The Obama campaign is back in action (did it ever end?). And just like his presidential campaign, the President is playing fast and loose with misinformation that would make the Enquirer blush as he pushes for sweeping new restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.
In his remarks on Wednesday the president paused to let the crowd cheer his call for universal background checks. He then claimed that background checks, over the last 14 years, have “kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun.” That’s nowhere near reality. We know that about 100,000 applications a year are initially rejected, but a large number of those initial denials are overturned on appeal, canceled, or are not referred for further investigation, indicating that they may be wrongly pre-judged by this president as the “wrong people.”
We also heard from the president that “as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.” This oft-repeated claim is based solely on a small survey done in the 90s, and it includes many exchanges between family members such as fathers and sons, inheritances, and sales between friends or neighbors. In addition, the same people who use the 40% figure often cite the myth that internet gun sales are bypassing background checks. The truth is that background checks are still mandatory for internet gun sales, and that the 40% figure is grossly exaggerated.
Then there’s the language the president likes to use – calling for a ban on “military style assault weapons.” Even the Washington Post – not exactly a bastion of conservatism – has raised questions about this term, explaining how the name “assault weapon” was popularized by an 80’s gun control activist, Josh Sugarmann, who said, “anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun [and] can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” Stoking fear is what Obama and Sugarmann are all about.
Finally, there’s the gun myth that hits close to me. I’ve been a family physician for more than 30 years and the president would like doctors to ask our patients about the guns they may have in their homes. Let’s be clear about this, I’m very concerned about my patients and I work to help them be safe and healthy. But being Obama’s deputy is not what doctors pledged to do when they took the Hippocratic oath.
Most of Obama’s executive orders were senseless, like the one ordering himself to hire his ATF director. Most deserved to be ignored, and some are an outright attempt to intimidate gun owners and doctors. I will stay vigilant in making sure none of them go beyond the bluster they were at this week’s “gun show” by Obama.