Biden says he’s pushing to ban firearms, including some 9mm pistols – PolitiFact says he didn’t

 

On Tuesday, July 21, 2021, President Joe Biden said, “The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon, whether it’s a, whether it’s a 9mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things.” Despite Biden’s comments being recorded on video, PolitiFact fact-checked as “false” a claim by Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, stating Biden “says he wants to ban handguns.”

Summary

  • During a townhall event hosted by CNN on July 21, 2021, President Joe Biden was asked about how he would address gun violence from his position in the federal government.
  • Biden said, “The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon, whether it’s a, whether it’s a 9mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things, but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term.”
  • Biden’s comments were recorded live by CNN.
  • House Republicans tweeted the clip, with the caption, “President Biden says he wants to ban handguns. House Republicans will NEVER allow this to happen the #SecondAmendment is a RIGHT.”
  • PolitiFact labeled the House Republican tweet “false.”
  • PolitiFact states it gave the “false” rating because “Biden was talking about banning assault weapons and magazines that carry 20 to 120 rounds of ammunition. Those policies would not affect the most popular handgun models. Even if some smaller set of pistols came under such a ban, that would not translate to a ban on handguns across the board.”
  • By asserting Biden’s policies “would not affect the most popular handgun models,” PolitiFact tacitly admits Biden’s policy proposal could result in a ban of certain handguns.
  • The House Republican tweet is not an absolute statement that Biden “ wants to ban all handguns” only that he “wants to ban handguns” (a statement here that could include any type of handgun). If any type of handgun fell under Biden’s policies for a proposed ban, the House Republican statement is a flatly true one.
  • While describing weapons that can accept magazines with a capacity greater than 20 rounds Biden’s quote clearly references 9mm pistols (a handgun) and he said “I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things.”
  • Biden’s quote could reasonably be construed as an endorsement of banning handguns that can carry accept 20-round magazines or more.

During an Ohio town hall event hosted by CNN, Biden was asked about his gun policies and he said, “The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon, whether it’s a, whether it’s a 9mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things, but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term.” Biden’s statement was one that states he is trying to ban the sale of firearms, be they rifles or 9mm pistols, that accept magazines with 20-round or higher capacities. Biden was not, at this moment, cut off by the town hall moderator and had the time to talk without interruption. If he intended to retract his statement suggesting he was in favor of banning types of handguns, such as 9mm pistols, he never took the opportunity to do so.

House Republicans took note of Biden’s comment and accurately tweeted a message that Biden says he wants to ban handguns (in this case, 9mm pistols capable of accepting magazines with 20 or more rounds).

PolitiFact called the House Republican tweet “false” and asserted “Biden wants to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” and “The most popular handguns would face no restrictions under Biden’s policies.” As part of its argument, PolitiFact noted the Sig Sauer P365 was ranked the most popular handgun “in a 2020 survey of Alabama gun dealers” and the National Rifle Association’s Shooting Illustrated Magazine named it the Handgun of the Year.

PolitiFact states, “The standard magazine for the P365 is 10 rounds, and depending on the model, the weapon can accommodate a 15-round magazine.” PolitiFact then adds, “Nothing Biden said would curtail the purchase of the Sig Sauer P365. Nor would his policies touch any of the 15 standard handguns in the Alabama survey.” What PolitiFact failed to note is that there are after-market magazines for the P365 capable of holding up to 20 rounds of ammunition. There are also 30-round magazines for another handgun listed in the Alabama survey, the Glock 48; and 21-round magazines for the Sig Sauer P320, making PolitiFact factually incorrect on multiple counts.

The very same Alabama survey PolitiFact references also says another of two guns listed among the top most popular handguns, the Glock 19X and Glock 45, are capable of accepting magazines with an up to 33-round capacity, meaning PolitiFact was not only incorrect when it asserted Biden’s policies would not touch “any of the 15 standards handguns in the Alabama survey” but PolitiFact also appears not to have thoroughly reviewed its own sourcing in its fact-checking claim.

Beyond those “popular” handguns (as asserted by a single survey), numerous other pistols also accept magazines with a greater than 20-round capacity, including the PSA 9mm AR, the PSA AKV, the CZ Scorpion.

PolitiFact also claims full transcript “goes further to sink this claim” raised by the GOP tweet. PolitiFact never explains how it is that the further context of the transcript “further” sinks the GOP claim. The transcript is readily available at the above hyperlink. The full paragraphs surrounding Biden’s comments on 9mm pistols read:

“Now, I’m not being a wise guy.  There’s no reason you should — have you seen my gun violence legislation I’ve introduced?  As you know — because you’re so involved — actually, crime is down; gun violence and murder rates are up.  Guns.  I’m the only guy that ever got passed legislation, when I was a senator, that made sure we eliminated assault weapons.  The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon — whether it’s a — whether it’s a 9-millimeter pistol or whether it’s a rifle — is ridiculous.

I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things, but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term.  So here’s what I’ve done: The people who, in fact, are using those weapons are acquiring them illegally — illegally.  And so what happens is, I’ve gotten ATF — Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms — I have them increase their budget and increase their capacity, along with the Justice Department, to go after the gun shops that are not abiding by the law of doing background checks.  (Applause.)  For real.  That’s number one.

Number two — number two, we’re in a position where you — most of the cities — and I don’t know enough — I think you’ve had a lot of gun violence here in Cincinnati.  I think it was up to — what? — how many — how many how dead?  Five hundred over a period.  Don’t hold me to the number — whatever it was.  But my point is, all across the country.  And it’s not because the gun shops in the cities are selling these guns.  They are either shadow gun dealers and/or gun shops that are not abiding by the law.”

PolitiFact concludes its “fact-check” by stating, “House Republicans said Biden wants to ban handguns. That is incorrect. Biden was talking about banning assault weapons and magazines that carry 20 to 120 rounds of ammunition. Those policies would not affect the most popular handgun models. Even if some smaller set of pistols came under such a ban, that would not translate to a ban on handguns across the board.”

The problem with this concluding remark by PolitiFact is first, that it contradicts itself by admitting some handguns could be affected by a ban in the way Biden described it. Second, PolitiFact’s fact-check suggests that unless Biden’s policies “transltate to a ban on handguns across the board” the statement that “Biden wants to ban handguns” is an incorrect one. Never did the House GOP tweet in question claim Biden wanted to ban all handguns, only that he wanted to ban handguns. The GOP tweet was not such an absolute statement and, in any event where one or more classes of handguns capable of accepting 20 or more rounds are banned by Biden, the GOP statement is absolutely true.

Leave a Reply