Almost from the moment he walked into the Oval Office, Barack Obama has had a serious lying problem when it comes to firearms.
The 44th president has a near pathological predilection for using defective, invalid, and flat-out dishonest statistics in his quest to restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens, a fact first pointed out here at PJ Media in the summer of 2009.
At that time, the president, then-Secretary of State of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder were heavily invested in promoting the deceptive theory that the supermajority of firearms being used by Mexican drug cartels were being purchased at gun stores in the United States and shipped over the border. The facts, however, didn’t come close to supporting the administration’s preposterous claim.
The automatic weapons being used by cartel gunmen and recovered at crime scenes — selective-fire AK-pattern assault rifles, M16 and M4 selective-fire assault rifles, hand grenades, 40mm grenade launchers, and more than a few heavy machine guns — are heavily regulated in the United States, and have been since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934.
Purchasing such firearms requires extensive and in-depth background checks, registration, finger-printing, a $200 tax stamp, and other onerous regulations. This has kept the number of these so-called “NFA” weapons to just roughly 250,000 in the United States. The Hughes Amendment tacked on to a federal bill in the mid 1980s means that no new NFA selective-fire weapons or machine guns have been released to the qualified general public for 27 years. The result is that these firearms are now cost-prohibitive collectors’ items, costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The president was attempting to sell the absurd claim that a civilian M16 worth $20,000 was being used once and discarded, when the firearms recovered were those stolen or sold by corrupt Mexican officials to the cartels, along with AK-47 and AKM assault rifles that can be picked up around the world for as low as $25 and moved in the same smuggling routes used by the cartels to move their drugs.
The 90-percent lie was gutted by officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in sworn testimony before Congress.
The myth that legal guns sales in the United States are responsible for Mexican drug cartel violence took another serious blow last week when an ATF official testified in Congress that only eight percent of weapons recovered in Mexico came through licensed U.S. gun dealers.
This figure is far lower than the 90 percent claim made previously as an appeal to reinstate ineffective gun laws that expired in 2004. The claim — still active among the less informed or serially dishonest — officially became myth during congressional testimony last week when Bill McMahon, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, revealed the eight percent figure, how it was calculated, and where the 90 percent myth arose from.
Of the 100,000 weapons recovered by Mexican authorities, only 18,000 were determined to have been manufactured, sold, or imported from the United States, and of those 18,000, just 7,900 came from sales by licensed gun dealers.
Despite being called out on these lies, both the administration and the mainstream media continued to propagate the 90-percent lie, apparently attempting to embed the false statistics in the public consciousness. It was only later that we discovered that this lie was being sold by the Obama administration at the same time as Operation Fast and Furious was smuggling more than 2,500 firearms to drug cartels.
The same Obama administration dynamic that created the 90-percent lie is repeating in what is easily titled the “40-percent lie,” a false claim made by the president that 40 percent of the gun transfers in the nation are conducted without a background check. The president and many members of the mainstream media have uncritically repeated this claim to bolster support for the Senate’s attempt to pass a law for universal background checks that the National Rifle Association views as a gun-registration scheme.