On March 12, The Washington Post (WAPO) reacted to the failed AR-15 ammo ban, which was one more gun control loss in a string of many others, by suggesting that President Obama is hurting the gun control movement with his hyperbole on gun crime statistics and America’s place in the world among gun-owning countries.
The the Post piece centers on comments Obama made to Benedict College in South Carolina on March 6–comments which epitomize his hyperbolic statements on guns.
WAPO seized on three specific statements from the that speech to show how Obama hurt the gun control lobby.
In the first of these three, Obama said: “What we also have to recognize is, is that our homicide rates are so much higher than other industrialized countries. I mean by like a mile.” This statement makes it appear like Obama was saying “the United States [has] the highest homicide rate among the industrialized world.” And the Washington Post says that claim is “factually incorrect.”
In the second of the three, Obama said: “It’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.” WAPO cried foul, saying that as far they know, “there are no areas in the United States where background checks are needed to buy vegetables.”
In the third of the three, Obama said some gun rights proponents respond to school and public shootings by saying “we should have firearms in kindergarten and machine guns in bars.” Obama added, “[If] you think I’m exaggerating–I mean, you look at some of the laws that come up.”
The Post spoke to States United to Prevent Gun Violence’s Cathie Whittenburg on this one, and while she provided Obama a degree of cover on the claim that gun rights groups want to arm teachers for children’s safety, she said the machine guns-in-bars claim is an “exaggeration.”
The Washington Post surmises: “The president is playing fast and loose with his language here…[But] the gun debate is serious enough that it should not be poisoned by exaggerated claims and faux statistics.”
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