by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There were so many lies in Vice President Kamala Harris’ and President Joe Biden’s presentations on guns Thursday that it is hard to know where to start. One thing is certain, though: The media fact-checkers won’t question their claims. Here are just a few of the false ones:
The background check system “has kept more than 3 million firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.”
Since the Brady background checks began in 1994, there have been 3.5 million initial denials. However, it is one thing to stop a felon from buying a gun. It is quite another to stop a law-abiding citizen from buying a gun just because his or her name is similar to a felon’s. In 2017, for example, there were 112,000 initial denials for supposedly attempted prohibited purchases, but just 12 federal prosecutions by June 2018. The reason is that these weren’t real cases.
The background check system is a mess, with the mistakes primarily born by minorities through no fault of their own. The error rate for black males is three times their share of the population.
The Charleston loophole
Biden says that if there had only been more than three days to check Dylann Roof’s background, Roof would have been stopped from buying a gun, thereby preventing the horrible Charleston, S.C., church shooting. But that is a lie. You can’t buy a gun if you have a felony or certain misdemeanor convictions, or if you are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime with a possible prison sentence of at least one year. Since Roof’s arrest was for a misdemeanor drug offense, which had a maximum possible sentence of six months, a longer waiting period would not have blocked his gun purchase.