As with most things these days, it started with a tweet. After the House passed their version of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, the former Speaker of the House (now Minority Leader), Nancy Pelosi expressed her displeasure by going on social media and informing everyone that the Republicans were once again trying to unleash drooling hordes of criminals and dungeon dwellers on the nation armed to the teeth.
Inviting violent criminals to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives
Inviting domestic abusers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives
Inviting convicted stalkers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 6, 2017
“Inviting violent criminals to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives. Inviting domestic abusers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives. Inviting convicted stalkers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives. Yet the @HouseGOP just voted to do exactly that.”
Anyone who is even marginally familiar with the legislation knows that those accusations are completely in the realm of fantasy. The bill deals with the rights of people who have qualified for a concealed carry permit through the normal legal channels, not criminals. In fact, the whole idea is to ensure that the rights of law-abiding gun owners are protected while keeping guns out of the hands of those who commit crime. Not surprisingly, the tweet received thousands of likes and positive comments from liberals who support the entire gun grabbing agenda and heaps of scorn from Second Amendment advocates.
What was truly surprising and almost gratifying was when the Washington Post’s “fact checker” Glenn Kessler received enough requests that he actually decided to put the tweet to the test. What followed was a lengthy examination of not just the tweet, but elements of both the House and Senate versions of the bill as well as input from sources on both sides of the issue. For at least digging into the question we should salute Mr. Kessler.
Unfortunately, while Pelosi’s statements were obviously off base, if you give Glenn enough paragraphs to tear something apart (at least when it’s said by a Democrat) he’ll keep tunneling until he can find a kernel of information which might be spun to lend it some validity. We’ll swing back to that in a moment.
After no less than 22 paragraphs of analysis, background and opinions, he finally rendered his verdict.
Pelosi’s tweet focuses on a possible loophole in the law and then uses inflammatory language such as “inviting.” …
We wavered between Two and Three Pinocchios but ultimately settled on Three because her last line — “the @HouseGOP just voted to do exactly that” — is so over the top and exaggerated. One can have a respectful political debate, raising the issue of a lower common denominator for concealed-weapons permits, without accusing the other side of voting to let violent criminals and stalkers have guns.
Three Pinocchios? Not bad since we’re talking about Nancy Pelosi, but note that Glenn actually says he wavered back and forth between two and three. I’m not even sure where she got the benefit of the doubt to qualify for three instead of four, say nothing of two. So where did the benefit of the doubt come from here? The full article goes into great detail about how, “in theory, under the proposed legislation, a person who was denied a permit in his home state could seek a permit from another state to carry in his or her own state.”
The problem here is that Kessler himself points out all of the categories of persons who are denied gun ownership at the federal level no matter what state law says and it covers pretty much everyone. Since Pelosi went on about violent criminals, domestic abusers and convicted stalkers and the fact check is being done on her tweet, it has to be one of those. Glenn mentions those categories in this short paragraph. (Emphasis added)
The laws can vary among states. Federal law prohibits people with felony convictions from obtaining guns, as well as persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, or by persons subject to a restraining order involving actual or threatened violence against an intimate partner. Federal domestic abuse law can prohibit current or former spouses, co-parents and current and former co-habitants from possessing guns. If a state makes a stalking crime a felony, that would also be prohibited under federal law. But some states have broader definitions of domestic violence disqualifiers, such as boyfriend or girlfriends.
Was that it? If one state doesn’t extend a “stalking” law (not including cases where there was actual or even threatened violence, which are already covered at the federal level) far enough out among acquaintances while another state does include that scenario, then a permit holder from the first state might conceivably travel through the second state? That’s what he’s hanging his hat on to consider going so far as only giving Pelosi two Pinocchios?
That’s being generous in the extreme, though I suppose we should have expected it. While it’s a scale from a different fact-checking source, this was obviously a Pants on Fire bit of mendacity on Pelosi’s part and any reasonable observer would recognize that.