and false science by anti-gun lobbyists and politicians than to be a real fact checker. That gets people killed. Is that a responsible standard for media to follow?” Heller said.

If reporters would take a gun safety course and learn about responsible gun ownership then they would write more favorable stories, Heller said.

“I challenge you [the media]to add another level of professionalism to your resume and actually learn about guns. Talk to responsible law-abiding gun owners and if you are going to report about guns, a safety course would certainly be significant and helpful,” Heller said.

Television coverage of gun rights always shows “Bubba” instead of an intelligent person in a suit and tie who “might be packing a gun” with a concealed-carry permit, Heller complained. “It gives us a real bad image.”

The First and Second Amendments are “co-dependent in the Bill of Rights,” Heller said. By listing the right to bear arms following freedom of the press, the Founding Fathers meant for the two to be used to protect against tyranny, he said.

“A war on the First Amendment is truly a war on the Second Amendment and vice versa,” Heller said.

Alluding to recent disclosures about the FBI obtaining the phone and e-mail records of some reporters, Heller said, “the ‘brown shirts’ have invaded the privacy and sanctity or sacredness of our free press, which affects some people in this room -- so now perhaps our position on the Second Amendment may not seem so extreme as it did before.”

The Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller affirmed an individual’s right to own firearms, but said that localities could regulate them. Heller is now suing the D.C. government again because he believes the city’s regulations amount to harassment.