Politicians Tell Lies

Catching Those Canards

President Joe Biden is shown here during a recent appearance in New York City, where he talked about guns and the Second Amendment, two subjects he should avoid, according to critics. (Screen snip, YouTube, PBS)

I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to surprise anybody, but I’ve had a decent amount of fun over the years needling politicians who say things that are demonstrably untrue. Apparently, most believe they can get away with it because much of the public and most journalists lack the savvy to catch them and call them out.

Presently, one of the favorite targets for this kind of public skewering is Joe Biden, who has made a habit of saying inaccurate things regarding the Second Amendment. Recently, when he was in New York City to talk about rising violent crime and how he intends to deal with it, the president trotted out one of his favorite canards: the Second Amendment doesn’t really protect everyone’s right to own a gun.

According to PBS, Biden said the following at a press event: “There’s no amendment that’s absolute. When the amendment was passed, it didn’t say anybody can own a gun — any kind of gun — and any kind of weapon.”

Last year, Biden got into trouble with Second Amendment scholars and none other than Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker. Biden had stated, “The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”

Several people, including one I know personally—David Kopel, scholar, author and Second Amendment expert based at the Independence Institute in Colorado—just shook their heads. Kopel matter-of-factly told the Washington Post, “Everything in that (Biden’s) statement is wrong.”

David Kopel, author and Second Amendment authority with the Independence Institute. (Dave Workman photo)

This concurred with Kessler’s 2021 analysis of the president’s prevarication.

“Biden has already been fact-checked on this claim — and it’s been deemed false,” Kessler wrote last summer. “We have no idea where he conjured up this notion about a ban on cannon ownership in the early days of the Republic, but he needs to stop making this claim.”

One might say the same of all the president’s remarks about the Second Amendment. Perhaps Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a national grassroots gun rights organization, summed it up best, albeit with a very sharp tongue.


“The Second Amendment did not place limits on the kinds of arms people could own, nor did it say anything about who could own guns,” Gottlieb said. “Biden is making that up out of thin air.”

He asserted Biden “can’t resist” perpetuating a falsehood, despite the fact he’s been called on it. Regarding the cannon claim, the Washinton Post’s Kessler awarded “Four Pinocchio’s” to the president, the equivalent of publicly calling him a liar. This dubious recognition harkens back to the Disney tale of the wooden puppet whose nose grew every time he told a fib.

The Capitol Hill Times was equally blunt: “Joe Biden lies so often and willfully about guns that if he was a podcaster about any other topic, the aging rockers might trip over their walkers to cut all ties with him.”


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In Good Company

It’s pretty clear to most people what the President doesn’t know about gun rights — and he’s got company in the form of recently-sworn Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell.

As we’ve discussed in the past, state preemption laws—which place sole authority for firearms regulation in the hands of state legislatures—are under attack in several states. This brings us to Harrell, a perennial anti-gunner who has been critical of preemption statutes for several years. When he was on the city council in 2012, he reportedly toyed with the idea of running a statewide citizen initiative to repeal the preemption law.


Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, with Police Chief Adrian Diaz, incorrectly claimed very few states have preemption statutes. (YouTube, The Seattle Channel)

Recently, Harrell did a presser on crime in the Jet City, during which he said something so wrong it made headlines in at least three online firearms news publications.

Readers should pay attention because it shows just how anti-gunners might be attacking preemption where you live.

“We have too many guns pouring into the cities, and into our country,” Harrell asserted at just over 31 minutes into a 41-minute press event broadcast by The Seattle Channel (link below). “And you will hear this year me lead efforts on trying to get relief from the exemption RCW 9.41.290. You’ll hear me talking about that. I don’t know how many lives have to be lost before we realize we’re one of the few states that has that kind of restriction allowing the state to govern the laws we need for our city of Seattle.”

Since Washington adopted preemption back in the early 1980s, more than 40 other states have passed similar statutes. Since there were still 50 states last time I checked, that would make Washington one of the majority of states which have wisely adopted preemption over the past 38 years.

Sadly, if some authority figure makes the same observation in a different state, without a little fact checking, the myth becomes fact.



There Goes Rasmussen, Again.

When it comes to gauging public opinion, veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen is one of the best. Recently his firm questioned adult Americans about whether they wanted more gun control laws, or prefer to enforce the ones already on the books.

Rasmussen learned “63 percent of American Adults believe the United States needs stricter enforcement of existing gun control laws. Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree.” That smaller group (more than 2-to-1 on the losing side) want more gun laws, even though there’s a strong argument the laws we have already have failed miserably.

According to Rasmussen, “69 percent of Republicans, 28% of Democrats and 53% of the unaffiliated (Independents) say the country doesn’t need stricter gun laws.” The breakdown by party also revealed 63 percent of Democrats “believe the United States needs stricter gun control laws, but that belief is shared by only 25% of Republicans and 37% of those not affiliated with either major party.”

Rasmussen tossed this in, probably just to make things more interesting: “Men (54%) are more likely than women (44%) to say the country does not need stricter gun control laws. Women are slightly more likely than men to favor stricter enforcement of existing gun control laws.”

Rasmussen’s surveys routinely have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points, with a 95 percent level of confidence.



Armed Robbery Gone Bad

A would-be armed robber in DeKalb County, Georgia will not be doing any more stickups, thanks to the quick action of a legally-armed citizen who happened to be present when the suspect attempted to rob a pizza business.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution gave the incident detailed coverage, noting the unidentified armed citizen will not face any charges.

A 24-year-old Decatur man, identified as Ontario Davis, reportedly entered the pizza place wearing a mask and holding a handgun. He ordered everyone to get on the floor, then told employees, “One of y’all get up and get the money out of the register,” the newspaper said.

The 46-year-old armed customer waited until the suspect turned his back, and then drew his own sidearm and ordered him to drop the gun. Instead, the newspaper said, Davis opened fire, and the armed citizen fired back. The robber missed, the citizen didn’t.

The fatally-wounded robbery suspect staggered outside and made it all the way across the street, where responding police found him. He was transported to a hospital, but died. No one else was injured.

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