Television Shows Misrepresenting Facts: The Rookie, the continued obsession w/ criminals using machine guns

1 Feb , 2020   Video

ABC’s The Rookie is hardly unique in constantly showing criminals using machine guns, but it is a little amazing that the criminals seem to be using nothing but. These clips are from this season (Season 2, E7 November 10, 2019), but we just recently became aware of this episode.

On TV shows, machine guns always seem to be the weapons of choice for bad guys when they get in shootouts with police. Some hyperbole is to be expected on television, but the level of exaggeration has become pretty over-the-top. In real life, criminals use machine guns so rarely that a 2016 survey of prison inmates only broke down the numbers for uses of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The survey did not even mention fully automatic weapons. Since 1934, there are only two known uses of a machine gun being used in a murder. Machine guns were very rare even before 1934.

The first five segments here are from ABC’s The Rookie, one episode from NBC’s Chicago PD, and two episodes from CBS’s Magnum PI. Police are the targets in all but one of the below episodes from the 2018-19 Season (the single exception is the first episode of Magnum PI). This list is probably very far from exhaustive.

Where do these television show writers think that the criminals are obtaining all these machine guns? Certainly not at your local gun store.

The Rookie (Season1): E2, E4, E9, E17, E20

Magnum PI (Season 1): E1, E15

Chicago P.D. (Season 6): E14

We haven’t been keeping close track of the current season, but other recent examples from this month include:

CBS’ SWAT (Season 3): E11 January 15 2020

CBS’ FBI (Season 2): E12 January 14, 2020)

Fox’s The Deputy (Season 1): E1 January 2, 2020

Other examples of television media bias include.

The Rookie (Season 2): E7 November 10, 2019

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3 Responses

  1. I am an appellate lawyer taking cases to the Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. My personal experience with the cases I work tells me that the possession and use of fully automatic machine pistols is common in Puerto Rico among criminals–not to outgun police, but to shoot each other. The most common is a .40 S&W, Glock Model 22 converted to full auto by installation of a homemade “chip” to defeat the disconnection function on the pistol. High capacity magazines are commonly used with the pistol. I am told that the price on the black market ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. There have been a considerable number of murders in Puerto Rico reported in the press with full auto machine pistols.

    The other common modality is use of full auto AK-47s and AR type rifles. More than 100 were stolen from the Puerto Rico Police armory a few years ago. Most have not been recovered.

    This comment is simply for your information.

  2. Max Dane says:

    Having owned and fired fully automatic weapons, including an authentic Soviet Army AKM, successor to the AK-47, and the original MAC-10, those weapons are terrible. As used on television and by most people who are not trained, they are useless for anything except burning ammunition. They are most valuable for making people keep their heads down. It’s no accident that the AK is designed so the selector goes to semi automatic, then has to be moved back to full auto. It’s significant that on television the weapons also never run out of ammunition.

  3. Harold Littell says:

    I own five legal machine guns and have shot many, many more. I also shoot in sub machine gun matches. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you won’t hit anything. Look at the North Hollywood Bank shoot out in 1996. They had gone to Mexico and bought two AKMs, (Chinese Type 56), and a HK G-3, (Mexican army prop maked). All on the black market. They fired 3500 rds. Hit 20 people. 13 were treated and released o the scene. 5 that went to the hospital were released by that evening. Only two spent any time in the hospital, but made a full recovery. And the picture above? HK 416-Mk 18 with the front site missing and the rear site on backwards.

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