Flanked by families who lost loved ones to mass shootings, President Barack Obama fought back tears as he announced a unilateral push to curb crimes committed with guns and called for a renewed national “sense of urgency” on the issue.
At his press conference Tuesday, Obama outlined immediate executive actions to expand existing background checks, close loopholes, and increase mental health funding to prevent “gun violence”—all without going to Congress for legislation.
But at the same time, Obama admitted that more significant gun control “won’t happen in my presidency.” He underscored what he called the need for future congressional action and said Republican lawmakers are being “held hostage by the gun lobby.”
The Daily Signal reviewed four of the president’s key points against available data:
Claim: “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.”
Obama adjusted an often made, often questioned argument that America is the only modern nation to suffer from epidemic gun violence. His current talking point is a combination of two discredited claims.
Speaking of the San Bernardino massacre, just weeks after the Nov. 13 terror attacks that left 130 dead in Paris, Obama still said “mass shootings just [don’t] happen in other countries.” That claim earned him four Pinocchios as a “whopper” of a falsehood from The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” column.
Backpedaling, the White House later said the president meant to address the frequency of shootings in the U.S. compared to other nations. Again, “Fact Checker” columnist Glenn Kessler criticized this as a likely “apples-to-oranges comparison” and gave the president two Pinocchios for “significant omissions and/or exaggerations.”
Claim: “The problem is, some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked.”
That’s not exactly factual, according to an August 2013 report by The Washington Post. Purchasing a gun online from a federal firearms license holder or a vendor across state lines does require a background check.
To avoid a background check, a buyer would have to meet with the seller in person to purchase the firearm. As the Post notes, “that would be a private sale and federal law wouldn’t require a background check.”
Several states already require their own background checks for firearms sales—some for all guns, others only for handguns. Additionally, it’s a felony to sell guns knowingly to someone with a criminal record or history of mental health problems.
Most criminals do their illegal gun shopping on the streets, not online, research shows.
A study last year by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that most criminals said they don’t get their weapons from gun shows or order them online, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Instead, they buy the guns from those close to them or other criminals.
In a survey of about 100 prisoners, the…