AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Guns are one of the most tightly controlled items available for sale in the nation. While medications require a doctor’s prescription, they don’t require a background check, and in many cases, don’t even require you to show an ID. Further, someone else can pick up your prescription with a few exceptions.
With guns, you have to have a background check as well as fill out a questionnaire under penalty of perjury. If the background check gets stalled, you have to wait for days before you can complete your purchase.
Further, in many states, I have to go through this even for a transaction between private parties.
But former President Barack Obama, speaking in Brazil, seems to think that American gun laws are outright non-existent.
Former President Barack Obama slammed U.S. gun laws on Thursday while speaking an event in Brazil, telling the audience that the laws “don’t make much sense” and claimed that “anybody can buy any weapon any time.”
Obama began by recalling the “most difficult day” in office was the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre that left 26 dead, including 20 young children in Newtown, Conn.
“My daughters were only a little bit older than these young children that have been shot, and I had to go and comfort the parents,” Obama said. “And some of you may be aware our gun laws in the United States don’t make much sense. Anybody can buy any weapon any time…”
That sparked loud applause from the Brazilian audience.
“You know, without much, if any, regulation,” he continued. “They can buy it over the Internet, they can buy machine guns. And for me, having to speak to parents who have lost a child, just two days or a day after it had happened, and not being able to assure them that that would change, that we would fix this — I couldn’t bring their children back, but I couldn’t even promise them that we would change the law so this didn’t happen to somebody else’s children.”
Critics blasted the former president, accusing him of “lying” about U.S. gun laws.
And that, of course, is because he was lying.
Look, Obama knows more about American gun laws than he wants to let on. He knows damn good and well that you can’t buy a gun over the internet, that such a purchase has to go through a licensed gun dealer who will conduct the federally-required background check. He knows that machine guns are tightly controlled and due to the plethora of laws around them are out of reach for the average law-abiding citizen.
Now, I’ll argue that one thing he says touches on reality. Anybody can buy any weapon any time…but not legally. To conduct those kinds of sales, you have to delve into the black market. There, if you can find someone with a machine gun to sell and have the money, you can buy it. Plain and simple.
That’s not the norm, though. Buying a machine gun legally requires a rather lengthy process that starts with local law enforcement, then goes on to the federal government. You need law enforcement’s permission before you can purchase such a weapon and it’s not an overnight process by any stretch of the imagination.
Obama’s comments don’t even cover the more common variety of firearms. Guns can’t be sold to “anybody,” as Obama alleges. They can’t be sold to convicted felons, those found to be domestic abusers or those who have been “adjudicated as mentally defective.” Anyone under a restraining order is legally barred from buying a firearm as well.
“Anybody” can’t buy guns.
The former president knows this. He has to. There’s no way he missed the mountains of criticism that befell him after he commented that it was easier to get a gun than a book in many places. While I’m sure his staff tried to keep him pretty sheltered from the criticism, he couldn’t miss it all, especially from friendly publications like the Washington Post.
And yet, he’s doubling down on that earlier lie.
The one saving grace is that as a former president, he has virtually no power. He may be influential with the Democratic base, who already agrees with him and thus can’t be swayed. He’s persona non grata as far as the Right is concerned, and therefore isn’t likely to sway anyone there. His only real power is that he has exactly one vote during elections.
He can spout off with this nonsense all he wants, but he can’t change reality.