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Obama’s ‘Lying Problem’ about Firearms

It destroys his credibility in the "national conversation" about gun laws.

by
Bob Owens

Bio

April 10, 2013 - 12:40 pm

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.

The problem is that claim isn’t supported by facts, as even the Washington Post was forced to admit:

There are two key problems with the president’s use of this statistic: The numbers are about two decades old, yet he acts as if they are fresh, and he refers to “purchases” or “sales” when in fact the original report concerned “gun acquisitions” and “transactions.”  Those are much broader categories of data.

As we noted before, the White House said the figure comes from a 1997 Institute of Justice report, written by Philip Cook of Duke University and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago.

This study was based on data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act requirements for background checks came into effect. In fact, the questions concerned purchases in 1993 and 1994, and the Brady Act went into effect in early 1994 — meaning that some, if not many, of the guns were bought in a pre-Brady environment.

Digging deeper, we found that the survey sample was just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus six percentage points.

The Police Foundation report did not break out gun purchases, so in January we asked Ludwig to rerun the data, just looking at guns purchased in the secondary market. The result, depending on the definition, was 14 percent to 22 percent. That’s at least half the percentage repeatedly cited by Obama. (In a recent article for National Review, Cook and Ludwig wrote “we don’t know the current percentage — nor does anyone else.” But they say if the percentage is lower it actually strengthens the case for expanding background checks because it would be less expensive to implement.) Since our initial report on this statistic appeared, The Washington Post in February included a question on background checks on a survey of Maryland residents, asking whether they went through a background check during a gun purchase in the past 10 years. The result? Twenty-one percent say they did not.

Coincidentally or not, 21 percent falls within the 14-to-22 percent range for gun purchases without background checks in the 1994 survey.

Obama is making his claim using a statistically insignificant sample size, with data nearly 20 years old, collected under a different set of laws than those we’ve been operating under since Brady made NICS background checks the law of the land. It is irrelevant, invalid data, intentionally misrepresented as being current and relevant.

In short, the president has been caught in yet another lie attempting to support controversial firearms legislation that he would like to see passed. Barack Obama demanded a “national conversation” about gun control.

Then he filled it with lies.

Bob Owens blogs at Bob-Owens.com.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
He never had any credibility. We don't even know where he came from.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I realize that in the interest of mental discipline it's usually frowned upon to offer sweeping comments which cover a variety of issues at once(say gun control), complaints (where's MY cell phone), foibles(vacations totaling months in a ferociously bad economy), sins (Afordable HealthCare Act which is neither), atrocities (Benghazi)...you get my drift.

This article is painful to read because it is subsumed by the fact that our president is simply a liar.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He lies, because he knows it works. Most people will just believe his lies. They will not check the lies. even amongst those who know he is lying, the partisans will never reject him for it. He is never going to win over the informed opposition, anyway. He is trying to win the votes of the venal and the Low-Information-Voters. It got him re-elected. Seems to be the way that works.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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Two points: 1. Obama loves the sound of his own voice. 2, Obama is an ignorant,
self-centered egoist. 'nuff said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only thing transparent about our Government is Obama himself. His lies are so obvious as to make the man transparent. Too bad we can't see the only well-hidden part of the man, like who in the heck he is and what Country stuck us with this Liar-in-Chief
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama has had a serious lying problem when it comes to just about everything.
There I fixed your first sentence.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obammy has a lying problem. It is his universe. He learned how to lie while attending Islam school. One of their major subjects is taqiyya (lying) He is adept at it and it doesn't matter how big the wopper is. This is his life.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The 90% lie is the same as the AGW consensus lie propagated by the left. Take a small sample of a larger survey and present without context. Voila! We need to pass a LAW!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everybody loves the circus; That's why we now have Obama & his carnival and clowns entertaining the U.S.
Until The Republican Party can really show the U.S. a "party", they're peeing into the wind.
The Secret Service should be required to guard all public schools. They do such a good job protecting the president, and since they're "secret", no one would know how many, if, when, or where they are at any given school.
But, then some perp could claim that he's Secret Service to gain access; Oh, well. Nothing's perfect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lying, it's a cultural thing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Almost from the moment he walked into the Oval Office, Barack Obama has had a serious lying problem, period.

The SOB has zero credibility on anything. But The Enemy Press, AKA the Democratic Party Propaganda Organs, cover for him or repeat the lies. The Völkischer Beobachter was more balanced. Goebbels would be so proud. His Big Lie continues to work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He never had any credibility. We don't even know where he came from.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your 100% correct Walt.Why are about 50% of the US in denial about this administration????????????????Hhhhhhh!!!!!mmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Liz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here's a statistic that is correct: There have been an average of 32 gun purchases per MINUTE under Obama's reign. This has amounted to at least 70 million additional guns in American citizen's hands in a little more than four years.

Here's some advice Mr President: Ponder that statistic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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