One of the original designers of the AR-15 has accused HBO of deceptively editing a recent interview he gave on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”
In the episode, titled “AR15: Modern Sporting Rifle,” correspondent David Scott interviewed Jim Sullivan, one of the original designers of the M-16, which fires in semi-automatic and full-automatic modes, and its civilian counterpart, the semi-automatic AR-15, The Federalist reported.
“The anti-gun HBO sports interview misrepresented much of what I had said,” Mr. Sullivan wrote Tuesday for The Federalist. “They were apparently trying to make the AR-15 civilian model seem too dangerous for civilian sales. They didn’t lie about what I said; they just omitted key parts, which changed the meaning.
“When I appear to say that the civilian-model AR-15 is just as effective or deadly as the military M16, they omitted that I had said ‘When firing semi-auto only’ and that ‘the select fire M16 on full auto is of course more effective,’” he wrote.
“That doesn’t mean I’m not pleased to see AR-15s sell on the civilian market. It just means I didn’t realize they would 57 years ago,” he said.
Mr. Sullivan also criticized the interviewer for “pretending” to not understand the difference between hunting rounds and military rounds.
His editorial was written after pro-gun blogs criticized his interview.
HBO spokesman Ray Stallone said in a statement that Real Sports “fairly and accurately represented Mr. Sullivan’s interview.”
“Mr. Sullivan says that we ‘omitted key parts’ of his comments on the lethality of the civilian AR-15 as compared to that of the fully-automatic military version. That claim is untrue,” Mr. Stallone said.
According to a transcript provided by HBO, Mr. Scott asked Mr. Sullivan, “The lethality of the AR-15, is— is that reduced in the civilian semi-automatic mode?”
“No. … Same effectiveness,” Mr. Sullivan replied. “I mean— in fact, the— the gun is functioning exactly the way— the military model is— in semi-automatic.”
HBO’s statement added, “Mr. Sullivan’s comments in the interview were in line with those he had made in phone conversations with HBO producers in the weeks prior to the on-camera interview.”
The controversy comes amid backlash over a statement
Monday by Katie Couric, Mr. Gumbel’s former “Today” show co-anchor, in which she acknowledged she didn’t “vigorously” protest misleading edits made to an interview between her and gun rights activists in her recent Epix documentary “Under the Gun.”