Trump Battleground State Ad Distorts Biden Position on Guns

October 20, 2020 by Dan McCue
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

This is an installment of an ongoing series of political advertising fact checks during the 2020 campaign. If you would like to submit an advertisement for consideration, please email a link to [email protected].

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign claims in an advertisement running on YouTube and select battleground states across the country that his Democratic rival Joe Biden “openly admitted” during a CNN interview that he planned to take all guns out of the hands of American citizens.

As Biden himself might say, it turns out the ad is full of malarkey.

The advertisement begins with a narrator informing viewers that “Joe Biden openly admitted his plan to violate our Second Amendment rights.”

The ad then shows Biden being interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“To gun owners out there who say, ‘Well, a Biden administration means they’re going to come for my guns …:’”

At which point the camera snaps to Biden saying “Bingo. You’re right.”

The word “Bingo,” in all caps flashes on the screen, followed by images of riots and protests, as the announcer says , “While Antifa terrorizes our cities and radical leftists call to defund the police, Biden and Harris would enact unconstitutional gun control measures.”

In fact, Biden’s full response to Cooper’s question was “Bingo. You’re right, if you have an assault weapon. The fact of the matter is they should be illegal, period.”

Biden goes on to say that banning Americans from purchasing assault weapons would not be unconstitutional, and further explained that he would not confiscate any firearm that has already been legally purchased.

The advertisement seeks to emphasize the alleged “unconstitutional gun control measures” by flashing a citation under those words to an op-ed that ran in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The only problem is the op-ed isn’t about guns, but rather is a critique of Biden’s proposal to ban high-capacity magazines.

While the piece opposes Biden’s position on high-capacity magazines, anyone who bothered to read it would find it quotes the former vice president himself saying “I respect the Second Amendment”, and adding “I have a shotgun … my sons hunt.”

Going back to the interview with Anderson Cooper, the two had been discussing the recent rash of mass shootings across the United States, and moved on to gun-related measures Biden actually supports, measures that can be found on his campaign website.

These include requiring background checks for all gun sales, closing known loopholes in those background checks, and limiting the “stockpiling of weapons” by restricting the number of firearms an individual can legally purchase in one a month.

When it comes to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, Biden has said he wants to ban their manufacture and sale and institute a program to buy back those weapons and magazines that are already on the street.

Cooper pushed back at some of Biden’s assertions, saying studies have shown the now-expired 1994 assault weapons ban that Biden supported as a senator wasn’t proven to have reduced crime.

Biden conceded that might be true, but then questioned why anyone would really need an assault weapon in the first place.

“Does anybody think it made any sense that someone is able to walk into a gun store, buy an assault weapon that has multiple rounds or buy an assault weapon that has a hundred rounds?” Biden asked.

Later in the interview, when Cooper asked if individuals would be allowed to keep the weapons they already own, Biden said they would.

“Right now, there’s no legal way that I’m aware of that you could deny them the right if they’ve … legally purchased them,” Biden said. 

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