North Carolina has been a hotbed of protests, riots, and media attention since police shot a black man named Keith Scott.
Since his shooting, people have debated the legitimacy of the police action. Video shows Scott backing up, with hands at his side when the shots ring out, and he goes down. The video does not show Scott raising a weapon nor, however, does it show his right hand. During the video you can clearly hear police showing for Scott to drop his gun.
It was later shown that Scott did have a gun on him, as well as marijuana. Originally, the police knew about the marijuana but chose to ignore it as they were there for a much more pressing reason. Only when Scott brandished his gun in his car did they decide to move in on him for safety reasons. It was even confirmed by Scott’s wife that he carried a black 9mm with him in a restraining order she filed against him.
CNN gave a breakdown of the event, and all events since. However, in their reporting, CNN made an odd mischaracterization of North Carolina’s gun laws, almost to the point of shoehorning it in.
Officers decided to approach Scott after Officer Brentley Vinson saw Scott hold up a gun up while in his SUV, police have said.
North Carolina is an open-carry state, meaning gun owners can carry their firearms in public and openly in their vehicles.
As Sean Davis points out at the Federalist, this is absolutely ludicrous, and it’s clear that CNN has very little idea as to what they’re talking about. “Open carry” does not mean you can have your gun in hand, out of its holster, waving it around. As Davis points out, this is called “brandishing,” and this action is to legally be taken as a threatening state. Furthermore, Scott wasn’t allowed to have a gun as he was a convicted felon. CNN details none of this, choosing only to mischaracterize North Carolinas gun laws, and the concept of open carry. Davis wraps it up nicely for us.
Rather than lawfully open carrying, as CNN implies Scott was doing, Scott was actually a felon (legally banned from gun possession) under the influence of drugs (which also legally bans an individual from gun possession) who was carrying a concealed weapon (which is banned for non-permit holders) which he then brandished (also illegal) and which he then refused to surrender to police (also illegal).
It would be extremely difficult for Scott to have simultaneously violated any more gun laws than he did. Police saw him smoking marijuana and decided to give him a pass on his apparent penchant for weed since they were focused on more important matters. It wasn’t until Scott, by openly using illegal drugs while in possession of a firearm, left police no choice but to confront him. Yet CNN didn’t just refuse to provide that information, its reporters went out of their way to mischaracterize North Carolina’s gun laws. Its readers deserve better than lies and half-truths about what happened in Charlotte.
I’m not exactly sure what CNN, who clearly had all the facts in front of them, were trying to do by addressing open carry the way they did. Either the reporting author is ignorant of said gun laws, or intentionally looped in North Carolina’s open carry law – which Scott completely broke in more ways than one – to paint it as unwholesome.
At a time when racial tensions are at a height, and groups are looking for reason to riot and destroy, this kind of misleading information is not at all helpful.