27/01/2016 12:12 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Ted Cruz Steps In It Over Australian Gun Laws

US Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has been pulled up by the Washington Post for telling some "whopper" tales about Australia, gun control and crime.

Cruz reckons that since Australia's 1996 gun buyback program, "the rate of sexual assaults, the rate of rapes, went up significantly, because women were unable to defend themselves."

Analysis by the Washington Post shows while the rate of sexual assaults in Australia increased slightly between 1996 and 2014, "there was no significant spike or drop after the 1996 legislative changes or buyback program".

"The increase likely is affected by the increase in reporting, and there wasn’t prevalent use of handguns for self-defense before 1996, as Cruz suggests," they wrote.

The WaPo also points out, correctly, there was no blanket exemption allowing people to use handguns for self-defence before the Howard Government introduced gun control legislation.

There also hasn't been a mass shooting in Australia since the gun buy back.

The newspaper, which once brought down a president, graded the presidential hopeful with four Pinocchios -- a whopper.

The Washington Post does not have a fifth Pinocchio.

"[W]e wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios. Despite the litany of caveats, there was a gradual increase in sexual assault rates over a decade after the 1996 changes -- which places his claim in the range of Three Pinocchios," the WaPo wrote.

"But the rates didn’t go up 'significantly' after the buyback, and there’s no evidence that changes to gun laws in Australia affected sexual assault rates or jeopardized (sic) the ability of women to protect themselves.

"His false characterization of this law and its effects tipped his statement to Four Pinocchios."

It is not the first time pro-gun lobbyists have been accused of cherry picking facts when it comes to statistics.

Cruz is currently locked in an intense Republican primary battle against the frighteningly popular Donald Trump, who is now polling at 41 percent.

Cruz notched 19 percent support in the CNN/ORC poll.