Fact Check Site “Politifact” Fails to Get It, Again

Check Mark

People often rightly complain that these fact check sites are partisan hack jobs, and much of the time I think that accusation carries some weight. But much of the time it reeks of laziness, combined with not really wanting to take the time to understand the issue at hand in any detail.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe stated that Virginia law bars private sellers from getting background checks.

“Under Virginia law, if you are a non-federally licensed dealer, you cannot get a background check even if you want one. We changed that law.”

That is completely accurate, and a correct understanding of how the system works now. But that doesn’t stop Politifact from rating it “mostly false,” since you can pay an FFL to process the transfer. Way to miss the point, boneheads.

McAuliffe’s statement was completely accurate. Under the new law the State Police can run a person for free without having to have an FFL process the firearm into his inventory, and then process it out again, with all the accompanying forms and NICS checks. If a person at a gun show wants to check out a prospective buyer in a private transfer, he can go over to the Virginia State Police and ask for the check on the buyer.

Politifact is also not considering that the $25 to $35 dollar price dealers in Virginia will process private transfers for will go up if it’s mandated. That’s a bargain basement price around these parts, where transfers are mandated to go through FFLs for handguns. The cheapest FFL I could find around here that would do a transfer charged $35 bucks for it. Some shops charge as much as $50 bucks.

We’ve often argued that it would be preferable if there were a system where a person could run a check on themselves and then present it to a potential seller, who could then verify the certificate is genuine. There are ways to do this. Tom Coburn essentially offered that kind of system after Sandy Hook and Schumer rejected it. McAuliffe appears to have listened. Too bad Politifact didn’t.

13 thoughts on “Fact Check Site “Politifact” Fails to Get It, Again”

  1. At the friendlier gunshops in the DC suburbs of Maryland? $60 for the first one, and $50 for each additional one if you are doing more than one transfer.

    But Maryland is one gun a month state, so…

    Most others are $100 or more. Unless you get into more rural areas. Which I do, sometimes, for that reason.

  2. What’s really revealing is why Coburn’s idea was so objectionable, which was that it made no provisions for who owned what. It was solely focused on the sale itself and determining if the buyer was prohibited or not. But since UBCs are really backdoor registration, that was totally unacceptable.

    1. Not only that, the government could never be sure if you ran a check on yourself that you ever used it to buy a gun. It would add a layer of uncertainty over what we have now. You can ensure the validity of the certificate via cryptographic signing. It never has to report back that someone checked the validity with identifiable information. You just use a hash of the data and the signature.

      1. Yup. I LIKE Coburns proposal. The end result, I think would be MORE private sales. I would never sell to someone I didn’t know very well. That’s just me. But if I had free access to a background system like that….

  3. None of this makes sense, as long as you think that the anti-gunners are trying to actually reduce crime. As soon as you see that the end game is making all guns illegal regardless of the facts or its effect on crime, it all makes sense.

  4. Illinois implemented a system over a year ago that allows a seller to verify the buyer’s FOID card is valid and they receive an authorization code for their records.

    The system only asks for FOID# and birthdate, so no registration other than the existing gun owner registration that is the FOID card.

    When it first came online I put my own information in just to see it work. Also lets you know if you need to make a run for it…lol

    1. FOID registers owners, but not inventories. It could be a lot worse than it is (which is not great).

      On a side note I wonder, I had a valid FOID but moved out of state a few years ago, new DL, etc. If I move back in state at some point (before the expiration date on the old FOID is up) would the old one still be valid or would I need to apply for a new card?

  5. In New York State, the amount a dealer can charge is capped at $10. And they aren’t required to do a transfer if they don’t want to. Those are both in the New York Safe Act, along with the requirement that any rifle or shotgun manufactured after 1963 has to go through a dealer:

    Because of those conflicting requirements, I’m unaware of anyone who has managed to successfully transfer a gun through an FFL in a private sale. It’s my sense that if anyone actually tries that, the FFL will only buy the gun from them (at a large discount, naturally), then turn around and sell it to the other party (at a large markup).

  6. “We’ve often argued that it would be preferable if there were a system where a person could run a check on themselves and then present it to a potential seller, who could then verify the certificate is genuine”

    …and we already have that system in place (in PA), it’s called the LTCF. All carriers have passed the same check as you do when purchasing a gun at an FFL. It even has an 800 number on the back. If they would allow the average Joe to call and verify validity it would be the perfect solution, and it currently costs $20 for 5 years. Why won’t Chuckles, Fineswine and Little Napoleon approve? Because they can’t get their national registry! It’s about control…

    As an afterthought, if we were to push for this in PA, at least to cut down the cost of a used handgun transfer that currently must be completed at an FFL, what would be the chances it becomes a national trend? Do we go so far as to ‘compromise’ and agree to follow this method of transfer for private sales of rifles and shotguns, which are currently allowed without a check?

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