Biden Claim Exaggerates Gun Stat Nearly Two-Fold, Compared to FBI Data

April 18, 2013 - 10:34 AM

The White House put on a Google Plus hangout about guns which featured Vice President Joe Biden and a group of anti-gun mayors yesterday. Many statistics and figures were cited by the group throughout the half hour chat.

The thoroughly debunked estimate that 40% of gun sales in America don't require a background check was widely cited by the participants and was even used as a jumping off point for the Vice President's own statistical blunder.

"80,000 plus people a year who go through the background system are convicted felons or adjudicated incompetent to be able to own a weapon. That 40 percent means there's gotta be, statistically, somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 who get a gun who are not qualified. Probably higher" said Biden.

"How does that make any sense?" he concluded.

According to data from the FBI, it doesn't.

The FBI states that between November 30, 1998 and March 31st 2013 they denied clearance on a gun sale after a background check revealed the person in question was "convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year or a misdemeanor punishable by more than two years" exactly 590,070 times. In the same period of time they denied clearance on a gun sale after a background check revealed the person in question was "adjudicated [for] mental health" exactly 10,945 times. That works out to 41,931 denials due to felonies or mental health issues per year.

That means the Vice President's claim was off by at least 38,069 people per year - that he nearly doubled the actual annual number.

By combining, apparently in his head and on the fly, the demonstrably inaccurate "80,000 plus people a year" with the debunked claim that 40% of gun sales in America don't require a background check, Mr. Biden reaches the completely unverifiable claim that "between 30,000 and 50,000 who get a gun who are not qualified. Probably higher." That claim, the child of two other blatantly inaccurate claims used to forward gun control agendas, is, of course, itself used to forward a gun control agenda.

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