The Conversation

Three Pinocchios for Obama on gun background check statement

Apparently President Obama played Fast & Loose with the facts when he stated on March 28, 2013 in the East Room...

"Why wouldn’t we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun?  Why wouldn’t we want to close the loophole that allows as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases to take place without a background check?  [emphasis added] Why wouldn’t we do that?"

Even the Washington Post couldn't back him up on this one in this morning's Fact Checker - Obama’s continued use of the claim that 40 percent of gun sales lack background checks 

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.

Read the full article in the Washington Post and arm yourself with facts against the barrage of the left's talking points on gun control.

Glenn Kessler writes in The Pinocchio Test conclusion...

Two months ago, we were willing to cut the White House some slack, given the paucity of recent data. But the president’s failure to acknowledge the significant questions about these old data, or the slippery phrasing, leaves us little choice but to downgrade this claim to Three Pinocchios.



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