Fact check: The stale claim that 40 percent of gun sales lack background checks
We are faced with a conundrum here. We generally believe politicians should use the most up-to-date and relevant information available, but congressional foes of gun control have made it difficult to improve on obviously stale information.
The small sample size is also a serious problem, but again, roadblocks have made it difficult to do a more comprehensive survey.
At the same time, President Obama and the White House gun-violence plan act as if the information is fresh and relevant; it has also been repeated as current information by the news media. The Obama gun-violence plan cites “studies,” but in fact these all are merely riffs on the same, relatively small survey taken nearly two decades ago. Generally, we would rule such claims are deserving of a Pinocchio or two.
Vice President Biden, meanwhile, deserves kudos for acknowledging that the information is suspect and may not be entirely accurate. He at least frames it with some caveats, which is proper.
So, we are going to take a wait-and-see approach with this statistic.