To paraphrase Samuel Johnson: media fact-checks on Barack Obama’s claims about guns may not be done entirely well … but one is surprised to find them done at all. Following Obama’s emotional press conference yesterday, both the Associated Press and the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler conducted some research into his claims and his proposals. Both of them found serious holes in Obama’s arguments.
Let’s start with the AP’s Michael Sisak, who corroborated arguments gun-rights advocates have been making ever since word began leaking out about the executive actions Obama would take:
The gun control measures a tearful President Barack Obama announced Tuesday would not have prevented the slaughters of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, or 14 county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California. …
Those measures are seen as crucial to stemming gun suicides — the cause of two-thirds of gun deaths — by blocking immediate access to weapons. But, an Associated Press review shows, they would have had no impact in keeping weapons from the hands of suspects in several of the deadliest recent mass shootings that have spurred calls for tighter gun control.
The shooters at Sandy Hook and San Bernardino used weapons bought by others, shielding them from background checks. In other cases, the shooters legally bought guns.
Sisak appends his analysis with a detailed list of mass shootings over the past three-plus years, and notes in each why the changes announced by Obama end up being non-sequiturs. The only shooting that might have been prevented by federal action should have been stopped anyway. Dylann Roof had a drug arrest on his record, which should have flagged his application to purchase a firearm, but a records screw-up allowed Roof to buy his weapon — and Obama’s proposals wouldn’t have changed that, either.
In fact, hardly anyone buys their weapons through the supposed “loophole” Obama purported to close yesterday, Liz Peek argues:
Access to guns by unfit people has almost nothing to do with the “gun show loophole,” which turns out to be another one of those convenient myths that has driven Obama policy–like the false suggestion that a goodly share of our prison population are innocent victims of overly-harsh drug laws.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama convened a group overseen by Vice President Joe Biden to study gun control issues. In a 2013 speech, the president proposed various policies meant to check such killings, including expanding background checks to private sales of firearms. He noted that any sales through federally licensed vendors require background checks to eliminate those with a criminal history or mental health issues, but also claimed, “It’s hard to enforce that law when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.”
This assertion was debunked by FactCheck, which points out that the dubious 40 percent statistic emerged from a 1994 telephone survey of only 251 individuals. The author of that study told Politifact that he has “no idea” if that number is valid; Biden takes pains when discussing the topic to say the figure may be incorrect. Other analysts cite 4% as a more accurate share of gun sales through unlicensed dealers, given that a large number of the people surveyed said they had received guns from friends or relatives.
Read more: hotair.com