January 22, 2013

The "stale claim"

One of the "progressive" gun control memes going around is that 40% of all gun sales without background checks pass through the so-called "gun show loophole." That is, sales between private dealers do not have to include said background check. Boss Obama has used this figure (natch) as has "Plugs" Biden. Locally, our old friend Perry clamored about the 40% figure, most probably because the prez and veep spouted it (therefore it's just gotta be accurate).

Unfortunately, the figure is old (or "stale"), and the research behind it is suspect. As the WaPo(!!) notes:

The data is available for researchers to explore at the Interuniversity consortium on political and social research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Digging deeper, we find that the survey sample was just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Moreover, when asked if he or she bought from a licensed firearms dealer, the possible answers included “probably was/think so” and “probably not,” leaving open the possibility the purchaser was mistaken. (The “probably not” answers were counted as “no.”)

Interestingly, while people often speak of the “gun show loophole,” the data in this 1994 survey shows that only 3.9 percent of firearm purchases were made at gun shows.

I am not arguing that this loophole should not be eliminated. This is just a little friendly reminder to always dig a little (or a lot) deeper into so-called "facts" (like, remember this one?) whenever people throw them out there, especially bigwig politicians.

Posted by Hube at January 22, 2013 05:06 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

One Jack Markell's talking points on gun control has always been closing the gun show loophole. It's especially hilarious considering Delaware has a total of 3 gun shows. I don't think any of them take place in room larger than a basketball court.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at January 22, 2013 08:51 PM

Not to mention that I suspect some folks told them "NO" simply because it's none of their damn business.

Posted by: mike w. at January 23, 2013 09:48 AM

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