There is a public safety threat, but blame-shifting Biden has no clue what it is
The speech was part of a broader effort to shift blame for the public safety crisis Biden has created. It isn’t his fault or criminal-coddling prosecutors‘ fault or anti-police activists’ fault. Rather, it is the fault of lawful gun owners and Republicans.
When Biden wasn’t confusing the Declaration of Independence for the Constitution, he was making wild and false assertions about guns in general and AR-15s specifically.
For example, Biden claimed that bullets from the most popular sporting rifle in America, the AR-15, travel “five times as rapidly as a bullet shot out of any other gun.” There are several such bogus claims floating around the internet, which appears to be where Biden is getting a lot of his “information.” That includes his additional claim that rounds fired from the AR-15 cause an especially great amount of damage to human tissue — as he put it, it “just rips the body apart.”
This is not true.
The AR-15 is not some kind of wunderwaffe. The rounds used in this particular gun are not even among the fastest commercially available, nor are they “superbullets” that cause significantly more damage than bullets fired from other guns. This is a dishonest rhetorical tactic intended to make people think less rationally and freak out when they see or think about guns.
This calls to mind Biden’s claim earlier this year that 9 mm rounds, which he incorrectly referred to as “high caliber,” can just “blow out” people’s lungs. The truth is, you could combine everything Biden thinks he knows about guns and use it to solve the nation’s fertilizer shortage.
Biden’s claim that “guns are the No. 1 killer of children in America,” complete with a reference to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, is another emotionally charged and deliberately misleading statement. The intention is to make you think that your fourth grader’s life is in danger at school because people own AR-15s. In fact, more than half of all gun deaths among “children” (accidents, suicides, and murders) are among 16- and 17-year-olds, and statistically, nearly all of those involve handguns. Note that “children” aged 16 and 17 — that is, young adults — are much more prone to gang affiliation and are not legally required to attend school in most states.
If you’re worried about the actual threats that face your children, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for 2020 show that accidental drowning was a more common cause of death than guns for children through age 13. Traffic accidents remain a more common cause of death than all types of gun deaths for children up to age 16.
Biden also raised the canard about the failed “assault weapons” ban reducing the number of mass shootings in the 1990s. In truth, the national murder rate plunged for a full decade after the ban expired. This specific assertion about “mass shootings” requires a cherry-picking of the definition of that phrase — a fact reinforced by the irrationality of believing that guns become less deadly when they lack bayonet mounts, barrel shrouds, and telescoping stocks.
There is indeed a great danger to public safety today, but it isn’t the average sportsman’s AR-15. Rather, it is progressive prosecutors who release hardened violent criminals with little or no bail over and over and over again so that they can prey on ordinary citizens, including children. For example, the alleged East Coast homeless shooter, Gerald Brevard, should have been behind bars, but a progressive prosecutor let him go with just misdemeanor convictions. That particular type of idiocy makes it also possible for violent criminals to pass background checks and purchase guns legally. What good are background checks if Democratic prosecutors are going to undermine them in this fashion?
Just a few short years ago, America’s big cities were much safer than they are now. So there is no great mystery about how to stop violent crime. Just look back to how New York City was cleaned up in the 1990s.
The vast majority of violent crime is committed by just a small handful of offenders. To prevent it, one need only aggressively enforce the law, including quality-of-life laws, and take advantage of arrests of violent offenders by targeting them with the strongest charges possible that carry the longest sentences possible.
As long as Biden keeps talking nonsense about guns, he is just avoiding the reasons people suddenly feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods in a way they haven’t in decades.