At The Federalist: Biden’s Latest Anti-Gun Claims Aren’t Just False — They Don’t Even Make Sense

Jun 21, 2023 | op-ed

Dr. John Lott has a new piece at The Federalist.

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Biden’s gun control speech on Friday at the National Safer Communities Summit in Connecticut got attention because the President nonsensically concluded with “God save the Queen.” However, this was not his only incoherent claim. 

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In his speech, Biden stated: “Put a pistol on a brace, and it ma- — turns into a gun. Makes them where you can have a higher-caliber weapon — a higher-caliber bullet coming out of that gun. It’s essentially turning it into a short-barreled rifle, which has been a weapon of choice by a number of mass shooters.”

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Of course, a “stabilizing brace” doesn’t turn a pistol into a gun. A pistol already is a gun.

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What’s more, stabilizing braces have only been used in two mass public shooting (Dayton, Ohio, in 2019 and Boulder, Colorado, in 2021), but there is no evidence that the braces even made any difference in these attacks. 

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Even so, few realize that stabilizing braces were originally designed to allow veterans with hand disabilities to hold handguns, not for mass shooters to commit a crime more effectively. The braces are straps that allow the disabled person to keep hold of the gun when it recoils. Without a gun and a steady aim, disabled people are very vulnerable to criminals. But Biden will never mention that.

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Even when pistol braces are used among law-abiding gun owners who are not disabled, their personal efforts to ensure steadier aim are not inherently negative or dangerous.

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If Biden is worried about the dangerous potential of more powerful guns with less recoil, he should also address the various ways they can be obtained apart from stabilizing braces. For example, rifles are powerful weapons — 70 out of 82 bullets used in rifles are ranked as more powerful than a .223. If a criminal wants reduced recoil, he can simply use a rifle — heavier guns dampen the recoil, and rifles weigh more.

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What’s more, in guns with short barrels, such as pistols, the bullet leaves the barrel before full pressure is developed and travels at a lower velocity. However, if an attacker wants a more powerful and more compact gun, there are alternatives to handguns. He can easily saw off part of the barrel of the rifle. After all, when facing multiple life sentences for murder, an additional penalty for sawing off the end of a rifle won’t make much difference.

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But even Biden’s claim that short-barrel rifles are the weapon of choice for these mass murderers is also ridiculous. Again, only two of the roughly 100 mass public shooters over the last 25 years involved handguns with pistol braces. In 56.4 percent of mass shootings, onlyhandguns were used (no braces), in 14.9 percent, rifles were used, and in 16 percent of attacks, rifles and another type of gun were used.

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Finally, there is Biden’s screaming claim that “We are sending dangerous weapons, particularly assault weapons, to Mexico.” Mexico’s president does indeed blame America for his country’s high murder rate — in some recent years, it has been six times higher than the rate in the U.S. 

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According to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), close to 70 percent of all criminally-owned guns in Mexico traced from 2009-2014 came from the U.S. A significant number of these were purchased legally in southwest states before being criminally smuggled over the border. 

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However, these figures are based only on the limited number of guns that Mexican authorities have seized, traced, and submitted to the agency for checking. For instance, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF in 2007-08, though it seized 29,000. Of those, they successfully traced 6,000, and 5,114 (or 85 percent) of those traceable weapons came from the U.S. Thus, only about 17.6 percent of the firearms that Mexico collected were traced back to the U.S. That’s a small subset. 

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More recent data from the ATF for 2016 to 2021 even shows that the 70 percent has declined to around 50 percent, but we don’t have the rest of the breakdown in the numbers for this later period. And a 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report complained of limited collaboration with Mexican authorities on tracing guns.

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And what about the fully automatic guns and grenades used to commit murders in Mexico? You can’t just go into gun stores in the U.S. and buy these types of weapons. However, between 2005 and 2014, the Mexican government seized more than 13,000 grenades.

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“These kinds of guns — the auto versions of these guns — they are not coming from El Paso,” Ed Head, an Arizona firearms instructor with over two decades of experience as a U.S. Border Patrol agent told Fox News. “They are coming from other sources. They are brought in from Guatemala. They are brought in from places like China. They are being diverted from the military. But you don’t get these guns from the U.S.”

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Similarly, as an anonymous Tijuana-based police authority told Fox News, “Most cartels buy in bulk, and the weapons are coming from places like Nicaragua and other South American countries. Also Asia and some from the Middle East.” 

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Machine gunsgrenades, and other weapons are also stolen from the Mexican military before being sold to these cartels.

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Unfortunately, the news media and their “fact-checkers” are prone to ignore Biden’s false gun claims from misstating how guns work to the source of Mexico’s violent crime problem. Sure, once in a while they acknowledge how he lied about a U.S. cannon ban at the country’s founding. But they refuse to address his lies and how they are unjustly shaping today’s public opinion surrounding gun ownership. 

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John R. Lott, Jr., “Biden’s Latest Anti-Gun Claims Aren’t Just False — They Don’t Even Make Sense,” The Federalist, June 20, 2023.

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