FACT CHECK: Joe Biden Makes Claims About Guns, NRA And Federal Deficit At Recent Campaign Event

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

President Joe Biden made a series of claims in remarks at a June 20 campaign reception in Kentfield, California. Check Your Fact looked into five of them.

“All the things we’ve done so far — and I was able in the first two years to cut the federal debt by 1 trillion 700 billion dollars.”

Biden likely meant the federal deficit, not the debt. While the deficit was cut by $1.7 trillion, it is not because of Biden’s policies but due to COVID-19 pandemic spending expiring. Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), previously told Check Your Fact in September 2022 that “80% of that $1.8 trillion or so falling deficit is because of expiring or waning COVID relief.”

CRFB published an October 2022 blog post stating that “[w]hile the Biden Administration has tried to take credit for this ‘historic deficit reduction,’ we estimate that over 100 percent was the result of shrinking or expiring COVID relief.” (Bold emphasis is from the CRFB blog post.)

Biden has continued to repeat this claim despite multiple fact-checking outlets stating it is misleading. The Washington Post Fact-Checker gave Biden a “Bottomless Pinocchio” for repeating the misleading claim. (RELATED: Did Drug Companies Spend $100 Million Lobbying Against The Inflation Reduction Act?)

“And so, we have to change — there’s a lot of things we can change, because the American people by and large agree you don’t need a weapon of war.  I’m a Second Amendment guy.  I taught it for four years, six years in law school.  And guess what?  It doesn’t say that you can own any weapon you want.  It says there are certain weapons that you just can’t own.  Even during when it was passed, you couldn’t own a cannon.  You can’t own a machine gun.”

The Second Amendment does not specify which weapons individuals can and can’t own. The text of the Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Biden has previously claimed that individuals could not own cannons when the Second Amendment was passed. This claim is false and was previously debunked by Check Your Fact in June 2022.

Ownership of machine guns is highly regulated in the U.S., according to CNN. Individuals can own machine guns in 30+ states, but due to federal law, these machine guns must be manufactured and registered before 1986, the outlet reported. Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions (ATF) show that over 700,000 machine guns are legally registered across the U.S. as of May 2021.

“Individuals who are not government employees may not own machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986, which is the date the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act was signed into law,” David Kopel, the research director at the Independence Institute, told Check Your Fact in an email. “18 U.S. Code section 922(o). Individuals may own machine guns manufactured before May 19, 1986, provided that the individuals comply with the tax and registration rules of the National Firearms Act of 1934. In short, the machine gun must be registered with ATF and the individual must pay a one-time $200 tax.”

“So I started around the country, and we convinced $300 billion worth of investment — $300 billion worth of investment, building these new — they call “fabs,” creating jobs that are of consequence for people.”

Biden signed the Chips and Science Act in August 2022, which would provide $52.7 billion for semiconductor research, development and manufacturing, according to a White House fact sheet. Since he signed the Chips Act, companies have announced over $2o0 billion in private investments into semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S., according to Semiconductor Industry Association.

“Africa is going to have 1 billion people by the end of this decade. A billion people. A billion.”

Africa had a population of 1.39 billion in 2021, according to Statista. World Bank data shows that Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 1.18 billion in 2021. The continent reached the 1 billion figure in 2009.

“And the fact that the NRA has such overwhelming power — you know, the NRA is the only outfit in the nation that we cannot sue as an institution.  They got — they — before this — I became president, they passed legislation saying you can’t sue them.”

The National Rifle Association (NRA) can be sued. The NRA has recently been sued by donors, New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Giffords Law Center.

“President Biden is wrong. The NRA can indeed be sued like any other organization,” an NRA spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email. (RELATED: Has Joe Biden Visited The Border More Than Once?)

Biden was likely referring to gun manufacturers. While manufacturers have a degree of legal immunity due to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, they can still be sued for “damages in certain scenarios, such as ‘actions alleging breach of contract or warranty’ and ‘product liability actions stemming from design or manufacture defects,'” Check Your Fact previously reported.

“Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, the NRA cannot be sued because some third party misused a firearm,” Kopel said.

A few of these claims were also fact-checked by CNN. Check Your Fact reached out to the White House for comment and will update this article if a response is provided.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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