In a stunning Fact Check report, USA Today earlier this week, without fanfare, said it was true that Joe Biden once declared he “never believed that additional gun control or federal registration of guns would reduce crime.”
The remark came during debate in the mid-1980s on the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA), the newspaper said. According to the report, the Fact Check was in response to recent circulation of part of Biden’s comments on social media. Here is the entire quote, as transcribed by USA Today:
“I believe the compromises that are now a part of this bill have resulted in a balanced piece of legislation that protects the rights of private gun owners while not infringing on law enforcement’s ability to deal with those who misuse guns or violate laws. During my 12 1/2 years as a Member of this body, I have never believed that additional gun control or Federal registration of guns would reduce crime. I am convinced that a criminal who wants a firearm can get one through illegal, nontraceable, unregistered sources, with or without gun control. In my opinion a national register or ban of handguns would be impossible to carry out and may not result in reductions in crime.”
Subsequently, Biden has supported all manner of gun control legislation, and The Trace—the Michael Bloomberg-backed pro-gun-control online news organ—in 2020 tried to provide cover for the then-presidential candidate in a lengthy article covering his gun control efforts on Capitol Hill. But back in 1986, Biden helped pass the FOPA, and this is how The Trace couched its report:
“Of course, Biden was operating in a Democratic Party that looked very different from the one he leads today. Thirty Democrats joined 49 Republicans in voting to pass the bill in the Senate. Thirteen Democrats even co-sponsored the legislation. Many of them represented Southern states and almost all were from rural states now considered solidly Republican.”
By 1993, Biden was back in true form as a gun control proponent, helping push the Brady Handgun Law through Congress. He’s been there ever since, leading up to his fervor to ban so-called “assault weapons” and more recently admitting he also wants to ban 9mm pistols.
So, when the Biden comment started showing up on social media, USA Today looked into it. Here’s how the publication ended its report:
“Based on our research, we rate TRUE the claim that Biden once said he ‘never believed’ additional gun control or federal gun registration would reduce crime. Biden made the remark during a 1985 session of the Senate that included debate over the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, but since then he has advocated for gun control measures including assault weapon bans and expanded background checks.”
Earlier this month, he renewed his call for Congress to ban “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” A current federal challenge to a ban in Maryland by gun rights groups including the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms could moot that issue if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review the case.