President Barack Obama played the role of tearful dictator on Tuesday as he unveiled his executive orders on gun control. Like most of Obama's speeches, it was filled with numerous lies, distortions, and mistruths. Here is a comprehensive list of them.
Obama's examples of mass shootings:
Five years ago this week, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last. Fort Hood. Binghamton. Aurora. Oak Creek. Newtown. The Navy Yard. Santa Barbara. Charleston. San Bernardino. Too many.
One key fact that Obama left out:
*All involved passing background checks. https://t.co/27z7RAgVHo— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) January 5, 2016
In his fact-check of Obama's speech, the Associated Press's Michael Sisak confirms this, writing: "The shooters at Sandy Hook and San Bernardino used weapons bought by others, shielding them from background checks. In other cases, the shooters legally bought guns."
On mass violence in other advanced countries:
The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people. We are not inherently more prone to violence. But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.
The Crime Research Prevention Center has the following graphics that show how false this is:
CRPC also cites this passage from The Washington Post's fact-checker, Glenn Kessler:
The best proxy for “industrialized countries” is the membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. There are currently 34 countries in the OECD, but the agency also includes Brazil and Russia in its statistical data. (The two countries have been negotiating for membership but talks have been suspended with Russia because of the Crimea crisis.)
The OECD says the average homicide rate among the 36 countries is 4.1 per 100,000 people.
According to the 2014 data, at the top of the list is Brazil, with a homicide rate 25.5, or six times the average. Next on the list is Mexico, with a homicide rate of 23.4, followed by Russia at 12.8.
Then comes a tie for fourth place—Chile and the United States both have a homicide rate of 5.2. Estonia follows close behind with a homicide rate of 4.7. . . .
IJ Review confirms the CRPC's findings.
A separate CRPC piece notes, "France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (Updated 524 to 428). Note that these numbers don’t adjust for the fact that the US has 4.9 times the population of France."
In reality, the United States does better than most industrialized countries in terms of mass violence.
On the Second Amendment:
Now, I want to be absolutely clear at the start — and I’ve said this over and over again, this also becomes routine, there is a ritual about this whole thing that I have to do — I believe in the Second Amendment. It’s there written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around — I taught constitutional law, I know a little about this — (applause) — I get it. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.
The fact that Obama referred to the Constitution as "the paper" shows how much contempt he has for it. He has mocked Second Amendment "absolutists" for being opposed to his gun control measure. In a 2001 panel, Obama said the Constitution "reflects some deep flaws in American culture" and also reflects "the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day."
Translation: Obama resents the Constitution, and doesn't care about the Second Amendment. This is further seen in the following statement:
I mean, think about it. We all believe in the First Amendment, the guarantee of free speech, but we accept that you can’t yell “fire” in a theater. We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people. We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane. It’s not because people like doing that, but we understand that that’s part of the price of living in a civilized society.
In a piece for Breitbart, The Daily Wire's editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro explained the problem with the president's "fire" argument:
The “fire in a crowded theater” language was originally coined by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Schenck v. United States, which ruled that the government could prosecute anti-war protesters for handing out flyers against the draft. It’s been repeatedly overruled. But Obama has maintained the original “fire in a crowded theater” definition, mobilizing federal resources to target the “Innocence of Muslims” filmmaker in order to blame him for Benghazi, telling the United Nations that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” blaming Charlie Hebdo for publishing anti-Islam cartoons, and the like. Obama has also run the most anti-free press administration in modern history and consistently calls for an amendment to the First Amendment to ban corporate free-speech. This is the guy we should trust on the Second Amendment?
And how about the Fourth Amendment? Obama compares gun control to metal detectors before boarding airplanes. But flying is not a Constitutional right, and the “administrative search” doctrine that allows such checks at the airport is a complete mess. Besides, Obama’s own respect for the so-called right to privacy ends with using your tax dollars to pay for abortions. The Obama administration has encroached into Fourth Amendment space in unprecedented ways, even while cheering Constitutionally-okayed “stop and frisk” policies in cities like New York. Even Obama’s new executive order falls into questionable “right to privacy” territory under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Obama has made clear that he is willing to violate the Constitution, and that includes the Second Amendment.
On the amount of support for his proposals:
A majority of gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking feud from inflicting harm on a massive scale.
Obama doubled down on this later in his speech, saying that 90 percent of Americans support his efforts to expand background checks.
A CNN poll in September showed that 59 percent disapprove of Obama's handling of gun policy, and 49 percent think that the current gun laws are "about right," while 41 percent thought the current laws made it "too easy" to get guns and 10 percent thought they made it "too difficult" to get guns. A Pew Research Center poll also found that 51 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Independents were happy that the universal background checks bill in 2013 failed in the Senate.
Obama also tried to claim that the NRA used to support expanded background checks and that a majority of its members continue to do so. But as CRPC points out, the commonly cited poll that 74 percent of NRA members support expanded background checks is false, explaining, "people were really just being asked about whether they wanted to keep criminals from getting guns, not about a particular piece of legislation," and that the questions were incredibly vague.
A majority of Americans do not agree with Obama's gun control measures.
On gun confiscation:
Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently, before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.
Except that Obama has privately said he doesn't believe anybody should own guns. CRPC explains how expanded background checks further the goal of a gun ban.
"Federally licensed dealers are required to keep records of background checks. Congress currently forbids federal collection of this information into a central database, but there’s no guarantee that this won’t change. The government could potentially figure out who legally owns a gun," CRPC writes. "When 5 or 10 years have gone by a future president could simply require that federally licensed dealers copy their 4473 forms for all these transfers and sales and turn them into the federal government and you would have an instant national registration list."
For instance, states like "California, New York, and Chicago have all used registration lists to identify who owns guns that are no longer legal."
Expanding background checks inherently increases the likelihood of a national registry, which subsequently increases the chances of gun confiscation.
On Internet sales and background checks:
A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked. A recent study found that about one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records — one out of 30 had a criminal record. We’re talking about individuals convicted of serious crimes — aggravated assault, domestic violence, robbery, illegal gun possession. People with lengthy criminal histories buying deadly weapons all too easily.
This is a big whopper. Internet gun sales actually are subjected to background checks. Radio host and author Dana Loesch writes, "When you purchase guns online they aren't shipped to your house like an Amazon delivery. They must be shipped to a FFL where you then go, fill out a 4473, get your background check, and if cleared you can take it home. Period."
CRPC explains that this falls under the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the "one out of 30" statistic Obama cites was based on data trying to determine if people have similar names to those with criminal records. Kessler gave Obama two Pinocchios for this claim on Internet sellers.
On China knife attacks:
Some of you may recall, at the same time that Sandy Hook happened, a disturbed person in China took a knife and tried to kill — with a knife — a bunch of children in China. But most of them survived because he didn’t have access to a powerful weapon.
This particular statement in and of itself is true – 22 children and an 85 year-old woman were stabbed in a Chinese elementary school that day, and fortunately they all survived. However, Obama cherry-picked this example, as there have been many knife attacks in China where numerous people have died. This includes:
- Ten men using knives to kill 29 people and injuring 130 in 2014.
- A person killing six people with a knife in 2014.
- A man stabbing 8 children to death and injuring 5 others in 2010.
It's disingenuous for Obama to imply that criminals with knives are not also capable of mass carnage. And what about other weapons, for example pipe bombs, like the ones the San Bernardino terrorists were building?
On states and background checks:
After Connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and gun safety courses, gun deaths decreased by 40 percent — 40 percent. Meanwhile, since Missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to almost 50 percent higher than the national average. One study found, unsurprisingly, that criminals in Missouri now have easier access to guns.
The 40 percent statistic in Connecticut is incredibly misleading. According to CRPC, it is true gun deaths increased by 40 percent between 1995 and 2005, but the firearm death rate was already falling at a faster rate in the two years prior to Connecticut's gun laws. In three of the four years after Connecticut's gun laws were passed, the firearm homicide rate rose relative to northeastern states. The rate also rose again relative to northeastern states in four of the next five years after 2005.
The Missouri statistic is also misleading. It appears to come from this pro-gun control fact sheet from the liberal Center for American Progress, and its data from the Centers for Disease Control, which is ironic since the CDC views firearms as a crime deterrent. But even so data from the CRPC shows that Missouri's murder rate was increasing at a higher rate in the previous five years before Missouri repealed their gun laws. Obama's cited statistics were once again clearly cherry-picked.
On background checks:
And the evidence tells us that in states that require background checks, law-abiding Americans don’t find it any harder to purchase guns whatsoever. Their guns have not been confiscated. Their rights have not been infringed.
This is false. CRPC president John Lott wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer:
For gun purchases, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives later cleared more than 94 percent of those "initial denials." As the annual National Instant Criminal Background Check System report explains, these cases were dropped either because the additional information showed that the wrong people had been stopped, or because the covered offenses were so many decades old that the government decided not to prosecute. At least a fifth of the remaining 6 percent flagged were still false positives.
These initial denials mean delays for many law-abiding gun buyers. While a mere inconvenience for most, initial denials can pose a danger to people who suddenly and legitimately need a gun for self-defense - women being stalked by an ex-boyfriend or spouse, for example.
It actually was harder then for those Americans initially denied guns to obtain a firearm, contrary to Obama's claim.
On federal funding for gun research:
When it comes to an inherently deadly weapon — nobody argues that guns are potentially deadly — weapons that kill tens of thousands of Americans every year, Congress actually voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence; made it harder to collect data and facts and develop strategies to reduce gun violence.
There is simply no evidence that the decline of federal funding into gun research resulted in any less academic research on the issue.
On the gun show loophole:
Number one, anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks, or be subject to criminal prosecutions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it over the Internet or at a gun show.
The gun show loophole does not exist, as The Daily Wire has previously reported.
On corporations and trusts:
We’re also expanding background checks to cover violent criminals who try to buy some of the most dangerous firearms by hiding behind trusts and corporations and various cutouts.
As Bob Owens of Bearing Arms explains, it is required to be a law-abiding citizen in order to be a part of those trusts. There have only been two examples in 82 years of people using a firearm illegally after acquiring it through a trust.
On accidental gun deaths:
In 2013 alone, more than 500 people lost their lives to gun accidents –- and that includes 30 children younger than five years old.
The statistic may be true, but what Obama left out is that according to CDC data, accidental gun deaths were 0.4 percent of all yearly accidental deaths. More people die from accidental drug overdoses, falling, drowning, and suffocation than guns.
Passages from Obama's speech were provided through Time magazine's transcript.