The president likes to play it fast and loose with the facts on gun control, but this statement is easily his most blatant lie on the topic.
Let’s break this down in all the many places this is totally wrong.
First and foremost, Obama’s suggestion that felons (violent or otherwise) can purchase a firearm is untrue. It is illegal for a felon to buy or own a gun. Full stop. Even more, there are legal consequences for anyone who sells or gives guns to a felon or any prohibited person.
You’d think the president and his cadre of policy makers would be aware of this most basic gun law, but somehow they’ve completely ignored it. We’re not off to a good start.
Next, buying a gun on the Internet is not like shopping at Amazon or Ebay. When you purchase a firearm from a dealer, it is not shipped to your door with a ribbon on top. Rather, you must ship it to a federally licensed dealer and go through the normal background check.
The gun, magazines, and any other accessories must be legal in your state. There is no loophole. It is a lie to say otherwise.
The president is using highly disingenuous language to point out private sales occur when people connect through the Internet. Most states allow citizens to make, buy, or sell guns privately, so long as they are not operating as a dealer (which is illegal). Just like any other object, you could sell a personal firearm though the classified ads in a newspaper. But because this is the 21st century and the Internet is a thing, many people have started using websites to connect with each other.
Once you decide to sell a gun to someone, you must follow all the regulations laid out by the federal, state, and local governments. The seller can’t just ship it to them through the mail. If the recipient is in another state, you must ship the firearm to a dealer and the buyer must go through a background check. If you live in a state that requires background checks for all sales, you must go to a dealer who facilitates the check, for a fee. Otherwise, the buyer and seller can meet in person, make the transaction and keep records of the exchange.
The “internet loophole” is a variation on the president’s thoroughly discredited “gun show loophole.” Quite simply, there isn’t a loophole. There are just normal people talking and trading with each other, as they have for the entire history of our country.
If the president is really concerned about further decreasing the homicide rate, which has dropped significantly as many gun laws have loosened and gun sales hit an all time high, he could do so without divisive partisan lies.