Bernie is still the presumptive leader in the 2020 Democratic Presidential sweepstakes, right? No wonder Democrats are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Senator Sanders said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last week that “We have to end the absurdity of the gun show loophole. Forty percent of the guns in this country are sold without any background checks.”
This is a fake stat that has been disproved many times. Obama used it. As always happens, the anti-gun advocates simply won’t play fair and try to win this policy debate using facts and reason. They always default to emotionalism, fear-mongering, dishonest journalism (I’ll be writing about CNN’s disastrous “town meeting” later), lies, distortions, and fake statistics. When the emotional rush of the particular tragedy is over, and non-substantive cries like “Never again!”, “Your right to own a gun shouldn’t trump a child’s right to live!”, “Do something!” and “Kill the NRA!” lose their power to persuade people no longer in grade school, sufficient numbers of citizens stop and think, “You know what? We can’t trust these people! They lie.”
And so they do.
As some wags have said today, when the Washington Post can’t even resist pointing out that your anti-gun claims are nonsense, you’re really in trouble.
Glenn Kessler, the Post’s Factchecker, made short work of Bernie, hitting him with four Pinocchios and calling his “gun show loophole” a “zombie claim, false facts that keep getting repeated, no matter how often we fact-check them.”
We thought we had long ago buried this false claim that 40 percent of guns are sold without a background check. But it has once again risen from the dead!
Why is this? It happens because when it comes to guns, the Left slips into its increasingly comfortable “the ends justify the means” mentality.
President Barack Obama began using it in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. We were surprised to learn that the 40 percent statistic was based on one relatively small telephone survey of 251 people about guns they obtained in 1993 and 1994, even though the Brady Law mandating background checks only went into effect in early 1994. (The survey did not even directly ask about background checks.)
So, by 2013, it was already rather stale.
The analysis concluded that 35.7 percent of respondents indicated that they did not receive their guns from a licensed firearms dealer. Rounding up gets you to 40 percent, although the survey sample is so small it could also be rounded down to 30 percent.
The original report carefully used terms such as “acquisitions” and “transactions,” which included trades, gifts and the like. This subtlety is lost on many politicians, such as Sanders, who referred to weapons that are “sold.” But it’s an important detail because many of the people who obtained a gun without a background check either received it as a gift or inherited it.
Why is it important to make a distinction between purchases and transactions? For one thing, the failed 2013 Senate compromise bill that would have required background checks for gun shows and Internet sales specifically made an exception for gifts (and even sales) among family members and neighbors. Including the data on such transactions can change the results.
Upon further investigation of the 1993-1994 research, including rerunning the numbers to better distinguish between gun purchases and gifts, we learned that gun purchases without background checks amounted to 14 to 22 percent….
But Sanders now has even less of an excuse than Obama. That’s because in 2017, researchers at Harvard University and Northeastern University finally published a new study, based on an online survey of 1,613 gun owners in 2015 — and they found that 22 percent of gun owners who reported obtaining a firearm in the previous two years did so without a background check. That’s almost half the percentage of the old figure.
Moreover, among purchased firearms, the figure was 13 percent. That’s one-third of Sanders’s 40 percent claim. Once again, nonpurchased firearms (such as those acquired via a gift or inheritance) accounted for a large share of the weapons obtained without a background check.
Though Sanders referred to the “gun show loophole,” not a single person surveyed said they obtained a weapon at a gun show without a background check.
(That’s my emphasis, not Glenn’s.)
I was going to let this issue go, since the Post’s slamming of Bernie—they don’t want him running either—is getting a fair amount of notice. Then came Sanders spokespersons response, which was pure Ted Lieu.
“Senator Sanders on Meet the Press provided the best information he had at the time,” Sanders spokesman Josh Miller-LewisMiller-Lewis said. “It appears the number he cited may be outdated. But whether it’s 40 percent or 22 percent of guns being acquired without a background check, millions of Americans still obtain guns without background checks. That’s absurd. No one should be allowed to purchase a gun without a vigorous background check.”
This is a great, if hilarious, spin job. Kessler just explained that there was information available with more accurate numbers than a four year-old fake stat. If Bernie said that the sun revolved around the Earth, would “that was the best information he had at the time” be a reasonable explanation? If you haven’t checked your facts, 1) Don’t broadcast them and mislead people, and 2) Don’t get indignant over them, because you look like an incompetent fool.
Then we have “It appears the number he cited may be outdated.” No, the number he cited WAS outdated. This is equivocation. There’s no dispute. It was a bad stat.
Finally, we get the Lieu approach in lieu of honesty and an apology. Hey, it doesn’t matter that we use inflated statistics! Guns bad! That’s all that matters!
What matters is that we know Bernie will lie to us in order to gains support for his agenda, and so will anti-gun advocates. Thanks for the reminder.
Facts: Washington Free Beacon