Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., isn't wrong when he says Chicago has some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the country, but he deserves an F grade for saying so, the Washington Post's Nicole Lewis argued Tuesday.
If you're confused, you're not alone.
The Post's vaunted fact-checker awarded the GOP congressman its worst possible grade, four "Pinocchios," on Tuesday after Scalise said the Windy City has some of the worst gun violence despite also having some of the strictest gun measures in the U.S.
Lewis responded by explaining that Chicago doesn't have the strictest measures and that some of its more stringent anti-gun laws have expired.
See, this is interesting because Scalise didn't say Chicago had the absolute strictest gun laws.
Here is what the Republican congressman, who returned to work recently after recovering from a politically-motivated mass shooting event, said this weekend on NBC News' "Meet the Press":
You go to a city like Chicago, some of the toughest gun laws in the country are in the city of Chicago and yet they have the worst gun violence."
It's true there is terrible gun violence in Chicago. It is also true that the Windy City has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country. The Washington Post fact-checker even comes out and agrees on the basics of Scalise's remarks – but flunks him anyway.
Here's how the Washington Post's fact-checker, which in 2012 awarded Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a "mostly true" rating for when he said "Social Security does not add one penny to our debt," explained its flunking rating for Scalise:
"The claim about the impact of Chicago's gun laws on gun violence relies on outdated gun laws and shoddy data. The state of Illinois has tough gun laws, but several of the most restrictive laws, such as a ban on handguns and a gun registry, are no longer in use," Lewis explained. "And while the city may have high instances of gun violence – it does not have the highest rate of gun violence."
The fact-check added, "Even if Scalise's data points were correct, to hold out one city as evidence the laws don't work is misleading. There are many factors that contribute to high instances of gun violence. And tough laws don't keep guns from being purchased in other states. Scalise is cherry-picking the data points to cast doubt on gun laws after a national tragedy. We've wavering between Three and Four Pinocchios, but focusing on a single city tipped us to Four."
Put more simply, Scalise was mostly right, but not quite right, so he gets four Pinocchios on a grading scale that includes "mostly true," "half true" and "mostly false."