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No, Eric Holder Doesn't Want To Make Gun Owners Wear 'Tracking Bracelets'

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AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

It all appears to have started with an article published Monday by The Washington Free Beacon headlined: "Holder: We Want to Explore Gun Tracking Bracelets." Fox News reprinted a portion of the article. So did WND. And InfoWars. Townhall.com blogged about it. Even the National Rifle Association, a stickler for proper terminology when describing firearms, picked up the story.

"Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday that gun tracking bracelets are something the Justice Department (DOJ) wants to 'explore' as part of its gun control efforts," Free Beacon staff writer Elizabeth Harrington wrote in her post.

Harrington's article focused on comments Holder made at a House appropriations subcommittee on Friday. Only Holder never spoke about any "gun tracking bracelets." Instead, he talked about ideas for gun safety technology including finger print identification and a bracelet that "talks to" a gun, to allow use only by the lawful owner. At the end of her article, Harrington wrote that "others" have suggested putting GPS tracking into every gun. But that part of her article didn't make it into the reprints run by Fox News and the NRA. At Townhall.com, writer Katie Pavlich fully ran away with what Harrington's headline and lead suggested.

"While the national debate about gun control has simmered, anti-gun activists are hard at work behind the scenes to come up with new ways to push their agenda," Pavlich wrote. "The most recent attempt comes from Attorney General Eric Holder, who is suggesting gun owners be tracked with smart gun bracelets tied to handguns."

The Justice Department rejected "any suggestion" that Holder supports tracking legal gun owners.

"The administration is working with the gun manufacturing industry to encourage private-sector solutions to improving firearm safety," Justice Department spokesperson Brian Fallon told TPM in an email on Tuesday. "That is what the Attorney General addressed. Any suggestion that he endorsed a proposal to physically track law-abiding gun owners is a dishonest distortion."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Townhall.com had updated its post to not that "Holder was referring to smart gun technology bracelets/watches that link up with firearms, not necessarily 'gun tracking bracelets.'" But the headline still mentions tracking gun owners.