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FactCheck flubs Obama gun fact check:

FactCheck.org is an excellent project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. It a non-partisan organization which provides factual evaluations of the claims of and about political figures. I have cited it in my own writing, and will continue to do so. However, that FactCheck has a well-deserved reputation for accuracy and good judgment does not mean that its work is infallible, as the VC has pointed out previously. The Encyclopedia Britannica also has a well-deserved reputation for accuracy and impartiality, but the Britannica sometimes contains errors or overstatements.

FactCheck's September 22, 2008, report on the National Rifle Association's advertising critical claims that the NRA "distorts Obama's position on gun control beyond recognition." FactCheck itself, though, has overstated its claims, and made several errors.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Doing My Patriotic Duty:
  2. Obama Campaign Challenges NRA Ad:
  3. FactCheck flubs Obama gun fact check:
zippypinhead:
Dave, a link or a description of the particular "flub" might be helpful to give some context to your post?
9.23.2008 5:58pm
zippypinhead:
oops, never mind. I see you added the second paragraph. Lesson: always hit "refresh" before hitting "post comment." Sorry.
9.23.2008 5:59pm
BT:
It will be interesting to see if they resond one way or another to your post.
9.23.2008 6:18pm
ejo:
but those votes and statements were made before he realized that he might have to get votes from bitter gun clingers (some of whom are Democrats).
9.23.2008 6:22pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
Their "rebuttal" of the NRA amounts to:
-believing that Obama's generic statement of support for "2nd amendment rights" outweighs all the specific things he has done to destroy those rights
-giving credence to the idea that Obama's intern bothered to forge Obama's handwriting when filling out an entire questionnaire and that it wasn't Obama himself.
-confusing "not having the votes for something" with "not wanting to do something."

IMO the NRA is spot-on and I hope they continue to bash him over the head with this issue until he crawls back under his rock.
9.23.2008 6:27pm
max (mail):
Mr. Kopel,

Great article, as usual. Just a quick and gun-nerd-technical question: isn't the primary cause for the greater kinetic energy of rifle bullets that they're generally propelled by far more powder than handgun bullets?
9.23.2008 6:30pm
Hoosier:
ejo:
but those votes and statements were made before he realized that he might have to get votes from bitter gun clingers (some of whom are Democrats).


And, one suspects, before someone told him how many of those Democratic gun-clingers live in Michigan.
9.23.2008 6:30pm
Carolina:
Factcheck's piece is appallingly tendentious.

They basically have accepted the Obama campaign's talking points that Obama's warm and fuzzy generic pro-2nd amendment statements trump his actual voting record. Accepting Obama's statements at face value is their prerogative, but to claim the NRA's reliance on his actual voting record makes them liars is silly.

Converting Obama's mealy-mouthed statements about various ideas not being politically feasible into opposition to those proposals is just as tendentious.
9.23.2008 6:35pm
ejo:
that's true-I remember plenty of GM and Ford guys heading to Northern Michigan on November 15th when I lived there.
9.23.2008 6:35pm
Pinkycatcher (mail):
Max,

That's one reason, although a longer barrel with the same cartridge will produce more energy than a shorter barrel. And it's not just more powder it's more powerful powder, they burn differently too. Though they make rifles in traditional handgun cartridges, and vice versa.
9.23.2008 6:36pm
Carolina:

Great article, as usual. Just a quick and gun-nerd-technical question: isn't the primary cause for the greater kinetic energy of rifle bullets that they're generally propelled by far more powder than handgun bullets?


I can answer that one for you: Yes, and in addition rifles have considerably longer barrels, which increases velocity (a .22 LR fired out of a rifle has significantly more velocity than the exact same round fired out of a pistol).
9.23.2008 6:38pm
Aultimer:
DB is missing the point. "Fact" is being used by FactCheck in the sense of "journalism and scholarship" - essentially something that has verifiable, supporting evidence.

To say BO wants to "Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns" because he once said "While a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable ..." is much like saying that "Bernstein Thinks Leavitt and Dubner are Thieves" because he's on record saying "very little in the book seemed especially new or original".

It may not be provably false based on the record, but it's a distortion of what HAS been said using what wasn't said.
9.23.2008 6:39pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Obama supported a bill to give the Attorney General the administrative authority to ban any rifle ammunition which can penetrate the type of vests commonly used by police.

FactCheck accurately quoted a limitation in the bill: it would apply only to ammunition which is "designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability." The "marketed" prong is easy, since rifle ammunition makers do not tout such capability in their advertising.


More specifically, it also allowed the Attorney General to list as armor piercing "a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines… to be capable of penetrating body armor". You don't need to stretch the definition of "designed" when nearly every modern cartridge can be used in a handgun. There are handguns in .30-06 or .223. There even handguns in goofy cartridges like .45-40 and shotgun shells.

This was made clear in Mr. Kennedy's floor remarks, where he stated, and I quote, that :

Another rifle caliber, the 30.30 caliber, was responsible for penetrating three officers? armor and killing them in 1993, 1996, and 2002. This ammunition is also capable of puncturing light-armored vehicles, ballistic or armored glass, armored limousines, even a 600-pound safe with 600 pounds of safe armor plating.


For those of you who aren't experienced with firearms, the .30-30 Winchester predates the development of Kevlar by 70 years, and in tube-fed lever-action rifles has been *the* deer rifle of choice for more than a century.

The bill amendment Senator Obama voted for did not merely have the potential to ban every major firearm, including hunting rifles. The very man who presented the amendment clearly stated on the floor that it must pass in order to ban a hunting rifle round.
9.23.2008 6:40pm
Aultimer:
Oops - should be "DK" above, had DB on the mind in digging up a VC quote to pick on.
9.23.2008 6:41pm
Nunzio:
There's a tendency in the media to take Obama's word for what he meant by a bill he opposed or voted for as to what the bill actually says. It would be fairer to just give the relevant language in the bill and what Obama says a few years later what he thought it meant.

Obama: I voted for that bill because I wanted to stop escaped convicts from shooting up a kindergarten with an M-16.

The bill: Possession of a firearm by anyone for any purpose, except law enforcement personnel, is unlawful.
9.23.2008 6:46pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
To say BO wants to "Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns" because he once said "While a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable ..." is much like saying that "Bernstein Thinks Leavitt and Dubner are Thieves" because he's on record saying "very little in the book seemed especially new or original".


That's entirely true. But it's also not the argument here; Obama did not merely say that a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable. He's also stated that he believed the pre-Heller laws in D.C. were Constitutional. His 'campaign' (allegedly a misguided lesser official within) answered yes to whether or not he'd support a ban on handguns, on a piece of paper that Senator Obama's handwriting appeared elsewhere. He proposed a law that would have put 90% of all gun shops out of business, and and made the purchase of a legal firearm include a very long drive for a vast majority of Americans. He voted for a ban on firearms based on melting point. He explained his vote on the "loophole for use of firearms for lawful self-defense law" by explaining that he was concerned the law would erode local handgun bans.
9.23.2008 6:53pm
Dave N (mail):
Nunzio,

Your sentence with Obama's explanation was incomplete. It should read--
Obama: I voted for that bill because I wanted to stop escaped convicts from shooting up a kindergarten with an M-16 while they were being taught sex education.
9.23.2008 6:55pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):
yep..because Kopel, the NRA and Jim at FSU are non-partisan and impartial, and FactCheck is not. though strangely, the latter actually provides support for their assertions. citations smitations..they're just nonsense anyway.
9.23.2008 6:58pm
Phil W. (mail):
Now that the true facts have been shown that the NRA is accurate on B.H.O.'s anti 2nd Amendment record, how long until FactCheck makes the corrections?
9.23.2008 7:01pm
great unknown (mail):
What are the odds that as the election nears, FactCheck starts making more and more pro-Obama mistakes?
9.23.2008 7:05pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):

What are the odds that as the election nears, FactCheck starts making more and more pro-Obama mistakes?


do you even read FactCheck? They have been slamming Obama quite regularly. Pretty much up until McCain started running his garbage advertisements. And when Obama started running his own garbage, guess who became FactCheck's target?

geez, this is like the use of "judicial activism" i.e. you don't like what they say, so you create some sort of pejorative that is amorphous and can be molded to whatever you want it to be so long as it "supports" your pont.
9.23.2008 7:11pm
Larry Sheldon:
Why does the name "Annenburg" keep coming up
9.23.2008 7:13pm
Dan M.:
Yeah, Jack, how dare Dave and the NRA call out FactCheck for not actually checking facts. How dare they defend their own position!

I've read a few other FactCheck articles that go a little too far in defending something that's inaccurate or going too far in calling something inaccurate.
9.23.2008 7:14pm
Larry Sheldon:
And "slamming count" is not a test for truth.
9.23.2008 7:14pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Obama also picked as his running mate Joe Biden, one of the most anti-gun members of the U.S. Senate.
9.23.2008 7:19pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):

And "slamming count" is not a test for truth.


if only that is what I suggested. What great unknown would suggest is that there is bias. I asserted nothing as to the truth or lack thereof of FactCheck's articles, rather I suggest that based on their treatmeant of the statements of either party that there is no bias, one way or the other.
9.23.2008 7:20pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):

I've read a few other FactCheck articles that go a little too far in defending something that's inaccurate or going too far in calling something inaccurate.


I've certainly been rubbed the wrong way by more than one FactCheck article, but I would be hard press to argue that they are not thorough in their research.

When statements such as these are made :

The NRA, however, simply dismisses Obama's stated position as "rhetoric" and substitutes its own interpretation of his record as a secret "plan." Said an NRA spokesman: "We believe our facts."

Perhaps so, but believing something doesn't make it so. And we find the NRA has cherry-picked, twisted and misrepresented Obama's record to come up with a bogus "plan."


They called out the NRA, and the best the NRA could come up with is "We believe our 'facts'" (internal quotes added). Sounds a lot like the current administration's philosophy that saying it makes it so.
9.23.2008 7:25pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Jack S., that type of formatting does not state that the only response was "We believe our facts", only that the response included that particular phrase. The NRA has a pretty good debunking of this crap already out. There's no proof that the NRA could only come up with the response of "saying it makes it so".
9.23.2008 7:32pm
10ksnooker (mail):
Party affiliation proves stronger than facts for FactCheck.org ... Who knew inside they are just another liberal hack group. Gun control smokes out another one ... HaHaHa

Why would any gun owner, or freedom loving American vote for Obama, when he will ban every gun and accessory he can get the votes for. It's as if in Obama's world, CCWs are non-existent. In my State of Florida, since the hurricanes of 2005, CCW permits have nearly doubled, while crime has gone down. It's no wonder liberals don't even try and make the connection between gun banning as crime issue -- What is their real goal here?

Who knows what Obama would do to the rest of the Bill of Rights, starting with free speech, and working your way down the list.

Hey at least your library card will be safe -- Tell me, you weren'tt dumb enough to fall for that one, were you?
9.23.2008 7:53pm
Max (mail):
For some, politics trumps everything. We'll add Factcheck to Wikipedia, Snopes, Blogger/Google, and so on. They are all rewriting the world as they want it to be in that classically Orwellian way. Orwell knew his lefties.
9.23.2008 8:23pm
Oren:
This was made clear in Mr. Kennedy's floor remarks, where he stated, and I quote, that :
Good argument on voting against Kennedy then (who has never been shy).

Why would any gun owner, or freedom loving American vote for Obama, when he will ban every gun and accessory he can get the votes for.
As a gun owner (and freedom lover, although that's an exceedingly vacuous term), I will vote the candidate that matches my policy preferences the most. Not perfectly, the most. It's not a one-issue campaign.
9.23.2008 8:37pm
Oren:
s/shy/'shy of being antigun'/ !$
9.23.2008 8:38pm
A.R. Jones (mail) (www):
Anybody who doubts for one second that a career Chicago machine hack doesn't stand foursquare behind the Second Amendment and champions the individual right to keep and bear arms it's obvious: you must be a racist.

Forever it was the NYT. Then Reuters. Can't forget the alphabets, of course, and my tax dollars at work: NPR. Lately AP and MSNBC have gone all in. Obama doesn't enjoy media favor. It's monolithic.

And now FactCheck is dipping a toe in; this has been an enlightening political season, hasn't it?

On the bigger field, just how sorry a program do you represent if the only president you've elected for two terms since Truman never got a majority, and cost you the Cpongress to boot?
9.23.2008 8:43pm
Dan M.:
It's a one-issue campaign if you believe the 2nd amendment is the most important issue.

We're going to need our guns when the entire economy breaks down and civil war breaks out. It would get ugly if all we had were knives and blunt objects.

Of course, according to Paulson and Bernanke, that could happen this weekend and by the time the election rolls around it won't be an issue, anymore.
9.23.2008 8:50pm
Carl in Chicago (mail):
Thanks, David, for your extensive analysis. I will hope that FactCheck.org retracts that entry (which it has not done as of now).

Early this morning, I took the initiative and sent the following email to "Editor@FactCheck.org":

Dear Editor:

Today I came across this entry, posted yesterday (22 September 08):



I love the idea of independent groups fact-checking media and interest-group claims. It must be done in order to keep folks honest. So, I commend this endeavor.

However, I have serious concerns about your "NRA targets Obama" entry by D'Angelo Gore and Brooks Jackson. Specifically: Much of what the NRA passes off as Obama's "10 Point Plan to 'Change' the Second Amendment" is actually contrary to what he has said throughout his campaign: that he "respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms" and "will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns." The crux of the matter centers on what Mr. Obama is saying now, during his presidential run, and what he has proposed or supported in the past. The entry clearly puts considerably more stock in what he's saying now, versus what his incontrovertible track record is. Actions speak louder than words. Obama's words on the second amendment are supportive now, but they are belied by his actions in the past.

I believe this entry runs entirely counter to your claim as a "Fact-Checking" organization. For the sake of truth, please reconsider this entry.

Carl (in Chicago)
9.23.2008 8:58pm
Carl in Chicago (mail):
...this entry...

My apologies.
9.23.2008 8:59pm
Carl in Chicago (mail):
Jack S. said:

I've certainly been rubbed the wrong way by more than one FactCheck article, but I would be hard press to argue that they are not thorough in their research.

Jack ... are you following this thread at all?

The entire premise of the thread is that FactCheck was not, in this instance, thorough in their research.
9.23.2008 9:07pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

In my State of Florida, since the hurricanes of 2005, CCW permits have nearly doubled, while crime has gone down. It's no wonder liberals don't even try and make the connection between gun banning as crime issue


Are you sure crime has gone down in Florida since 2005? That's not what I find:

Florida Homicide Rate Jumps 27% in first half of 2006

Sheriff Rallies Forces to Combat Soaring Murder Rate

Violent crime in Florida rose staggeringly in 2006 and rose again in 2007 but at a much lower rate.
9.23.2008 9:08pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Good argument on voting against Kennedy then (who has never been shy).


The FactCheck.org article uses Kennedy's assertion that his amendment "would not ban hunting ammo" to counter the NRA assertion that Obama voted for an amendment that would ban a wide variety of ammo including hunting ammo.

Given the full situation, it's clear that Kennedy's assertion is not a meaningful on the matter of overturning the NRA assertion -- he was either lying on the floor, lying about hunting ammo, or (most likely) both -- I think that when combined with the other facts present, it is reasonable to assume that Obama signed on with an amendment that specifically called for the ban of a large array of devices protected and recognized by the Constitution of the United States, and including devices overwhelmingly used for only lawful purposes.
9.23.2008 9:25pm
Thomass (mail):
Factcheck tends to error on the side of believing whatever a candidate's recent statements claim / it gives no room for intangibles. If Obama claimed McCain might be more likely to get us in a conflict with Iran, well, it is not untrue in my opinion... it is opinion based on some evidence and experience. Just like if McCain said Obama is more likely to raise taxes on the middle class… I'd sort of buy it based on the same criteria. Even though neither claim can be supported by facts.. and as a result factcheck would pan both.
9.23.2008 9:50pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
yep..because Kopel, the NRA and Jim at FSU are non-partisan and impartial, and FactCheck is not. though strangely, the latter actually provides support for their assertions. citations smitations..they're just nonsense anyway.
Jack, reading is fundamental. The point is that FactCheck's alleged "support for their assertions" doesn't support their assertions in this case; it refutes them.
9.23.2008 9:58pm
great unknown (mail):
Jack S.
I wasn't criticizing past behavior. I was placing a bet on future developments.
9.23.2008 10:17pm
Aultimer:

David M. Nieporent
The point is that FactCheck's alleged "support for their assertions" doesn't support their assertions in this case; it refutes them.

Baloney. This isn't a reading issue, it's logic. There is absolutely no refutation in FactChecks checking.

There is ONLY a statement by the NRA that Obama says X. FactCheck finds a statement by Obama - surprise, he says "NOT X, unfortunately". DK then reads the statement "NOT X, unfortuantely" as saying X.

The NRA may have guessed right about what's in Obama's heart, but they can't prove it based on the record.
9.23.2008 10:24pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
There is ONLY a statement by the NRA that Obama says X. FactCheck finds a statement by Obama - surprise, he says "NOT X, unfortunately". DK then reads the statement "NOT X, unfortuantely" as saying X.


The text of Senator Kennedy's amendment which would provide the Attorney General with the power to ban a wide swath of ammo including hunting ammo, and Senator Kennedy's speech on the floor advising that the amendment be used to ban the .30-30 Winchester cartridge, are matters of open and public records that no party has contested, and of which Senator Obama's vote is well-documented and uncontested. The matter is not about opinions or statements; the facts of that particular example are both clear and well-documented by available sources. These sources have been linked repeatedly throughout the thread; Thomas.loc.gov is not difficult to search.

FactCheck.org has chosen to ignore this in favor of quotes which play better in Peoria, either through ignorance or malice, but Senator Kennedy's inability to understand what is hunting ammunition does not change the facts of what .30-30 Winchester ammunition is overwhelmingly used for.

Likewise, the facts are that the Obama campaign has stated publicly that "... I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets", that "I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manfuacturer's lobby", that "I would support banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons and limiting the sale of ammunition for handguns", that he would "Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons" and "Increase state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms" (in the 1998 survey that is currently uncontested by the Obama camp, unlike the 1996 one that an aide apparently filled out for him).

He has stated, in response to the statement ' "But you support the D.C. handgun ban and you've said that it's constitutional", by Leon Harris of Washington television station WJLA the simple phrase : "Right, right." '

These are the facts, sir or ma'am.
9.23.2008 10:45pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):
Aultimer, if Obama's record is not anti-gun, can you please direct me to the time he voted against an anti-gun bill, or in favor of a gun rights bill? Surely there is at least one instance, isn't there?
9.23.2008 10:54pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Baloney. This isn't a reading issue, it's logic. There is absolutely no refutation in FactChecks checking.

There is ONLY a statement by the NRA that Obama says X. FactCheck finds a statement by Obama - surprise, he says "NOT X, unfortunately". DK then reads the statement "NOT X, unfortuantely" as saying X.

The NRA may have guessed right about what's in Obama's heart, but they can't prove it based on the record.
Reading is fundamentaler. The NRA looks at his actual votes and specific statements. Factcheck looks at vague generalities like his claim that he supports the second amendment.
9.23.2008 10:54pm
Dan M.:
Obama actually did vote for the federal bill that expands concealed carry for cops and retired cops.

However, that's right in line with the Brady Bunch's "Only Ones" divide and conquer strategy.
9.23.2008 11:05pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I have been referred to Factcheck.org by other bloggers and have found that, their "well-deserved reputation for accuracy and good judgment" belongs in the same category as the NY Times "well deserved reputation for fair and balanced coverage of the news."

In other words it is as reliable as the Times and equally tendentious. If you read their analysis much of it depends on their "interpretation" of issues and their selective use of sources.

I went to their site just now and picked an item at random. It happens to be the very top of their recent postings. It's called
Guilt and associations and examines a McCain ad.

This one about Obama's association with the Chicago political machine.


The ad begins with a statement that Obama was "born of the corrupt Chicago political machine," then shows Obama saying that Chicago toughened him up. The announcer returns, saying, "His economic adviser: William Daley. Lobbyist. Mayor's brother."





Here's the beginning of their rebuttal:

First off, Obama wasn't born in Chicago and didn't grow up there. He didn't arrive in the city until 1985, after he finished college. As a community organizer, he often fought City Hall. His rise in politics there wasn't a product of grooming by the Chicago machine, though he made allies of some machine politicans along the way.


Other than spelling errors, beginning the rebuttal with the fact that Obama was not born "in" Chicago is not a rebuttal of the fact that he is began his political career in Chicago Democrat politics so that the assertion that he was "born of" the Chicago political machine is accurate. And to deny the corruption of that machine does not pass the laugh test.

The assertion that he often fought City Hall may or may not be true but is an assertion without citation. So is the assertion that his rise in politics as outside of the Chicago machine.

Feel free to see how fact filled as opposed to opinion filled the rest of Factcheck.org is.
9.23.2008 11:09pm
Dan M.:
And I'll say that I trust the NRA to know exactly what a gun bill could do before I'll trust Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, or FactCheck.org.
9.23.2008 11:12pm
SPQR (mail) (www):
Great work Dave.
9.23.2008 11:30pm
Michael B (mail):
FactCheck.org is nothing more than a group of exuberant and too often overly confident college students, together with some professorial oversight, who pronounce upon topics as though they reflect the final word on the topic. Nothing wrong with that enthusiasm, but they greatly oversell themselves.

Good grief, FactCheck.org actually spent time rebutting the silly, malicious rumor than Bristol Palin was the "real" mother of Trig, the Downs Syndrome and youngest child of the Palins, rather than Sarah Palin herself. This was "National Enquirer" material that belongs next to "Bigfoot," "Space Aliens" and "Vince Foster" headlines.

Resources. Priorities. Perspective.
9.24.2008 12:53am
Kevin P. (mail):
Here is Wikipedia's section on Obama's gun control track record. There are citations for every single claim.

Full disclosure: I contributed to this section.
9.24.2008 3:48am
Xrlq (mail) (www):
Good luck reasoning with Annenberg Political Fact Check, which is better referred to as "Annenberg Political" than as "Fact Check." Everyone makes mistakes now and then, but misrepresenting SB 2165 as a mere registration "loophole" was no mistake. It was a deliberate deception on the part of hacks more interested in winning elections for one of their own than in checking facts.
9.24.2008 8:24am
wfjag:
So, it looks like this is another example of something Oren said in another thread. In other words, check multiple sources and cross-check claims, if possible to source documents.
9.24.2008 9:20am
Robert T. (mail):
"Why does the name "Annenburg" keep coming up"


Perhaps because the hapless heirs to the Annenburg fortune have too many other things with which to concern themselves than to see that their father's money is spent wisely.
It might be better if "FactCheck" simply retitled itself "PressReleaseRegurgitator." Then we could all relax and reduce our expectations.
9.24.2008 10:07am
ParatrooperJJ (mail):
Annenburg nonpartisan????? Are you kidding???? It is extremly left wing!!
9.24.2008 10:58am
Deoxy (mail):
M yexperience with Fac tCheck matches my experience with Wikipedia - hit-and-miss on political stuff (leaning left), awesome for most everything else.

FactCheck is a bit better about it than Wikipedia, but still noticably biased.

Note: this is based on their behaviour up until about 2-3 years ago (my life has been MUCH busier since then).
9.24.2008 11:19am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

"Why does the name "Annenburg" keep coming up"



Because the Annenberg Foundation is the parent organization and primary source of funding of the Annenberg Political Fact Check.


And because last year during the Heller case, the Annenberg Foundation gave $50,000 to the Brady Center when they advocated on behalf of D.C.'s gun ban which was one of the central issues in this piece.

They probably should have mentioned it when they wrote the piece because learning that this supposedly objective and non-partisan group is run by a larger group that gives heavily to gun control causes when they're writing a piece critiquing an ad by a gun rights organization may make people question their objectivity as well as the quality of their work.
9.24.2008 12:09pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

This was "National Enquirer" material that belongs next to "Bigfoot," "Space Aliens" and "Vince Foster" headlines.


It also *might* have belonged next to the John Edward's headlines, which, to the dismay of every "respectable" news agency, were correct. That explains the attention to the Palin debunking.
9.24.2008 12:51pm
JFreddie (mail):
Another example of how the NRA makes things up to scare people...
Read why the NRA gets 3/4 Pinnochios
9.24.2008 1:16pm
subpatre (mail):
Isn't this the same Annenberg that gave $160 million for Barack Obama and Bill Ayers to squander spend however they wanted?

If so, the relationship is Annenberg gives money to Obama, Annenberg funds gun-control, and Annenberg tells people gun-control and Obama are good.
9.24.2008 1:20pm
John Madison (mail):
David , FactCheck is a liberal scamsite funded by the Annenberg foundation. Its the same people who also are the moneymem behind "the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence". An extreme antigun organisation.
9.24.2008 1:32pm
Aultimer:

Harvey Mosley (mail):
Aultimer, if Obama's record is not anti-gun, can you please direct me to the time he voted against an anti-gun bill, or in favor of a gun rights bill? Surely there is at least one instance, isn't there?


Read more goodly please. I never alleged Obama isn't anti-gun - he is. There is no proof on the record, however, that "Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns" is an accurate description of his position or his past statements. It's way overstated, based on the record, just as FactCheck says.

gattsuru -

Obama's vote and/or statements on a pending bill are exactly that - a vote in favor of a bill, and statements related to a bill. Neither the statements or bills go as far as the NRA caricature of his position. Cite something that can be fairly summarized as "Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns" or get over the fact that FactCheck is right.
9.24.2008 2:03pm
Aultimer:

John Madison (mail):
David , FactCheck is a liberal scamsite funded by the Annenberg foundation. Its the same people who also are the moneymem behind "the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence". An extreme antigun organisation.

Have you ever read anything written by Kathleen Hall Jamison (one of the FactCheck principals)? I suspect not, based on your rhetoric.
9.24.2008 2:06pm
Nick K (mail):
David Kopel please don't compare FactCheck with Encyclopedia Britannica. FactChecks errors is well intended. Like john madison says , its a scamsite funded by the Annenberg foundation a left wing organisation.
-
Aultimer . we don't have to "read anything written by Kathleen Hall Jamison".
WE just follow the money. And "the moneymen" behind FactCheck are the same thats behind "the antigun bunch" like the Brady Center and other leftwing organisations.
Last year alone they gave $50,000 to the Brady Center , an organisation that will ban ALL HANDGUNS AND MOST RIFLES for ordinary people.
FactCheck is a scamsite , the errors they have made are no mistakes , they are well intended.
9.24.2008 2:44pm
James Gibson (mail):
Its pretty obvious that FactCheck's writer was in the tank to either Obama or Brady. To even start such a report by stating how much the NRA is planning to spend on lobbying and ads against Obama taints the readers from the beginning. Particularly when there is no mention of how much money Brady, VPC or even PETA is putting into the Obama campaign.
9.24.2008 3:14pm
eirinn:
Keep pounding away at politicians from either party who hide their anti-gun views behind calls for "sensible" laws and "reasonable" restrictions.

The Second Amendment is foundational to the Constitution and, as with ALL laws impacting on our fundamental freedoms, any proposed restrictions should be subject to the strictest judicial scrutiny and must demonstrate a compelling purpose -- not just some specious argument that sounds good coming from a politician skilled at delivering speeches.
9.24.2008 3:16pm
Mike Holt (mail):
To people who wants to know the truth about Obamas views on guncontrol ( gunban ). I will recomend http://www.gunbanobama.com thats a more reliable site than the liberal FactCheck , that I agree is a scamsite.
9.24.2008 3:28pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):


Have you ever read anything written by Kathleen Hall Jamison (one of the FactCheck principals)? I suspect not, based on your rhetoric.


Here's something by Kathleen Hall Jamison:

Communications scholars cringe at the notion that lobbying groups are obscuring or playing down their participation in publications and programs that push a narrow point of view. "People judge communication by its source so when you deny people full knowledge of that source of information they are losing something important about evaluating the message," said Kathleen Hall Jamison, dean of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.


So apparently she would agree that it is important that readers of this article by FactCheck.org on the NRA's ad attacking Obama's support for gun control know that the FactCheck.org is part of the Annenberg Foundation which is a heavy financial supporter of gun control causes, including the one that was the topic of the piece.
9.24.2008 3:34pm
Mark Finn (mail):
Just because the name is FactCheck , dosn't mean theres is any facts. Its a clever name they have come upon , but its nothing but a scamsite.
9.24.2008 4:09pm
Smokey:
The "Annenberg Public Policy Center" is called a "non-partisan organization"...

Oh, no!!
9.24.2008 4:34pm
Troll Feeder:

FactCheck give NRA a "Partly True" for: "Expand the Clinton Semi-Auto Weapons Ban to Include Millions More Firearms." ... The answer is straightforward, in the Illinois legislature, Obama for SB 1195, which defines "assault weapons" much more broadly than the 1994 federal law. It included double-barrel and break-open shotguns in 28 gauge caliber and larger; and also banned .50 caliber rifles.


The NRA claim may also come from the (now dead, pending a new Congress and administration) "Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007" HR 1022 bill that would ban substantially more weapons (including even M1 carbines [an evil 30.30 weapon], for Pete's sake) than the original gun ban.

The bill goes so far as to state (3.a.30.L) that all semiauto rifles and shotguns that are procured by the US military or Federal law enforcement agencies are presumed to be banned.

I don't know what Obama's position on that bill was, but it's not a big leap to think that he supported it, based on his other votes and statements.
9.24.2008 4:46pm
Ursus Maritimus:
"As far as we know, Obama has never fired a gun, or even held a gun in his hands."

But he has been closely advised by people who believe in the individual right to own destructive devices, like rifles over .50 caliber, or pipe bombs for that matter. But especially pipe bombs.
9.24.2008 5:26pm
Aultimer:
Guys -

I don't have my Vast Rightwing Conspiracy decoder ring yet (despite many, many years of being a loyal, contributing Republican) so help me out - since FactCheck is a lefty scam, should I:

A. Believe that the anti-Democrat articles (like this) are as faulty as the anti-Republican ones,

B. Believe that the anti-Democrat articles are true, but are planted to give an appearance of fairness (since there would be more juicy stuff if FC were legit), or

C. Pick and choose what to believe based on whether it supports my preconceived notions?
9.24.2008 5:51pm
Dan M.:
Aultimer,

Understand that the anti-Democrat articles are written when things are so blatant that they would lose all credibility by not checking them, but that when Republicans or the NRA say something, FactCheck looks for something (as inane as a campaign statement) to refute that rather than look for whether they have a factual basis for stating what they do.

You can evaluate my statements in a similar manner.
9.24.2008 6:39pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Obama's vote and/or statements on a pending bill are exactly that - a vote in favor of a bill, and statements related to a bill. Neither the statements or bills go as far as the NRA caricature of his position. Cite something that can be fairly summarized as "Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns" or get over the fact that FactCheck is right.


Again, the facts are that the Obama campaign has stated publicly that "... I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets", that "I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manfuacturer's lobby", that "I would support banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons and limiting the sale of ammunition for handguns", that he would "Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons" and "Increase state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms" (in the 1998 survey that is currently uncontested by the Obama camp, unlike the 1996 one that an aide apparently filled out for him).

The facts are that he stated, as a goal, a ban on all firearms shops within 5 miles of a school or park. The facts are that he stated his opposition to the bill in support of Mr Hale DeMar's self-defense was to prevent the handgun ban which Mr Hale DeMar was suffering under from being 'eroded'. The facts are that he has supported a ban on the manufacture of any semiautomatic firearm.

It's not one law or statement, but when you have one for sales, one for possession, and one for manufacture, I think it's fairly accurate.

Try the other one. It's got bells on.
9.24.2008 9:15pm
Hans Gick (mail):
gattsuru you are so wrong.
Obama is working very hard to ban ALL HANDSGUNS And longguns , and has done so for years. A couple of exampels:

1. When the senate A couple of years ago voted to repeal Washington DC's illegal ban of ALL HANDSGUNS And ALL LONGGUNS , Obama voted NO. Like all adults Obama knew the DC politicians was breaking the law , but he is so extremly antigun that even breaking the law is allright in his mind.

2. Chicargo has a similar illegal law , and the city still refuses to comply with the law. Obama suports these criminal city politicians AND THERE ILLIGAL LAW.

3.This week some politicians in the senate are trying to introduce a law that will force Washington DC to comply with the supreme court ruling ( the criminal city politicians still refuses to do so )The law already has 46 co sponsors including mcCains , but Obama refuses to sign it. Once again he thinks breaking the law is okay when it comes to guncontrol.

I could go on and on. So you see , Obama DO SUPORT A TOTAL BAN ON ALL HANDGUNS AND ALL LONGGUNS FOR CIVILIANS.
He is a very very extreme antigun politician , and he dosn't care about the law and the peoples civil rights either.
In my mind he is a lawbreaker and a criminal who belongs in a jail , not the white house.
9.25.2008 2:25am
jgjgjh (mail):
1.FactCheck has made so many errors about obamas guncontrol records , that one has to wonder whether it was accidental errors or deliberately errors.

2. It has also been revealed that the people who funds FactCheck are the same who funds "the brady center" an extreme antigun organisation.

3.When you combine all that , I don't think the word "scamsite" is to strong.
9.25.2008 3:39am
anonyous:
The ariticle was well written and Obama clearly does not support the 2nd Amendment in a literal sense. Perhaps hypothetically or ideologically (I am not even sure about that outside of hunting).

If a bill restricting "assault weapons" and "handguns" were to pass the House and Senate with him as president, would he sign it? Would he sign a national CCW reciprocity into law?

Anybody that thinks he is "pro-gun" either isn't paying attention to his voting record, rationalized his 2nd Amendment support, or doesn't value the 2nd Amendment themselves.

Which is it?
9.25.2008 3:21pm
Michael B (mail):
This [the conspiracy theory that Bristol Palin was the mother of Trig] was "National Enquirer" material that belongs next to "Bigfoot," "Space Aliens" and "Vince Foster" headlines.
"It also *might* have belonged next to the John Edward's headlines, which, to the dismay of every "respectable" news agency, were correct. That explains the attention to the Palin debunking."
Compare and contrast.

In the case of John Edwards' affair, the rumors were rampant and in fact the press was sitting on the story. As Howard Kurtz put it, "The whispered allegations about John Edwards were an open secret that was debated in every newsroom and reported by almost none." Iow, it was an open secret, one not being investigated and not being reported. Kurtz likewise noted, "Only Edwards's belated confession Friday to ABC's Bob Woodruff allowed news organizations to jump on what most people already knew."

By contrast, in the case of Trig Palin, the rumors were invented only after Palin became the VP pick and after the fact. There was no basis for the story.
9.25.2008 3:24pm
hjytr (mail):
NRA are the nationens oldest civil rights organisation.
They are highly respected , and have an exelent reputation of telling the truth.
FactCheck are a brand new Internetsite I don't know much about , but I will every day trust the NRA over FactCheck.
9.25.2008 10:28pm
Tcobb (mail):
Just cut the Gordian knot--of course Obama toes the liberal line that private ownership of guns is a bad idea. The very idea of anyone trying to make a case to the contrary is insulting; its like the line of a street dealer of three-card Monte telling me that yes, I stand to win big by putting twenty dollars down and playing his game.

Of course Obama is against gun ownership. He always has been, he always will be. The only "nuances" here are for people who have severe brain damage, or for people that hope that you do. END GAME.
9.25.2008 11:04pm
Tcobb (mail):
Damn--if you thought the post I wrote above was pro-Obama, think again--I consider the man to be a corrupt idiot who is unworthy to be a community dog-catcher. With that said, I'm going to go and shoot off a few rounds from my .45 automatic into the sky. I love to watch the flashes.
9.25.2008 11:17pm
Bill2 (mail):
"Fact Check.org a non-partisan organization.." I doubt very much that a non-partisan organization exists. People do not
leave their opinions and biases behind. Who within the organization formulated this particular piece of corrupt work?
Take a look at the staff-all "journalists" and professors at the Ivy League U.of PA. Hardly a group with centerist leanings.Give me a break!!!!Check their political contributions and registration.
Is there anyone within the organization that even understands the second amendment and can parse the statements of a very political gun grabbers like the Obama campaign? I doubt it. Quite frankly these people are not non-partisan but it is a good marketing tool.
9.26.2008 7:59am
Kilo (mail):
Oh FFS, could you all be any more vague ? I've seen several people here saying something "doesn't pass the laugh test". Well WTF do you think this looks like ?

The website is called "Factcheck". What they've taken issue with are claims made by the NRA about Obama's positions on gun control which they claim he will implement if he takes office. Those claims are numbered. Either they can be supported or they cannot. WTF already ? Is counting to 10 the hard part here, because it would seem to be quite clear cut.

I take it that the reason why we can't find someone making it as far as point #1 in claiming how Factcheck's assessment is wrong is for the obvious reason.

"#1 - Ban use of firearms for home self-defense"

Tell us how that's not the NRA lying. Go for it.
Or tell yourself that you've somehow rebutted a website called Factcheck by talking about something other than the facts they are referring to.

Despite what Obama says, the NRA's material claims that he plans to take such extreme measures as to "ban use of firearms for home self defense" and "ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns." Where does the NRA come up with these? We contacted Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA's director of public affairs. He declined to speak to us except to say that the claims are based on Obama's voting record and statements he has made in the media. "We're comfortable with what we put on there," Arulanandam said. "We believe our facts."

Maybe one of you knows that this NRA spokesman isn't on record as pussying out and confirming they are lying when prompted to supply anything to substantiate the otherwise unsubstantiated claims made. Maybe you've just been to busy to post that so far. Chop chop.
9.26.2008 10:36am
road2serfdom:
Kilo,

Were you to busy to google and find the NRA response?

FactCheck claim: "Obama is proposing no ...ban" on use of firearms for self-defense in the home.

FactCheck is wrong. Obama supported local handgun bans in the Chicago area by opposing any allowance for self-defense. Obama opposed an Illinois bill (SB 2165, 2004) that would have created an "affirmative defense" for a person who used a prohibited firearm in self-defense in his own home.

As FactCheck notes, the bill was provoked by a case where a Wilmette, Ill. homeowner shot an intruder in self-defense in his home; the homeowner's handgun was banned by a town ordinance. (After the U.S. Supreme Court found Washington, D.C.'s similar ban unconstitutional, Wilmette repealed the ordinance to avoid litigation.)

The legislation was very plainly worded, but as limited as its protection was, Obama voted against it in committee and on the floor:

It is an affirmative defense to a violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibits, regulates, or restricts the private ownership of firearms if the individual who is charged with the violation used the firearm in an act of self-defense or defense of another ...when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.

[***]If a person cannot use a handgun for self-defense in the home without facing criminal charges, self-defense with handguns in the home is effectively banned.[***]

Even aside from SB 2165, Obama's support for a total handgun ban (see below) would be a crippling blow to defense in the home, since (as the Supreme Court recently affirmed) handguns are "the most preferred firearm in the nation to 'keep' and use for protection of one's home and family." (District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2818 (2008)).

FactCheck claim: Obama "did not ...vote to 'ban virtually

See:

http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/NewsReleases.aspx?

and

http://www.nrapvf.org/news/Read.aspx?ID=11588&T=1
9.26.2008 12:11pm
Ole Krank (mail):
KILO

Are you a part of Factcheck? When you write of factcheck you write "we".
I will say your organisation "factcheck" is a very manipulating organisation and has lost all credibility.

In 1996 Obama says in a candidate survey that he suports a law that will BAN the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of all Handguns.

Again in 1998 he said he supported a ban on the sale of all semi-automatic guns.

Factcheck discounts those earlier statements as they do with his wotingrecords , just because Obama during electiontime has changed his rhetoric. NRA are not that naiv. They look at a candidates entire voting record as well as earlier statements ( before electiontime ).

By the way , I am on the political leftwing my self ( I supose you and your site factcheck are as well ). If it wasn't because of Obamas views on the 2. amendment I would vote for him , now I have to vote for McCain.
Why is it that so many people on the political left dosn't care about civil rights? I don't get it. The political left should of all people stand guard of our civil rights.
9.26.2008 1:11pm
dfrew (mail):
KILO

You are either stupid or brainwashed.
The NRA are a very serious and highly respected civil rights organisation.
You can bet your ass , that Before they come with a puplic statement about a candidate , they have done a very thorough investigation. Like most people I trust The NRA over factcheck any day.
9.26.2008 1:34pm
Mac (mail):
I must admit that I do appreciate Factcheck, however, as with all information, one has to evaluate it for oneself.

That said, I wonder why Factcheck thinks Joe Biden felt compelled to say that Obama would have to pry his shotguns from his hands or something like that?

Biden, one assumes, must have felt there was a need to say that and as Obama's VP, one would think he wouldn't be lying about Obama's record or intent. Then again, it is Joe Biden, but even he has to get some things right once in awhile, one would think.
9.26.2008 2:55pm
Mac (mail):
Here is the exact quote.


Obama's "Got A Problem" If He Tries to Take Biden's Guns
by Aaron Bruns
CASTLEWOOD, VA — Memo to Barack Obama: don't mess with Joe Biden's guns.

At a fish fry for mine workers in rural Southwest Virginia, the Delaware Senator commiserated on being from coal country himself — and did his damndest to convince the blue collar, mostly white Democrats that he's on the ticket to win over that Obama's one of them as well.

One of rural Democrats' biggest fears about Obama? That he'll come after the Second Amendment. Not so, said Biden — and he'd better not try.

"I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey," Biden said angrily. "They're going to start peddling that to you."

"I got two, if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he's got a problem."

Biden has said he doesn't hunt, but shoots skeet with his two firearms. "I like that little over and under, you know? I'm not bad with it," he said today.
9.26.2008 3:02pm
anonyous:
I guess I am just bitter.
Or maybe FACTCHECK can spin those quotes too.
9.26.2008 6:50pm
Mac (mail):
An excerpt from the WSJ online today.

Way to go Mr. Kopel!

Online Journal E-Mail Center
September 26, 2008 -- 5:00 p.m. EDT

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, video interviews and commentary on Opinion Journal.

FORMAT TODAY'S COLUMN FOR PRINTING

McCain Rules
The "maverick" is busy upending political traditions.
By JAMES TARANTO


The report includes interviews with Jennifer Joyce and Bob McCullough, chief prosecutors for St. Louis city and county, respectively. Neither threatens to prosecute Obama's critics, so it's possible that the station's citing of "Missouri ethics laws" makes this look more troubling than it is. But ABC News reports that the Obama campaign is trying to silence criticism elsewhere:

In this letter sent this week to TV station managers from Obama campaign general counsel Bob Bauer, obtained by ABC News, the Obama campaign argues that a TV ad by the National Rifle Association should not air.
"Unlike federal candidates, independent political organizations do not have a 'right to command the use of broadcast facilities,' " Bauer writes. "Moreover, you have a duty 'to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.' "
The Obama campaign takes issue with an ad called "Hunter," pointing out that claims in the ad were called "false" by Factcheck.org, andwas given three Pinocchios by the Washington Post's "Factchecker."
A copy of the letter is here. David Kopel has a detailed rebuttal of the Factcheck.org critique. Whatever one may conclude about the merits of the ad's claims, the notion that an ad should be suppressed because the Washington Post or the Annenberg Center disapproves of it flies in the face of America's tradition of open debate. Never mind what Obama thinks of the Second Amendment, there's reason to worry about the First.
9.26.2008 9:42pm
Kilo (mail):
road2serfdom: Kilo, Were you to busy to google and find the NRA response?
FactCheck claim: "Obama is proposing no ...ban" on use of firearms for self-defense in the home.
FactCheck is wrong.


No, you are. Factcheck hasn't made any claims. They are assessing those made by the NRA. Factcheck isn't claiming to know what Obama will do if elected, they are simply saying that the NRA is being misleading when claiming that the NRA does know this.

The NRA has claimed that Obama supports a ban on firearms for personal self-defense. This is a lie and both you and I know it.

This is why we see you claiming I've missed the response by the NRA, then posted something that doesn't support what they have claimed. If you could post something that supports what they wrote, you would have.

They call it "playing dumb" for a reason. So why don't you pony up and tell us that your brain is operating at a level that allows you to think there is anything to support the NRA's claim that Obama wants to and will ban firearms for personal self defense.
You need to either embrace gullibility or outright lying and I don't care which, just get on with it already. Say it.
9.27.2008 2:42am
Kilo (mail):
dfrew (mail): KILO
You are either stupid or brainwashed.
The NRA are a very serious and highly respected civil rights organisation.
You can bet your ass , that Before they come with a puplic statement about a candidate , they have done a very thorough investigation. Like most people I trust The NRA over factcheck any day.


Why would I bet anything at all on that ?
Why couldn't this very careful organisation just produce this supporting evidence for the claims they have made, you could see these and have something better than a tooth-fairy-belief to support your sentiment ?

Then you could post them here and say AHA! that your statements do come from a more persuasive source than a 4yo with a gap in her smile.
9.27.2008 2:48am
Kilo (mail):
Ole Krank (mail): KILO Are you a part of Factcheck? When you write of factcheck you write "we".


No, when I said that "we" couldn't find anyone posting anything here to support the NRA's claim, I meant you and I and every other person reading this.

Somehow, use of the word "we" was the most suspicious thing about that observation. Yeah.... sure.

In 1996 Obama says in a candidate survey that he suports a law that will BAN the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of all Handguns.


Er.... no, he didn't. You are pretty much the only person here who's claimed that.
So, you know, I've got a certain amount of interest in having a discussion with you about the accuracy of statements made when this is how much you care about that.
9.27.2008 3:01am
Ole Krank (mail):
Kilo

Heres the dokumentation of the 1996 candidate survey.
In question 35. ( under Criminal Justice )

Do you support state legislation to:

A. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns (yes)
B. ban assault WeaPons (yes)
C. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? (Yes)

www.politico.com/static/PPM41_obamaquestionaire1newest.html
(part 1 of questionnaire)
www.politico.com/static/PPM41_obamaquestionaire2.html
(part 2 of questionnaire)
9.27.2008 12:32pm
dfrew (mail):
WOUVVVVVV..... Great dokumentation Ole Krank.
I guess most people now recognize that Factcheck are lying and NRA are telling the truth.
9.27.2008 1:28pm
James Jensen (mail):
The 1996 questionnarie is well known , and have been publicized by the media and the Clinton campaign longtime ago.

OF course kilo , if you only get your news through obama.com you will probably never had heard about it.
Factcheck are a lying leftwing organisation that has absolutly no credibility what so ever.
9.27.2008 2:37pm
Malcolm W:
Unfortunately for this whole discussion, David Kopel is using bogus logic throughout, unlike Factcheck.org.

The core problem is that Kopel is asserting that (as an answer to "Do you support X") "X is not practicable" means that "X is desirable but not achievable", which is just false. An honest observer would note that the "not practicable" answer is not particularly responsive, and that the reason for the non-responsive answer may very well be because the respondent (i.e. Obama) doesn't want to say that he actually does support X -- but it is also possible that the answer is effectively "lets not waste time talking about hypothetical situations that won't happen".

You/me/we all may choose to believe what we like about the reasons for the non-responsive answers, but you cannot honestly assert that the fact of the non-responsiveness proves those reasons.

Getting specific about gun issues: I think it unarguable that Obama would like greater restrictions on sales/manufacturing/ownership of weapons than many of us think appropriate or wise. But "would like" doesn't translate to "would make efforts to enact legislation" -- the fact is that efforts to ban (e.g.) handguns are 150-odd years too late, so anybody trying to seriously impose a ban is ultimately wasting their time and ours -- there are just too many people and guns for that to work, period.

As to the points Kopel makes about the Heller case, I personally don't see the contradictions Kopel saw; I believe states should have the right to some level of legislation (e.g. of gun shops), but those rights should be limited. And that's what SCOTUS basically ruled: the DC legislation exceeded those rights.

So what does this mean about Obama the candidate? I personally think it speaks quite well: even though he apparently thinks (for whatever reasons) that gun control is OK, he understands enough about America to realize that he can't impose those views on us. And that's OK: G W Bush apparently doesn't drink, but he hasn't tried to reinstate Prohibition.

Anyway, in the specific points Kopel raised in this article, his analysis generally fails: Factcheck was not wrong, because "not practicable" doesn't mean "I want to but I don't think I can". It just means "I don't think taht would work".
9.27.2008 4:44pm
James Jensen (mail):
It's funny to see how the Obama/brady bunch desperate are trying to defend Factcheck.
First they say NRA are lying , and Factcheck are telling the truth because Obama doesn't support a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.
Then , someone says Obama has filed out a survey where he says just that.
The Obama/brady bunch's answer: THATS a LIE and FACTCHECK are telling the truth.
Then , the same person document his claims.
Now the Obama/brady bunch reaction is: IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT HASN'T THE POWER TO regulate LAWS.
Therefor factcheck are telling the truth when they saying OBAMA DOESN'T SUPPORT A BAN ON THE MANUFACTURE , SALE AND POSSESSION OF HANDGUNS.
Thats the most strangest answer I have ever heard , even if it was true that the president doesn't have that power.
But unfortunately the president has exactly that power. He doesn't need the congress to regulate gunlaws. He can bypass conress by apointing liberal judges , including supreme court judges , and he sure will apoint antigun judges , you can bet on that.
9.28.2008 12:22am
Kilo (mail):
Ole Krank (mail):
Kilo, Heres the dokumentation of the 1996 candidate survey.
In question 35. ( under Criminal Justice )


Yeah. Got any ideas as to why everyone except you has been so careful not to claim that Obama filled that questionnaire out ? There is the obvious reason of course, as explained to you everywhere, but this somehow hasn't registered yet.
9.28.2008 2:19am
Kilo (mail):
OJames Jensen (mail):
The 1996 questionnarie is well known , and have been publicized by the media and the Clinton campaign longtime ago. OF course kilo , if you only get your news through obama.com you will probably never had heard about it.


I only heard of it here. From this post and all the readers who've referred to it. If you think they're all full of sheet, let em know. Otherwise just sit there and look foolish.

Seriously, you either think the author and everyone else here is lying in support of Obama when they don't claim what you do, or you agree with this yourself. Either tell us you are lying or that you are happy to bend to peer pressure on this. Either way, you need to clear this up.
9.28.2008 2:25am
Kilo (mail):
James Jensen (mail):
It's funny to see how the Obama/brady bunch desperate are trying to defend Factcheck.
First they say NRA are lying , and Factcheck are telling the truth because Obama doesn't support a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.


OMG hahahaha that's soooo funny, what with it being the answer to the question being posed. I haven't heard one that good since I pulled jury duty and they asked us to decide whether someone was guilty or not. Oh how we laughed, as though we were mentally challenged.

Then , someone says Obama has filed out a survey where he says just that.


Er... yeah James. Except there's nothing funny about that apart from you acknowledging that you've not grasped the concept what a "fact" is.

McCain may have a position on immigration. Someone saying he made comments to a reporter in 1997 which he disputes, has no bearing on what that position may be. Hence, claiming you know what borders he will throw open, if elected, based on this and while ignoring any and all verifiable and current statements is you demonstrating that you have no interest in his actual position. You'd just like to make him look bad regardless of how accurate you are when doing it. Hence, you get to have an opinion about factchecking like the Japanese get to have an opinion about whale conservation. Not.
9.28.2008 2:35am
Milhouse (www):
Anyone notice that "Kilo" pulled a fast one?

The website is called "Factcheck". What they've taken issue with are claims made by the NRA about Obama's positions on gun control which they claim he will implement if he takes office.

No, they're not. But by telling this lie, Kilo is able to claim that it doesn't matter what Obama supports, so long as the NRA can't absolutely prove that he would implement these things in office they're lying when they put it in their ad. And since a president can't do most of these things, at least not all by himself, it follows that the NRA are naughty Pinocchios, making up fibs about the One.

Yes, Obama supports banning the manufacture, sale, and possession of all handguns. He said so in the survey which was submitted in his name, which he personally reviewed, and on which his own handwriting appears, and he has never repudiated that view since. He voted against a bill that would have imposed a self-defense exception on city anti-gun ordinances in Illinois. The fact that he has said it would be impractical to do it nationally doesn't change his view, and the onus is not on the NRA to prove that he hasn't changed, it's on Annenberg Political "Fact Check" to prove that he has. If they can't prove that he's changed his mind, then they have no business labeling the NRA claims false.

Look, Kilo, here's a fact: Wilmette had a ban on handguns, with no exception for self-defense, and actually charged a man who had used his handgun to defend himself. The state legislature passed a bill to impose a self-defense exception on Wilmette, so that the next Hale DeMar could not be charged. Obama voted against it. How does that not equal support for a ban on the use of handguns, even in self-defense?
9.28.2008 6:36am
Ole Krank (mail):
Malcolm W

Thats the most absurd argument I have ever heard. You say Factcheck are telling the truth , bacause Obama can't implements his own views?
Are you serious , is that really the best excuse for factcheck you can come up with?
You also say gunlaws can't be changed , it's 150 years too late. To many people have guns you say.
Thats not true , Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation.

KILO

You keep saying you have only heard about the 1996 survey here , and therefore discount it.
Well , now you have not only heard about it , you have also seen the actual document with OBAMAS own handwriting with your own eyes. If not , here it is agin. Copy and paste the links and you will see it:

Heres the dokumentation of the 1996 candidate survey.
In question 35. ( under Criminal Justice )

Do you support state legislation to:

A. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns (yes)
B. ban assault WeaPons (yes)
C. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? (Yes)

www.politico.com/static/PPM41_obamaquestionaire1newest.html
(part 1 of questionnaire)
www.politico.com/static/PPM41_obamaquestionaire2.html
(part 2 of questionnaire)
9.28.2008 1:08pm