Fox News Host Describes the AR-15 Rifle as 'So Safe' While Reporting on America's Latest School Shooting

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Fox News host Laura Ingraham spent her show last night talking about the horrific shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead. But she devoted six full minutes of her program to just how “safe” the AR-15 assault rifle is. Seriously.


Ingraham, complete with an Ash Wednesday cross on her forehead, talked with her guest Aaron Cohen about how guns are “very dangerous in the hands of the wrong person,” but said that guns like the AR-15 are actually very “safe.”

“You have a less likelihood of sporadic fire or hitting innocent people if you’re using it for home defense because it shoots really straight,” Cohen said of the AR-15, extolling the features of the weapon.

“So it’s actually a very safe weapon, it’s easier to shoot than a pistol,” Cohen continued.

The AR-15 is the same rifle that was used in yesterday’s shootings in Florida, not to mention the shootings in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 (12 dead, 70 injured), Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 (20 children between the ages of 6 and 7-years-old dead, 6 adults dead), San Bernardino, California in 2015 (14 dead, 22 seriously wounded), Sutherland Springs, Texas (26 dead, 20 injured) and Las Vegas (58 dead, 851 injured).

“It didn’t take him long to go right to gun control,” Ingraham said after airing a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Murphy correctly pointed out on the US Senate floor yesterday that these shootings simply don’t happen in countries where guns are tightly regulated.

But Ingraham would have you believe that any restrictions on the sale of the AR-15 in America would be silly, because the gun is so wonderful.

“If you’re not trained, and if you have a criminal disposition—a violent disposition—it can be turned into a killing machine. But [Senator] Chris Murphy wants to make it all about the weapons,” Ingraham said.


To say that the AR-15 can “be turned into” a killing machine is wholly disingenuous. The AR-15 is a killing machine. That’s literally what it is designed and manufactured to do, kill people. But she and her guest kept insisting during the nauseating segment that it’s ultimately a perfectly safe thing for Americans to keep in their homes.

“There is a mental health epidemic here, which is being confused for a gun problem,” Cohen said on Fox News with a straight face.


“Where are the parents?” Cohen asked, presumably about the parents of the alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz.


You can watch the entire Fox News segment on YouTube if you have the stomach for it right now.

If it feels like we’ve been here all before, that’s because we have. It’s hard not to feel hopeless as this happens over and over again. And it’s hard not to get angry at people like Ingraham who go on TV to assure you that it’s not about the guns, it’s about this abstract notion of “mental health.”


The rest of the world has plenty of people with mental health problems. But no other country watches their children regularly slaughtered by guns on TV the way that America does.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog


I can’t stand the fascination around the AR-15 for two major reasons: First, the AR-15 is only different from your average hunting rifle in that it has a plastic body that makes it look like a military rifle (m-16 or m-4). Secondly, any legislation that’s aimed at taking a weapon off the market who’s primary reason for success is that it’s “cool” will be ineffective. This is the equivalent of a bunch of people shouting about iPhones because they’re more likely to be used to call in bomb threats, ignoring that Android phones are just as capable. Its security theater, and nothing more to scapegoat the ar-15, it won’t change anything.

Also, guns are the tools, people are the problem. There are plenty of countries with more guns and less problems, and plenty of countries with no guns and more problems (England for one). No one decides to shoot up a school because they have handy access to a gun; they decide to cause mayhem and the gun is the easiest thing to reach for. We live in a dangerous world, bombs are easy to make and most people have a 2 ton killing machine in the driveway, removing guns alone will not solve anything. Conservatives are usually the last ones to talk about health issues, but if refocusing on the root issue here is more comfortable because it’s not going to take away guns then I say we need to seize the moment.