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Prosecutors have charged Andrew Warrender, 32, (pictured) with attempted murder, two counts of assault with the use of a deadly weapon, and illegally discharging a gun at Turnberry Towers. (Photo: screenshot from footage provided by Las Vegas Locally)

OPINION: Drop the Double Standard For Gun-Related Media Coverage

Las Vegas narrowly avoided another mass shooting, but it’s possible you didn’t hear about it

By Katie Pointer-Baney, July 18, 2023 12:02 pm

Las Vegas is no stranger to acts of extreme violence. The city endured our country’s deadliest shooting in history in 2017 when a deranged man opened fire on innocent concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Las Vegas is also not immune from future threats, which was made clear a few weeks ago when the city narrowly avoided another mass shooting. But it’s possible you didn’t even even hear about it, and that’s because an armed civilian stopped the gunman before he could hurt anyone.

Unfortunately, a harmful double standard in media coverage is why stories like this don’t reach the headlines. In this case, reporting on a thwarted mass shooter in Las Vegas was delayed, underwhelming and factually confusing.

On Friday, June 23, a brief news report told Vegas residents that an “isolated incident” occurred between two people at Turnberry Towers, a luxury condo building near the Las Vegas strip. One person was shot and sent to the hospital. To most, such an incident might only be worth the single article mention. However, the situation was far more dire than originally portrayed. Amy Swearer, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, highlighted this reality in a helpful Twitter thread.

The full picture of the incident is that an armed civilian stopped a would-be mass shooter, who walked into the condo building and fired shots toward the front desk. The assailant was wearing a helmet and tactical gear, firing an “AR-15 style rifle” into glass doors in his efforts to enter the premises. When the shooter’s gun jammed, an armed civilian jumped into action.

Surely a bystander thwarting a potential mass shooter should gain rapid national media attention, but that wasn’t the case. Despite video evidence, the incident barely received any media coverage in the days immediately following, with scant local reporting and no national coverage outside of Ms. Swearer’s insightful thread. And in subsequent reports, there were conflicting details of who the heroic bystander was.

Turnberry Towers in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Flickr)

Ask yourself: why did this story of a responsibly armed citizen stopping someone who demonstrated all the hallmarks of a mass shooter hardly receive any media attention? If the assailant had killed innocent people, it would have garnered national attention and led to scores of people calling for stricter gun laws. Fortunately for everyone involved (other than the suspect himself), a concealed carry permit holder was there.

The media should be highlighting brave individuals who step up to save lives when it counts.

This double standard is an unfortunate reality when it comes to gun-related news coverage. The use of a firearm in a self-defense situation occurs very often – more than 400 times so far this year – but this fact is rarely given national media attention. The American people should be reliably informed about how responsibly armed, law-abiding citizens frequently protect their communities, not kept in the dark.

It took nearly two weeks for the full truth of this story to come to light. The man who thwarted the assailant and likely saved lives was both a security guard and an employee in the building’s receiving department. He was not required to carry a firearm as part of his job, but did so for the same reason countless Americans carry a concealed firearm – to protect themselves and others.

The bottom line is that concealed carry saves lives.

When the police aren’t present, a responsibly armed citizen has a better chance than anyone of protecting people in the face of imminent violence. That’s why it’s critical that we empower more, not fewer, law-abiding citizens to carry. There’s positive momentum for this building across the country, with a majority of states now recognizing the inherent right to self-defense through ‘constitutional carry’ laws,which remove restrictions for lawful gun owners to carry in public. But if not for the dearth in media coverage of armed citizens saving lives, it’s possible that even more states would be enacting such laws.

Important stories of responsibly armed heroes fall through the cracks almost daily. There’s no debating that the incident at Turnberry Towers would have unfolded very differently had the armed employee not been present. If a mass shooting had occurred, it would’ve received a lot more attention. It’s long past time for the media to abandon this double standard and not shy away from reporting stories that clearly demonstrate how concealed carry saves lives.


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Katie Pointer-Baney
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One thought on “OPINION: Drop the Double Standard For Gun-Related Media Coverage

  1. Hooks Lounge shooter . 82 prior arrests, 9 felony convictions, got 26 months. (12 wounded – 1 killed.).

    Gun violence only exists when the politics is right.

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