Booker Receives Three Pinocchios for Claiming Toy Guns are More Regulated Than Firearms

May 13, 2019

The Washington Post's fact-checker awarded Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) three Pinocchios for his false claim that in the United States there is "more federal regulation over toy guns than real ones."

Polling in the low single digits in the Democrat presidential primary, Booker last week rolled out a 14 point policy proposal to combat gun violence which the New York Times described as one of the "the most progressive gun-control measures suggested by a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for president."

The proposal included a variety of measures that would significantly alter how firearms are regulated in the United States, including a gun licensing program that would force individuals who want to purchase a firearm to "apply for a license in much the same way one applies for a passport," according to the New York Times. 

Booker's campaign released a Medium post, detailing the Senator's proposal, writing, "there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones. While medicine, children's toys, and any number of other consumer products are subject to regulation by the federal government, firearms are exempt. In other words, gun manufacturers have little incentive to make their products safer. Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms."

Booker then simplified the argument in media appearances and tweets declaring, "So we have different regulations for toy guns and no regulations for the weapons on our streets that are killing so many people."

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post's fact-checker, on Monday morning said, "Booker's comparison of the regulations of toy guns and real guns is specious," giving him three Pinocchios for the statements.

Analyzing Booker's wording, Kessler further explained, "there are clearly many laws and regulations governing the sale, distribution and use of guns," including the ban against certain types of firearms and design features such as bump stocks which were banned by the ATF in 2018.

"Our industry is the most heavily regulated industry in the country," Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Washington Post. "No other industry is regulated at the federal, state, and local level to the extent our industry is regulated, which include design and performance standards."

Rounding out his analysis of Booker's statement, Kessler wrote, "Firearms, at just about every level, are highly regulated in the United States. Booker is calling for another level of regulation, but he can't suggest toy guns are even more highly regulated."