In April 2015, web site NationalReport.net published a piece titled, “California Implements Statewide Ban On All .45 ACP Ammunition.” The piece read, in part:
The California Legislature has passed a controversial Assembly Bill that creates a ban on the future sale and ownership of all .45 ACP ammo. The bill states that the ban on the popular ammunition is in effect immediately, however does include a 60 day grace period prior to state law enforcement enforcing the ban.
Though the ban has created a clear divide among the citizens of California, it’s said to be widely supported by political figures across the state. Many politicians and citizens alike feel that that ban is a clear infringement of California citizen’s second amendment rights, however; many feel that the ban is a positive step towards much needed gun control.
NationalReport.net is a satire site. Its disclaimer page reads:
National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help, please consult a professional. National Report is not intended for children under the age of 18.
Other stories that originated from the site had titles such as,”Sarah Palin Bans Muslims from Entering Bristol Palin,” and “Adolf Hitler Tired of Being Compared to Donald Trump.”
Despite this, the hoax article continued to take in people — and sometimes entire news outlets. On 9 December 2015, the New York Times breathed new life into the piece when it published an editorial titled, “An Opening for States to Restrict Guns,” which linked to the hoax site in the following paragraph:
States and cities have passed laws restricting or banning certain types of weapons, magazines and ammunition, and prohibiting certain classes of people, like those convicted of stalking or multiple instances of drunken driving, from possessing guns. Some have also imposed universal background checks and safe-storage requirements on gun owners.