NRA News host Cam Edwards issued a correction the day after after Breitbart.com's A.W.R. Hawkins claimed on his show that the mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard “happened because Bill Clinton mandated that” military bases “be gun-free zones.” In truth, the policy cited by Hawkins to support this claim allows guns to be carried on military bases under a substantial number of circumstances and was actually enacted during the George H.W. Bush administration.
The myth that a Clinton-era policy was responsible for the shooting, which claimed the lives of 12 victims, was the centerpiece of right-wing media's failed attempt to establish that the Navy Yard shooting took place in a “gun-free zone.”
Edwards issued a correction during his September 18 broadcast, citing a Media Matters blog that addressed Hawkins' claim, during a segment with Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller. After Edwards acknowledged that the policy was enacted under George H.W. Bush, Miller said, “Then I've written that wrong too,” and she added, “Are you sure that's correct before I change it too? ... Because I don't believe anything Media Matters says.”
Hawkins' claim in a Breitbart.com article about the supposed Clinton-era policy originated from a 2009 Washington Times editorial that falsely stated, “Among President Clinton's first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases.” Miller promoted that editorial on September 17 on Twitter.
After Edwards issued the correction, Miller attempted to downplay the importance of whether Clinton disarmed members of the military, suggesting that Hawkins' claim was inconsequential to the “public's knowledge of the issues.” In reality, Miller was just one of many right-wing media figures who seized on Hawkins' false claims to politicize the mass shooting in its immediate aftermath.
From Cam & Company on NRA News:
EDWARDS: We've seen a lot of inaccuracies in reporting, and by the way I will own up to one that Media Matters called me out on. We had A.W.R. Hawkins on the program the other day talking about the directive, the [Department of Defense] directive that prevents military members from carrying side arms. Said it was from Bill Clinton. It was not. It was enacted in the George H.W. Bush administration. It was renewed in 2011.
MILLER: It was? Then I've written that wrong as well too.
EDWARDS: So we should correct the record. I think we've corrected the record on our Twitter feed but I hadn't done it on the show. That's, that's my--
MILLER: Are you sure that's correct before I change it too?
EDWARDS: That's what The Blaze had reported.
MILLER: I was going to say, because I don't believe anything Media Matters says.
EDWARDS: No, the directive was done in 1992, but I believe it was done before -- it was done during '92 so we think of Clinton, but it was still George H.W. Bush. And then it was renewed in 2011 during the Obama administration, but there you go.
EDWARDS: So, anyway, that's what I got wrong.
MILLER: Now here's the other thing, that's really huge [laughter] that really affects the public's knowledge of the issues and what happened on Monday. I'm being sarcastic.
EDWARDS: I know, I know. No, but I'll admit to what I got wrong.