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February 8, 2023

What You Didn’t Hear in the State of the Union Speech About Cratering Gun Control Support

By Larry Keane

Those tuning in to watch President Biden’s State of the Union address saw and heard a few things when he entered the U.S. House of Representatives to address Congress and the nation. There is a new Speaker of the House – Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). He was seated next to Vice President Kamala Harris, a visual reminder of the divided government. Military generals and U.S. Supreme Court justices were in attendance, along with Members of Congress and senators.

President Biden banged the usual drum demanding to renew the Assault Weapons Ban. That’s the law he along with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) ushered in in 1994 and President Bill Clinton signed into law that banned the sale of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs). That ban expired in 2004 and the semiautomatic rifle has since become the most-popular selling centerfire rifle in America – with over 24.4 million in circulation today.

President Biden scolded Congress for not sending him legislation to renew this unconstitutional ban on these commonly-owned commonly-used rifles. Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in the Heller, McDonald and Bruen decisions that any such ban is unconstitutional.

What President Biden didn’t tell the American public – and won’t – is what the rest of America is saying about any proposed ban. Over half the country doesn’t want it, according to a recent poll by ABC News/Washington Post.

Cratering Support

Respondents to the poll released just days before the State of the Union speech showed that 51 percent surveyed oppose any such ban. That’s a 10-point increase from 2019 when the same question was asked. Just 47 percent of those responding – a nine point drop – voiced support for banning MSRs, the second lowest percentage reported since the question was put forth in the polls starting in 1995.

That’s not something President Biden will admit to the American public. Instead, he stuck to his worn-out tropes to demonize the rifle as he’s repeatedly done in the past. He called it an “assault weapon.” It’s not. The MSR is a semiautomatic rifle that operates the same way as popular duck hunting shotguns and semiautomatic handguns used every day for personal protection. One cartridge is expended each time the trigger is pressed.

That’s just one of President Biden’s favorite falsehoods about firearms, which have been fact-checked time an again.

“Do you realize the bullet out of an AR-15 travels five times as rapidly as a bullet shot out of any other gun?” President Biden said in Pennsylvania last summer. Not true. Fox News referenced a Field & Stream study of cartridge speeds that shot that one down.

President Biden, in that same Pennsylvania speech, questioned the rationale of why anyone would use MSRs outside of combat. Again, the president is conflating the military’s automatic M-16 and M-4 with MSRs, but he clearly ignores that these rifles are used for lawful purposes every day, including hunting, recreational target shooting and self-defense.

He wasn’t done. He also claimed that federally-licensed firearm retailers are “providing the weapons to anybody who has the money.” Again, not true. Firearms are sold only to those who are over the age of 18 and clear the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Presidential Patterns

This wasn’t the first time President Biden used the State of the Union to spread half-truths. Last year, he scolded Congress to give him one of his gun control wish-list items repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

“Repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can’t be sued, the only one,” he said.

The Associated Press called him out on that lie.

AP reported “THE FACTS: That’s false. While gun manufacturers do have legal protections from being held liable for injuries caused by criminal misuse of their weapons thanks to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, they are not exempt or immune from being sued.”

PLCAA protections aren’t dissimilar to other industries, including pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturers.

President Biden demanded unconstitutional gun bans to score a few cheap political points with radical special-interest gun control groups. The problem for Americans is he does it while ignoring the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court decisions to uphold the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and now ignores the citizens themselves.

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