It’s not often that NRA finds itself in agreement with CNN’s reporting about firearms, but the outlet’s fact-check of Joe Biden’s Connecticut gun control speech last week proved the cable news channel is capable of accurately reporting on guns … when it wants to. The piece noted that Biden “made at least five false claims related to guns, a subject on which he has repeatedly been inaccurate during his presidency.” While we might quibble that CNN actually undercounted the number of false claims related to guns Biden made in that address, their reporting was right on the money in the examples they did cite.
The first falsehood CNN raised was one we identified in our own fact check of Biden’s speech, this one concerning red flag laws. Biden claimed his son, Beau – who was Delaware attorney general from 2007 to 2015 – was the “first to enforce” this sort of law. This was clearly false, as both NRA and CNN noted, insofar as Delaware did not even have a red flag law to enforce during Beau Biden’s term in office.
CNN’s next item was also raised in our piece, Biden’s bizarre claims about the effects of stabilizing braces on pistols. The factually-challenged chief executive insisted affixing a pistol to a brace (itself a weird inversion of how the two items actually go together) “turns [the pistol] into a gun” and “[m]akes them where you can have … a higher caliber bullet – coming out of that gun.” CNN got it right, pointing out: a “pistol is, obviously, already a gun,” and, “a pistol brace does not have any effect on the caliber of ammunition that a gun fires or anything about the basic functioning of the gun itself.” Indeed, all the brace does is help stabilize a pistol for more accurate, controlled, and safe operation, particularly for those – like combat wounded veterans – who are physically challenged. Leave it to gun control advocates to take issue with that.
The third falsehood CNN identified was one we omitted from our own article this week for space considerations but have raised many times in the past: the gun industry is NOT, as Biden claimed, the “only industry in America you can’t sue.” Biden’s insistent lies on this point are used to attack the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which merely protects members of the firearms industry acting in accordance with the law from being held responsible for the acts of unaffiliated criminals who misuse guns. The CNN piece correctly states that gun industry members “can still be held liable for (and thus sued for)” the industry members’ own alleged wrongdoing. Nevertheless, Biden wants unscrupulous trial lawyers and gun control advocates to sue the gun industry into oblivion, so repealing the PLCAA is at the top of his gun control wish list.
Fourth in CNN’s list was a claim so obviously and transparently false that it didn’t even occur to us to include it in our own fact check. That was Biden’s claim that “the NRA is the only outfit in the nation that we cannot sue as an institution.” The anti-gun media’s gleeful reporting of the NRA’s voluminous (and largely unavoidable) legal fees from a variety of different lawsuits by opponents in and outside of government is proof enough of this fact.
The fifth Biden gun lie CNN identified in its piece was his claim – made to support his assertion that the Second Amendment limits what sorts of weapons Americans can have – “[y]ou can’t own a machine gun.” CNN correctly pointed out, as we often have ourselves, that there are hundreds of thousands of machine guns in the U.S. that eligible transferees are perfectly entitled to own under U.S. law, if they are willing to pay the price and negotiate the bureaucracy to do so.
Despite mentioning “5 false claims about guns” in its headline and in the introduction to the piece, CNN identified a sixth such claim Biden made in his speech, that “those convicted of domestic violence abuse against their girlfriend or boyfriend cannot buy a firearm, period.” Biden said this in the context of bragging about (and exaggerating) what the so-called Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) – a bill he signed into law last year – accomplished in the way of gun control. Those provisions, as CNN noted, are limited definitionally and expire five years after the triggering conviction or the completion of any related sentence, whichever comes later.
Likely, CNN’s editors tacked this one onto the original list of five items to underscore to viewers the channel’s viewpoint that U.S. gun control laws are still limited and full of “loopholes.” If that’s so, NRA is pleased to take credit for its role in ensuring the limitations CNN identified were part of the final law. Misdemeanor convictions like those added as Second Amendment prohibitors under the BSCA have never resulted in a permanent loss of civil rights in the American legal tradition. The NRA therefore considers their use as a pretext to permanently eliminate the right to keep and bear arms as illegitimate. Congress made many mistakes with the BSCA, but it was right to ensure these prohibitions were limited.
As this last example shows, NRA and CNN are not likely to achieve full agreement on firearm issues anytime soon. Nevertheless, its reporting on the Biden speech was a refreshing example of what is possible when the outlet focuses on actual “news” and demands accountability even of America’s Democrat officials. We will gladly give credit where it’s due, should the outlet continue this practice.