CNN anchor Don Lemon experienced what many have deemed very embarrassing moment on-air earlier this week. While discussing the Ferguson riots, the Michael Brown shooting, and police militarization, Lemon said that he once bought an automatic weapon in just 20 minutes.
As many gun owners and Second Amendment activists already know, the sale of automatic weapons in the United States is strictly regulated and involves quite a bit of paperwork and approvals – to say the least. Don Lemon was having the guns discussion with conservative radio show host Ben Ferguson.
After Lemon claimed that an automatic weapon is extremely easy to get your hands on, Ben Ferguson had this to say:
“The gun law says that you and I can’t just go out and buy an automatic weapon, so let’s deal with the facts here. A semi-automatic weapon is a gun that you and I are allowed to own, and in different places they have different rules. But to imply that anyone can walk out and buy an automatic weapon is just not true, Don.”
The CNN anchor was still not entirely grasping the difference between an automatic rifle and a semi-automatic rifle, such as the extremely popular AR-15. Lemon went on to say that after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, he did indeed quickly and easily but an automatic weapon. “I have maybe shot a gun three, four times in my life. I don’t even live in Colorado. I think most people can go out and buy an automatic weapon. I don’t understand your argument there. It took me 20 minutes,” Don Lemon added.
Ben Ferguson appeared to sense that the CNN host did not fully understand the difference between the two different styles of rifles. The conservative radio show host asked Lemon to define “automatic weapon” for him and the viewers. Lemon said, “For me, an automatic weapon is anything that you can shoot off a number of rounds very quickly. I was able to buy an AR-15 in 20 minutes.”
The fog of confusion on the issue suddenly became clear, at least for Ferguson. “With all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. An automatic weapon is when you pull the trigger one time and in continually shoots off one after another, after another,” the radio host informed. Ferguson was kind enough to not sarcastically point out that there is no “for me …” when it comes to the classification of guns to begin with. Uncle Sam has very specific guidelines for such things.
Don Lemon stuck to his assertion about an AR-15 being an automatic rifle and not a semi-automatic rifle, even though the learned gun owner was attempting to politely educate the admitted weapons novice. The CNN host actually accused Ferguson of “getting into semantics” about how automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons are categorized.
Lemon: “Let me finish Ben. But listen. I think you are getting into semantics. Regardless of what you want to call it, an automatic or a semi-automatic weapon.”
Ferguson: “It’s a big deal. It’s the difference between breaking the law and not breaking the law.”
Don Lemon ultimately finished his thought after the radio show host sat quietly in what appeared total disbelief of the entire conversation. The CNN host said that the AR-15 he bought could shoot “several rounds very quickly” and also had the “capacity to harm someone’s life in an instant” – presumably statements were used to bolster either the claim that the rifle is an automatic weapon or that the differences between the two types of rifles are simply “semantics.”
What do you think about the Don Lemon CNN segment about automatic weapons during the Ferguson riots?
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