And Joe Biden got off easy, as our colleague and pal Cam Edwards pointed out. But it says something that PolitiFact came closer to upholding standards with Joe Biden than they did with CBS News and 60 Minutes. The lesson here is that only the media can truly get away with creating false narratives:
No, he didn’t exaggerate. He didn’t tell the truth. And that’s a fact. https://t.co/bgTlbk32Xf
— Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) April 9, 2021
As I wrote yesterday, almost everything Biden said in his speech introducing David Chipman as his nominee to run ATF was false, including the “AFT” that Biden called the agency — twice. PolitiFact focuses only on one of those falsehoods — the hoary “gun show loophole” that never existed in the first place. Democratic politicians have tried making the same claim for years if not decades, but it’s a flat-out lie:
“These bills, one, require background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at a gun show or an online sale,” Biden said at the April 8 event. “Most people don’t know it, you walk into a store and you buy a gun, you have a background check. But you go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want, and no background check.”
When it comes to background checks for gun purchases, what matters is who sells the guns, not where the guns are sold — and when a federally licensed seller is a vendor at a gun show, they have to run a background check just as they would if they were back at a bricks-and-mortar gun store.
The reason why “most people don’t know it” is because it’s completely false. White House tried to hit reverse on this claim later in the afternoon, telling PolitiFact and other media outlets that some sales without background checks take place at gun shows. “That’s not what he said,” PolitiFact rightly points out. Biden claimed that all sales at gun shows avoid background checks, which anyone with even a passing familiarity with the issue knows is utterly untrue.
That makes Biden either an idiot or a liar. PolitiFact tries to get around this by suggesting the issue might be how many sales at gun shows are between private individuals:
If you go to a gun show and buy a firearm from a federally licensed seller, you will have to pass a background check, just as if you went to a bricks-and-mortar gun store. You would only escape a background check at a gun show if you bought from a seller who isn’t federally licensed.
While the data is incomplete, federally licensed sellers have been found to make up a substantial share, and perhaps a majority, of gun show vendors.
We rate Biden’s statement Mostly False.
Even with that, though, the issue isn’t the gun show. The gun show is a non-sequitur. People can transfer and sell firearms between themselves without running background checks, whether that’s at a gun show or in their own living rooms. Commercial sellers have to run background checks on every sale, whether it takes place at a gun show, a shooting range, a sidewalk sale, or even in your own living room.
Biden wants to change the law to force private sales and transfers to comply with background-check requirements. He doesn’t want to make that argument, however, because then it would highlight just how intrusive this kind of change would be. Under his proposal and those of his allies, even loaning a pistol to a friend would require both parties to use a federally licensed dealer to handle the transaction and paying them for the costs, at least. And then the two parties would have to repeat that process when the friend wanted to return the pistol — and let’s not forget the waiting periods that might apply in those cases, too.
That’s not just insane, it’s unsellable. Rather than be honest, Biden’s using the “gun show loophole” lie as cover for policies that have nothing to do with gun shows or commercial sales. This shouldn’t get a “mostly false” rating — it’s “pants on fire” level, especially after years and years of having this particular lie debunked repeatedly by gun-rights organizations.