Yes, that is sarcasm in our headline. Anybody who has ever heard Joe Biden speak publicly knows he wants to ban firearms. It is hard to find any occasion where he doesn’t talk about banning guns. It is likely that he talks about it in his sleep.
Nonetheless, we do feel it is important to point out whenever he renews his call to ban firearms, as he did last week while speaking at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference.
In the middle of his speech, it seemed that Biden realized he had not spoken about banning firearms, so without any sort of transition, he threw in:
I know I ma- — make some of you uncomfortable, but that little state above me, in Delaware, is one of the — has the highest rate — one of the highest rates of gun ownership. But guess what? We’re going to ban assault weapons again come hell or high water. And high-capacity magazines. When we did it last time, it reduced mass death.
Almost everything he said in that relatively brief string of words is not accurate—except, perhaps, the part about making some of the people in attendance “uncomfortable.”
First, the event was held in Baltimore, MD, which is not south of Delaware, but to the west. The “little” state to the north of Baltimore is Pennsylvania. Perhaps that’s a little nit-picky, and maybe Biden had some other point of reference in mind when he said the state was “above me,” but it’s hard to imagine what. Considering the president’s extensive list of things he speaks about without any apparent knowledge, we’re going to go with he also lacks a basic understanding of U.S. geography.
Then there’s his claim that Delaware has “one of the highest rates of gun ownership. That’s only true if you consider ranking no higher than 30th out of 50 as high. While there is no consensus on ranking states by rate of gun ownership, we found the majority of sources put Delaware in the bottom 10 states, with some putting it at the very bottom. One source did put the state at number 30, but with more than half the states ranked higher, one could hardly consider even that outlier as qualifying as “one of the highest states.”
His third point, his claim that he will achieve his goal of banning most semi-automatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns—what he refers to as “assault weapons”—appears to be the new talking point, upping his usual claim that we simply “need” to enact such a ban. During his recent State of the Union speech, he demanded a ban. Now he seems more prone to guaranteeing it. It’s unlikely that he has the ability to enact such a ban through Congress, so perhaps he intends to abuse his executive authority—as he has done with stabilizing braces.
Whether he is able to pull off some sort of legislative miracle, or if he tries to ban guns by Executive Order, neither route is likely to survive a legal challenge—one NRA would eagerly file, if needed—as the Supreme Court has made clear that banning firearms “in common use” would be unconstitutional. There are few firearms, if any, that are more “in common use” today than semi-automatic firearms. The same goes for the magazines that are commonly sold with those firearms, which Biden considers “high-capacity.”
Finally, there’s Biden’s completely debunked claim that the 1994 ban on semi-autos “reduced mass death.” A number of studies have consistently proven that the ’94 ban had no impact on crime, mostly because “the banned guns were never used in more than a modest fraction of gun murders.”
It’s hard to imagine anyone could be so wrong, so frequently, using so few words, but that seems to have become SOP for Biden. When he speaks, he will rail against guns and the Second Amendment, and when he does that, he will be wrong on the facts.
But make no mistake: no matter how misinformed Joe Biden might be on firearms, he still wields an enormous amount of power and influence over public policy merely by virtue of his office. It will take continuing vigilance and dedicated opposition to thwart his intentions. And if hell and high water won’t stop him, the combined efforts of the NRA, its members, and its supporters must.