One of the most stubbornly persistent statistical lies in the gun rights/"gun control" debate has been that "90% of guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes are from the U.S.," although the specific percentage tends to vary a bit. National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea may have been the first to note that this little talking point was based on a March, 2009 statement by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who actually said that 90% of the recovered guns submitted to the BATFE and successfully traced (which even gun ban fanatic John Kerry said was only 25% of those recovered at Mexican crime scenes) were from the U.S.--a very different proposition.
Eventually, this essential point became sufficiently widely known (no thanks to the mass media) that the supposed percentage kept getting lower, and when challenges to even the lower figures made even those claims untenable, the people making them suddenly said that actual percentages were a "red herring," and beside the point. This, of course, ignores the fact that the "red herring" was their claim, and that they would certainly have never stopped shouting it from the rooftops as a vitally important fundamental truth had it not been so thoroughly debunked.
These days, the "90%" figure (or 80%, or whatever they think they can get away with) isn't seen so much. The percentage we are now hit over the head with day after day is "40%." Specifically, "40% of gun sales proceed without a background check." Just this week, we heard this claim from the Brady Campaign;
Forty percent of gun sales today still do not require a Brady background check.
But the Brady Bunch is far from alone in tossing the "40%" figure around. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has repeated the lie. Rabidly anti-gun New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has done so; as has his wholly owned subsidiary, Mayors Against Illegal Guns; United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has done so; and so have President Obama, President of Vice Joe Biden, and the White House--and they have had no shortage of support from the mass media, such as the New York Times, and--just yesterday--the Philadelphia Daily News.
And it's all bogus. As this column has noted before, John Fund debunked the claim handily in the National Review. More surprisingly, the shrilly anti-gun, fawningly pro-Obama Washington Post found the claim very unconvincing (soon updated to even less convincing than that, with a much more defensible figure being 14-22%), and when Obama continued to repeat the "40%" fiction, they realized that they had still been giving him too much slack:
Two months ago, we were willing to cut the White House some slack, given the paucity of recent data. But the president’s failure to acknowledge the significant questions [a White House spokesman has refused to respond to questions] about these old data, or his slippery phrasing, leaves us little choice but to downgrade this claim to Three Pinocchios.
"Three Pinocchios" is their second-worst grade for mendacity, "awarded" for statements that exhibit "significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions."
Unlike the "90% of Mexican crime guns recovered come from the U.S." lie, though, the purveyors of this one show no sign of retreating from it. Until too many of us to ignore shout the truth, they won't have to.
Oh--one more thing. To repeat a point that cannot be emphasized enough:
It is St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner's position that the statistics do not particularly matter. If 100% of gun sales were without background checks, that would be just fine (sounds a whole lot more like shall not be infringed, and is in keeping with National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea's oft-stated position that, "Anyone who can't be trusted with a gun cannot be trusted without a custodian").
That does not render this point unworthy of being made, though. If the other side knows their case is too weak without the support of a foundation of lies, who are we to argue with them? Let's just shatter that foundation, instead.
- Do 90% of Mexican 'crime guns' come from U.S.?
- The continued retreat from the '90%' claim regarding U.S. guns in Mexico
- Are 80% of 'seized' Mexican crime guns coming from the U.S.?
- Why the silence on what percentage of Mexican 'crime guns' are traced?
- Wrong Again: Obama Claims 40% Of Gun Sales Done Without Background Check
- Obama Keeps Touting Bogus Gun Control Number
- Use social media to confront 'universal background check' pushers on '40%' lie