It Would Be Nice if Politifact Would Consult Experts

Politifact has taken on claim that the Social Security changes floated by the Obama Administration amount to a huge gun ban for millions of elderly Americans, and have concluded it’s bunk. They have done this because they do not understand the federal gun laws, and did not consult any experts on the topic. They did consult Gary Kleck, it seems, who is a hell of a criminologist, but he’s not an expert on gun laws. Let’s go over Politifacts claims:

The new policy would not ban all Social Security recipients from owning guns. Rather, it would only affect the small fraction who are deemed mentally incompetent, and who are thus are barred from purchasing guns under the law.

No one argued it would. Sure, that’s going around, because most people don’t bother to read, but that’s not an argument NRA has made or the LATimes article made. If you’re debunking the Times article, stick to what they actually argued, not what’s going around on the social media fever swamps.

The policy is not yet in force. When we reached out to the Social Security Administration, a spokesman responded, “We are still developing our policy.”

Well, no shit sherlock. Again, that was not what was argued. They are debunking a straw man, not what was actually argued. I would expect better than this from a site claiming to spread the truth.

The policy would not take away guns from people who already own them. There is no indication that this policy would take guns away from people who already own guns. Rather, the policy would affect the ability of some mentally incompetent people from buying new guns.

Yes it would, because it would essentially mean those people have been adjudicated mentally defective. There’s only one class of person who can’t buy guns but is still free to possess them under federal law, and that’s people who have been charged or indicted for a felony offense. The government needs a legal basis for reporting someone to NICS. If that legal basis is that they are “mentally defected” they are prohibited from possessing firearms, even if they don’t realize they are in the system. This is just flat out wrong, and if they had consulted experts, they would have been told that.

This is a vast exaggeration of the actual policy under consideration. It would not affect all Social Security recipients, but rather those who have already been declared mentally incompetent, and thus ineligible under current law from purchasing a gun.

That wasn’t the criteria reported in the LA Times article. The LA Times article noted the proposal was that anyone who had a fiduciary assigned would be reported to NICS. These people were in no, way shape or form “adjudicated” as the law requires. Many of them, including Bitter’s grandfather, are still capable of handling a firearm safely, they just can’t deal with their own finances. We don’t want our older citizens reluctant to turn over their finances to loved ones, and risk losing property, risk their credit, or risk losing things like heat and running water because in their old age they have become forgetful and absent minded. These people are not a danger to themselves or others, and should not meet the standard for adjudication under the Gun Control Act. Politifact should be ashamed for giving such an important topic, that will affect millions of Americans, the short shrift, and should immediately correct their error.

h/t to Bearing Arms, who came to the same conclusion.

5 thoughts on “It Would Be Nice if Politifact Would Consult Experts”

  1. Politifact also concluded “Only in California could the policy lead to increased gun seizures, and only — potentially — for mentally incompetent residents of the state who would be newly added to the background check database”.
    Politifact seems to be ignoring recent confiscations in New York State, in which gun owners having sought mental health care were required to surrender their firearms afterwards, and, without having been found incompetent.

  2. What struck me about the Politifact report was how they challenged the accuracy of the headlines of three articles claiming “all” social security recipients would have their guns confiscated (of course, they are the ones who inserted the “all” word, as it was absent in each case). Even if the “all” word were implied, all you had to do was read the body of the text to find the details that it applies to a subset of recipients. In the case of the Brietbart article cited, it even has those details in the sub-heading. All Politifact had to do was read passed the 18pt type into the 14pt type, but no, they called it “false” by claiming they didn’t put all the details of the proposal in the headline. They literally judged the book “false” by its title.

  3. No need to consult experts when you’ve already artfully debunked the the strawman arguments you created and called your political opponents liars.

  4. Is there a definition on (unable to handle their own finances)? Does that mean paying bills? Buying groceries? Paying taxes? There’s a very few police and EMS people that do their own taxes. Does Bush, Obama, Rush, Stewart do THEIR own taxes? Or does someone handle that for them? Does Hillary handle her own finances, or does she have an accountant do that for her? When’s the last time she personally paid a power bill?
    Does this mean grandpa can hire college Jimmy as an accountant to handle his finances like the bigwigs do?
    Ability to handle one’s own finances seems like a very blurry line to draw for the distinction between mental stability and deficiency.

    1. Yes. If your SS check goes to a designated “representative payee” you are considered to be unable to manage your own finances.

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