Biden Calls for Gun Control During State of the Union Address
Critics argued that a number of Biden's claims about firearms were false.
During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called for a moment to "reset." And while it was in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be applied to much of his presidency. After one year in office, Biden has an approval rating near historic lows and few legislative accomplishments. Biden delivered the address to turn the page on the past year, but also to prepare the Democratic Party for this year's midterm elections.
However, the speech included many of the same calls that Biden made last year, including new gun control measures, even as recent polls show that support for gun control is at the lowest level in years.
"I ask Congress to pass proven measures to reduce gun violence," Biden said during his first official State of the Union Address. "Pass universal background checks. Why should anyone on a terrorist list be able to purchase a weapon? Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines."
The president then went off script and recycled a joke that fell flat with lawmakers: "you think the deer are wearing a Kevlar vest?"
Critics of the speech quickly noted that President Biden essentially doubled down on past statements, many of which aren't true when it comes to the firearms industry. That included Biden's calls to "repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can't be sued."
It was last year, during a White House Rose Garden speech in April, that Biden said, "Most people don't realize: the only industry in America, billion-dollar industry, that can't be sued, exempt from being sued, are gun manufacturers." Biden was referencing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). This piece of legislation was enacted in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration in order to shield gun manufacturers and dealers from civil litigation. It provided the gun makers and sellers a degree of immunity from being sued for monetary damages by the victims of gun violence and their relatives. While Biden and others have cast blame at Republicans for the PLCAA, it was actually enacted with broad bipartisan support.
Last month, Biden repeated another widely debunked claim about the Second Amendment. "There's no amendment that's absolute," Biden said. "When the (Second) amendment was passed it didn't say anybody can own a gun, any kind of gun, and any kind of weapon. You couldn't buy a cannon when this amendment was passed so there's no reason why you should be able to buy certain assault weapons. But that's another issue."
The president's claim regarding the private ownership of cannons was even given "Four Pinocchios" by the Washington Post last year.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.