On January 8 the Associated Press fact checked President Obama’s claim about the ATF and background checks, as well as his claims about the ATF’s budget during the last seven years, and the AP found that Obama’s claims were wrong.
The AP specifically looked at statements Obama made at the CNN gun control town hall on Thursday night.
For example, the AP notes that Obama said the ATF is “a law enforcement agency working under the FBI that is doing enormous work in going after criminals and drug cartels, and have a pretty dangerous job, so it’s not as if doing background checks or auditing gun sales is all that they’re doing.”
But the reality is that the ATF “is actually a component of the Justice Department whose top official reports to the attorney general, just like the FBI.” Additionally, Obama was wrong in stating that the ATF does background checks. Those chose are “conducted by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System” (NICS), by which individual FBI reviewers associated with NICS look into the criminal history of each would-be purchaser.
The AP also noted that Obama tried to blame the lack of law enforcement for gun crimes on Republicans. He suggested they had cut the budget for the ATF during his presidency, but according to the AP:
The ATF budget has actually grown slightly under Obama. In 2008, before he took office, the agency had a budget of just under $1 billion. Since then, the administration has requested about $1.1 billion annually, and Congress has generally approved it. The lone exception was 2013, when the president asked for $1.15 billion and Congress trimmed that to $1.07 billion.
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