NBC Article On Guns Fails A Basic Fact Check

Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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NBC News published a piece on firearms Friday that fails even the most basic of fact checks.

Kevin Janson Neal, the California gunman who killed five people after a domestic dispute this week, used two handmade semi-automatic rifles and two handguns that were not registered in his name.

The handmade rifles were the subject of the NBC article written by  and 

The writers then incorrectly claimed that there is a “legal loophole” that allows people to own illegal guns as long as they are assembled at home.

“Experts say Neal apparently exploited a legal loophole that enabled him to get around California’s tough gun laws by ordering the parts for a weapon that is illegal in that state — and putting it together at home,” they state.

However, their cited “expert” immediately contradicts their own claim, as he explains that you can only legally assemble guns that are not restricted in the state.

“‘As long as it’s not restricted in the state of their residence and the person is not prohibited, anyone can manufacture a sporting firearm for person use,’ Rick Vasquez, a retired technical expert with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” told the writers.

The writers and Vasquez then claim that self-assembled firearms are not required to have a serial number, despite a California law that requires citizens to apply for a serial number before assembling a homemade firearm.

The next folly comes when the writers assert that Neal was not prohibited from owning a firearm, writing, “Despite being out of bail for stabbing a neighbor in January, the 44-year-old shooter was not barred from owning a weapon, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said on Wednesday.”

However, reporting by the Associated Press indicates that the judge in the stabbing case issued a protective order that prohibited Neal from owning firearms. (RELATED: Report: CA Shooter Not Allowed To Have Guns)

NBC also claims “Neal also owned two handguns,” even though Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston already said that the two handguns were registered to other people, making it illegal for Neal to have them.

So there you have it, one of the most factually incorrect gun articles we’ve ever seen.

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