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Biden uses Nashville shooting tragedy to call for gun control, makes false claims

By Ben Marquis
|
March 29, 2023

In the wake of a tragic mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, in which three children and three adult employees were murdered before the shooter was killed by police, President Joe Biden wasted little time in demanding that Congress enact stricter gun control laws.

In calling for more restrictions on the Second Amendment, however, Biden made several false claims that exposed the limitations of his own knowledge with regard to the particular firearms and gun rights that he seeks to regulate, according to a Fox News report.

Biden claims he's a "Second Amendment guy" — calls for more control

President Biden traveled to Durham, North Carolina, on Tuesday to deliver a speech on the economy but first took a few moments to discuss what had occurred in Nashville, offer condolences to the victims and their families, and make his call for more gun control laws.

"As a nation -- this is not hyperbole -- as a nation, we owe these families more than our prayers. We owe them action," Biden said. "You know, we have to do more to stop this gun violence that are ripping communities apart and ripping apart the soul of this nation; to protect our children so they learn how to read and write instead of duck and cover in the classroom. You know, we need to act. These are weapons of war."

The president professed himself to be "a Second Amendment guy" because he owns shotguns, but said, " You know, but our states -- you know, everybody thinks somehow the Second Amendment is absolute. You’re not allowed to go out and own a -- an automatic weapon. You’re not allowed to own a machine gun. You’re not allowed to own a flamethrower. You’re not allowed to own so many other things."

Fox News noted that President Biden's claims there were inaccurate, as fully automatic weapons and machineguns are legal for American citizens to own, provided they meet heightened eligibility and background check requirements and pay a special $200 tax to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Further, flamethrowers are also perfectly legal for American citizens to own, as are countless other unique or uncommon weapons -- including actual weapons of war -- that may be highly regulated by the ATF but are technically not illegal.

Inaccurate statistics on childhood deaths

Biden wasn't done uttering falsities about firearms, however, as he proceeded to claim: "These guns are the number -- gun- -- this is hard to believe -- I never thought when I started my public life -- that guns would be the number one killer of children in America. Guns: number one. It’s sick."

That doesn't appear to be exactly true, though, as Fox News cited the most recent figures as of 2020 for childhood deaths as compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed that motor vehicles remained the top cause of death for children aged 1-17.

Under the "Unintentional Injury" category for the 1-17 age bracket, out of a total of 4,552 deaths, 2,159 were due to motor vehicles compared to 120 for firearms, which also trailed behind other causes of death like drowning, poisoning, suffocation, fire, and transportation.

As for the category of "Homicide," of which there were 1,366 firearms-related deaths for the 1-17 age bracket, when combined with the 120 "unintentional" firearms deaths brings the total to 1,518 -- which is lower than the 2,159 "unintentional" motor vehicle-related deaths for children.

Questionable ballistics claims

President Biden proceeded in that speech to demand that Congress pass an "assault weapons ban" and made more dubious claims about how the bullets from such weapons "blows up" inside the human body.

After his speech, as he was preparing to board Air Force One, Biden spoke with reporters and made the same questionable claim as he seemingly sought to compare the terminal ballistics of handgun and revolver rounds with those fired from semiautomatic rifles. He also repeated the falsity that machineguns are completely illegal and that the Second Amendment is "not absolute."

Biden said "what happens when a bullet enters a body when it’s from a revolver or from another gun. It goes in a straight line and goes out," then added, "But what happens now with that assault weapon — with a AR-15 — it goes in the body and it explodes in the body, and it goes in at a significantly higher speed."

Biden has reached "the full extent of my executive authority to do, on my own, anything about guns"

In the two days that have elapsed since the terrible shooting at the Nashville school, President Biden has repeatedly called upon Congress to pass more gun control laws and specifically called out Republican lawmakers for refusing to agree to his demands on a so-called "assault weapons ban" and other restrictions, as has White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during the daily briefing.

The apparent urgency behind those calls was revealed Tuesday morning while addressing reporters when he was asked if there were any additional action he could take but replied, "I have gone the full extent of my executive authority to do, on my own, anything about guns."

The president added, "The Congress has to act. The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre; it’s a crazy idea. They’re against that. And so, I think the Congress should be passing the assault weapons ban."