US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently pointed out the lack of enforcement of current gun laws:
Hi, I’m Ted Cruz and this is a Freedom Minute.
When it comes to violent gun crime, the government should use every tool to punish and deter violent criminals.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has failed to make this a priority. In 2010, more than 15,000 fugitives and felons tried to illegally purchase a firearm. The Obama Justice Department prosecuted only 44. Fourty-four out of over 15,000. That’s completely unacceptable.
Instead of going after criminals, politicians in Washington are working to try to take away the constitutional rights for law-abiding Americans.
Our rights as citizens matter most in times of crisis.
That’s why I believe under no circumstance should Congress be allowed to undermine our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The Bill of Rights is too important.
Thanks for listening. This is Ted Cruz with a Freedom Minute.
The Fact Checker over at the Washington Post decided to look into this claim. After deciding that Senator Cruz was correct on the low number of prosecutions (only 44), they decided to play a little game of “Bush Did It Too” and found that the Bush Administration was not much better.
Cruz, in a talking point he also repeated on the Lou Dobbs show, placed the blame for this problem on the Obama administration. He got one set of numbers wrong — in 2010 the number of felons and fugitive denied a firearm was actually 48,000, not 15,000 — but the number of prosecutions he cited (44) was on the nose. That’s out of nearly 73,000 total denials, for a variety of reasons, by the FBI.
Still, we were intrigued by his partisan framing of the problem. So we dug into the numbers again to see if there was much difference between Obama and the administration of George W. Bush in prosecuting such cases…
…But the differences are really on the margins. Neither the Bush administration nor Obama administration ever prosecuted even ¼ of one percent of the people who failed to pass a criminal background check.
“The senator did not mention President Bush, did not say Bush was better,” said Cruz communications director Sean Rushton. “We’re talking about the current administration, which we are debating on its current hard push for new gun regulation. Obama’s prosecution stats stand on their own, regardless of the Bush record. And the underlying point is the same — why increase restrictions on law-abiding people when we’re not prosecuting under current law?”
Do we need more laws to ignore?