Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

“F” Stands for Fail: Politifact Flip-Flops to Advocate Anti-Gun Narrative

Friday, October 9, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Politifact Flip-Flops to Advocate Anti-Gun Narrative

As we’ve reported here, here, and here, one of the more favored, yet discredited, claims made by gun control advocates is that 40% of firearm transfers take place without a background check.  Mark Kelly, of Americans for Responsible Solutions, is particularly attached to this deception, bringing it up once again in the wake of the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR last week. 

Fact checkers have routinely pointed out numerous problems with the 40% statistic, with the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler giving Obama “Three Pinocchios” when the President cited the bogus claim back in 2013. 

Unfortunately, it now appears that even the fact checkers need fact checkers.  Last Sunday, Linda Qui, writing for Politifact, addressed the issue in response to Kelly’s appearance on CNN on the same day in which he invoked the 40% claim.  She rightly points out all the reasons why the 40% claim has been repeatedly rebuked by fact checking organizations in the past, including Politifact itself.

The claim is based on a 1994 survey of only 251 people who told researchers they were gun owners.  As anyone who’s ever read a survey or poll knows, a sample size of 251 is insufficient to draw conclusions about the broader population under study.  You cannot reliably measure anything about the American people with only 251 respondents in a survey.  The researchers then asked of these 251 respondents how they came to have their firearms and whether or not a background check had been conducted.

Even if the sample size was sufficiently large to represent the broader population, there are obvious problems with this methodology.  It doesn’t take a statistician to know that of the 251 respondents, the researchers didn’t actually verify whether or not they were actual firearm owners.  Further, the researchers also relied on the memory of respondents to accurately describe the circumstances of how and when their firearms came into their possession.   Problems with reliability of this information are obvious and abound.  Many respondents likely couldn’t remember the exact details the researchers were asking about.

That anyone would rely on a statistic derived from this house of cards is chilling, given that the infringement of constitutional rights is what they’re advocating for.

More broadly, even if the base (albeit severe) methodological deficiencies are ignored, it’s important to recall that the survey was conducted in 1994 and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) wasn’t operational at the national level until 1998.  In other words, even if the 40% claim was based on a reliable methodology, which it isn’t, responses in 1994 tell us nothing about firearm transfer taking place today.
 
But even after recognizing these problems, Qui shifts from fact checker to advocate about half way through her article.  She turns from an explanation of why the 40% claim is bogus to an exploration of all the reasons why it is the “best estimate” available.  A litany of anti-gun advocates and researchers are quoted as essentially saying, “we don’t have anything else, so this is good enough.”  For Qui, this somehow equates to bolstering the bogus claim’s veracity.

She closes her “fact check” with the “ruling”:


Kelly said, "We sell 40 percent of our guns without a background check."


The figure he’s citing comes from a 21-year-old survey with a small sample size before a key gun law took effect. Even its authors say they’re not sure if it holds true today.


Still, there are few credible alternative statistics because of a two-decade dearth of gun violence research funding. 


We rate his claim Half True.


This is truly bizarre.  Remarkably, this is in direct contradiction to a “fact check” done by the same organization mere months ago. 

Politifact’s Sean Gorman says on April 28, 2015 the 40% claim is “mostly false.”

Politifact’s Linda Qui says on October 4, 2015 the 40% claim is “half true.”

When Politifact decided to make this turn towards advocacy is unknown and anyone’s guess.  While they may lament the “fact” that the public’s view of the media continues to diminish, it is obvious what’s driving this loss of credibility
.

IN THIS ARTICLE
40% Myth PolitiFact
TRENDING NOW
Alleged Sexual Predator and Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein Threatens NRA (Again)

News  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Alleged Sexual Predator and Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein Threatens NRA (Again)

On October 5, the New York Times published an article titled, “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The piece detailed allegations that the mogul used his position of influence to make unwanted ...

Gun Banners Unmasked: The Vengeful Face of the Anti-gun Agenda Emerges Once Again

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Gun Banners Unmasked: The Vengeful Face of the Anti-gun Agenda Emerges Once Again

What happens to the 400 million or so firearms already in private hands? How does society actually benefit from his plan? Stephens doesn’t say. He apparently just trusts that things would eventually work themselves out ...

“Death by a Thousand Cuts” – Latest Ninth Circuit decision proclaims “selling firearms is not part or parcel of the right to keep and bear arms”

Second Amendment  

Friday, October 13, 2017

“Death by a Thousand Cuts” – Latest Ninth Circuit decision proclaims “selling firearms is not part or parcel of the right to keep and bear arms”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, lower courts across the country have expressed their disagreement with – or downright hostility to ...

Shall-Issue Concealed Carry Coming Soon to the Nation’s Capital!

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shall-Issue Concealed Carry Coming Soon to the Nation’s Capital!

It’s important to celebrate that law-abiding Americans are now closer than they have been in nearly half a century to being able to exercise their firearms freedom in our nation’s capital. That is real progress.

Media Consumers Beware: Watchdogs Warn of Bias, Politics, and Influence Tainting the “News”

News  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Media Consumers Beware: Watchdogs Warn of Bias, Politics, and Influence Tainting the “News”

Project Veritas’s “American Pravda” series has focused on the media itself, with prior releases including segments on CNN producers and personalities casting doubt on the network’s own narrative about Russian influence in the U.S. presidential ...

Massachusetts: Gun Control Bill on the Move

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Massachusetts: Gun Control Bill on the Move

Today, without considering the unintended effects of such poorly thought out legislation, the Massachusetts state House of Representatives passed Amendment 1 attached to House Bill 3951 with overreaching language that would ban modifications commonly made ...

California: Governor Brown Signs Remaining Anti-Gun Bill

Sunday, October 15, 2017

California: Governor Brown Signs Remaining Anti-Gun Bill

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 424, the remaining anti-gun bill on his desk. 

California: Governor Vetoes Dealer Storage Bill and Signs Open Carry Ban

Saturday, October 14, 2017

California: Governor Vetoes Dealer Storage Bill and Signs Open Carry Ban

Yesterday, Governor Brown took action on two of the remaining three anti-gun bills by vetoing Senate Bill 464 and signing Assembly Bill 7. 

Illinois:  Anti-Gun Legislators Introduce Gun Control Legislation

Friday, October 6, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Introduce Gun Control Legislation

Yesterday, omnibus gun control legislation, House Bill 4107, was introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives.

NRA, Others Urge Supreme Court to Review “Assault Weapon,” Magazine Ban

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, September 29, 2017

NRA, Others Urge Supreme Court to Review “Assault Weapon,” Magazine Ban

This month, the United States Supreme Court commenced its October sitting. Among the cases that the Court may decide to review is Kolbe v. Hogan, No. 17-127. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.