A note on Obama’s claim about how easy it is for a teenager to obtain a gun

Jul 12, 2016 | Featured

Obama Dallas Police Memorial Service

During his memorial address this afternoon by President Obama in Dallas he had this to say: “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than it is to get his hands on a computer or even a book” (see 1:14:10 into the clip).

Since the president talks about teenagers, it should be noted that it is already against federal law for some one under age 21 to buy a handgun, such as a Glock, from a licensed firearms dealer.

Thus if the president is talking about legally purchased guns his statement is wrong.

As to the ease of obtaining a book or a computer, there are 80 public libraries in Chicago and 95 public high schools (of course, there are also 92 private high schools in the city).  For a city of 228 square miles, there is a public library every 2.85 square miles (228 square miles/80).  Since books and computers are also available for teenagers at public high schools, while the schools are not likely to be equally spread out, you have on average either a library or high school every 1.3 square miles (if a school or library is in the middle of that area, that means an average maximum distance of .65 miles).  While some people will be located right in the middle of the distance between libraries or public high schools, most people will be closer than that.

Two cautions should be raised for these numbers.  The public schools and libraries are probably not equally spread out.  That would  mean some distances are larger than the .65 mile average maximum distance.  On the other hand, given that much of the city is industrial and people don’t live in those areas, the true density of public high schools and libraries is probably significantly higher.  We have no idea which of these two effects are larger, but over all it seems unlikely that the distances are

Possibly the president is talking about easy access to illegally obtained guns, but libraries and public high schools don’t charge anything to get access to computers or books and illegal guns are not free.  Possibly gangs are so closer than than these public libraries and  high schools, but it is still pretty obvious that it still isn’t easier to obtain a gun given that access to these public high schools and  libraries are free.



  1. Alberto Sabater

    This president is making conjectures that the law enforcement people are remiss in controlling the proliferation of illegal guns, such that it is easily obtainable even for a 12 year old kid. There is already a law that prohibits selling firearms to kids below the age of 25. Is he not reading the law? If a 12 year old has in his possession a hand gun it is for sure not coming from legally obtainable sources.

    • アーロンちぅフ

      That isn’t what he said though. He didn’t say proliferation of illegal weapons is rampant, which it may or may not be, and something must be done to stop it. I would agree with that in spirit.

      He makes blanket statements which just aren’t true.

      • johnrlott

        Did you actually read the post? It doesn’t look like you did since we discussed both legal and illegally obtained guns.

    • Phillip

      That was clearly stated in the article.

  2. Zundfolge

    I’m sure he’d like to make it more difficult to buy “More Guns, Less Crime” than it is to buy a Glock in a city like Chicago or DC.

  3. Chris Bennett

    He is very deliberate.

    It is all part of the propaganda to pass more gun laws.

    The average viewer will join the dots as follows: relaxed gun laws = communities being flooded with guns = teenagers getting guns daily = increase in violence and violent crime = reason to ban guns so our kids don’t get them from newspaper vendors like the president said.

  4. Capt. Thomas

    I live in a neighborhood where virtually everyone owns multiple guns. There are only approximately 150 homes and yet 120 people are NRA range safety officers. It’s a hunt and riding club with trap skeet Rifle and Pistol ranges. There has never been , not once ever, since its Inception in 1970, been a violent crime. Go figure.

    • Brad Hobbs

      Criminals are smart enough to go elsewhere

      Sounds like a great place to live.

  5. Bob

    south-side of chi-town, a teenager can get a gun. No checks needed. Strick gun laws on the books. Hey obamatard, that’s where you are from Chicago, gun related shootings and killings , after all, BLM

  6. Lee Sanders

    Issue isn’t really gun control. True emphasis is expanding the base of the faithful who will support w/o facts. Facts do not sway the faithful. Obama has built a huge power base that he may lend to Hillary, for the right price. Gun control battles are a delaying action while the real offensive is being ignored. At some point, w/ the stroke of a pen, we shall all be slaves. Many will be happy, the rest will be criminals.


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