The Senate failed to pass the Manchin-Toomey background check plan last Wednesday. The amendment, touted as "gun control compromise," was crafted by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and it was defeated in the Senate in the first major vote of the session.
That the Manchin-Toomey background checks plan failed to pass the Senate is a good thing; the amendment was not a "compromise" as it had been touted, and would not have solved any gun crime issues. The marketing propaganda mustered to attempt to sell it was itself built upon lies and misinformation, and President Obama's feigned moral outrage over its failure is both insulting and the true shame.
President Obama lost his mind when he told reporters at the White House: "Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill". The President called the day "shameful," and the White House sent out a mass email with the same wording. The president will forgive me if I'm not moved. If you watched his address immediately following Sandy Hook and witnessed the fake tears flicked away from the outside of his eyes, you'll know what I mean. Shameful? This same president, who used many an opportunity to stand with children and parents of the victims (some would call that exploitation or grandstanding) in pleading the case for his version of a solution to children being senselessly murdered, also orders drone strikes that senselessly murder innocent. Lies? This is the same president who lied about Benghazi being a "spontaneous demonstration" for weeks. This amendment itself was based on lies. As I said, you'll forgive me if I'm not moved by yet another false show of "moral outrage."
Let's talk about lies. This amendment was supposed to close the so-called "gun show loophole." There is no such "loophole." The amendment was also supposed to close the "online loophole." This is an even bolder of a lie.
The president had falsely claimed that "up to 40%" of guns are bought without a background check via the so-called "gun show loophole," for which the Washington Post Fact-Checker gave him two "Pinocchio" for being misleading. This false claim comes from a 1994 study of 251 people from before the Brady Bill required Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) retail sellers to run background checks on all sales. The Washington Post reconnected with the original study authors who informed them the actual range is 14-22% with a +/- error margin of 6%, meaning the final range is 8-28%. That's nowhere near 40%. Also, factor in that it was before the Brady Bill was passed and it was from 1994. According to the ATF, federal law requires FFL holders to run a background check on all sales no matter where they are, retail storefront, and gun show, what have you. Failure to do so is already a crime.
What about private sales? Private sales are from any private citizen who does not hold a FFL. These are, and have been since before the beginning of time, been 100% legal to another private, non-FFL holding person. Technically, the law states that if someone knowingly transfers a gun to a prohibited person (felon, mentally ill, etc.) they are breaking the law. But if you are not knowingly selling a firearm to such a person, you are not breaking the law. What about location? Does it matter if the private sale is in your driveway, parking lot, swap meet, gun show, or back alley? Nope. Private sale is private sale, regardless of whether there happen to be FFL's at the next table, or in the next county. Ostensibly, the concern is that continuing to "allow" the "inbred, non-showering, redneck hicks" that attend gun shows the "privilege" of selling their private property at gun shows is that crazed mass killers and terrorists are going to frequent gun shows to get fully automatic machine guns only to drive to the nearest mall or Kindergarten class with 2,000 rounds of ammunition and go out with a blaze of hellfire on our innocent hindquarters. This is pure fairy tale. The Department of Justice studies of where felons acquire their firearms show that less than 1% get them from gun shows. The majority — nearly 80% — of them gets them from (already) illegal transfer via family/friends, or from the black market.
The myth about the online loophole is a clever-ish sort of new lie perpetrated by anti-gunners. To listen to them, you'd think one could hop onto Amazon.com or some sort of "Guns-R-Us.com," and order your made-for-mass-murder killing machine sent via UPS to your front door. Pure hogwash. There are plenty of online gun retailers, but none of them will ship you personally a gun; it must go to a FFL retailer who then must run a background check on you. Failure to do so is a crime. They are retailers, not black market underworld kingpins; they're in business to make money, not go to prison for yours or my sake. These retailers only ship guns to FFL holders. Not to mention that they themselves hold FFLs and must comply with the law governing retail sales regardless of location.
What about private sales conducted online via classifieds? This is a little trickier. For one, many places like Craigslist, don't allow guns sales. But for classified ad sites that do allow them, this is no different than placing a classified ad in your local newspaper. It is, and always has been 100% legal. All the same rules discussed above still apply. If shipping out of state, it must go to an FFL; failure to do so is already a crime. If sold locally, there are no restrictions as has always been the case. If the president and gun control advocates wanted to refer to closing all "private" sales, and be honest about the fact that you're changing the law. Don't call it a "loophole;" which as I wrote previously, calling something a "loophole" that was never illegal to begin with, and doesn't involve "getting around" something on a technicality, is itself a war waged with words and dishonest political gamesmanship. Gun control advocates might garner more support and sympathy if they didn't rely on lies to make their case.
Ultimately, the president acts as if the Senate just guaranteed another mass shooting (though even Vice President Biden admits their anti-gun efforts won't prevent another mass shooting). The truth is that this amendment failed to address any of the issues inherently existent in our current system: failure to fund NICS (the background check system), failure of many states to report mental health and felony data to NICS, failure to address straw man purchases, failure to enforce and prosecute illegal transfer and background check fraud. And it fails to address the black market, illegal weapons trafficking (which is done by trans-national gangs according to the FBI), and theft - including targeted theft of police and military equipment.
The greatest lie of all is that this amendment would have done anything to decrease homicides or prevent another great tragedy. The decision to engage in lies and propaganda in lieu of actually addressing the underlying causes of violence and homicide in the U.S. is the real tragedy. That's what Obama and other politicians like him ought to be ashamed of.