Right-wing media figures are spreading a false claim that President Joe Biden plans to ban 9 mm handguns in the wake of the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
At an impromptu press conference discussing possible gun legislation on May 30, Biden recounted a trauma surgeon explaining to him that different caliber bullets can cause varied harm to the body, and compared the wounds from .22 and 9 mm guns as an example. He went on to say that no one needs to own “high caliber weapons” — an apparent reference to the AR-15 used in the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, — before reiterating that he as president cannot ban a particular firearm. Nonetheless, various right-wing figures have run with the soundbite and characterized it as Biden calling for a ban on 9 mm handguns and ammunition.
Biden’s remarks also prompted right-wing media to recirculate older comments the president made about gun safety, including from a 2019 fundraising event when Biden asked, “Why should we allow people to have military-style weapons including pistols with 9 mm bullets and can hold 10 or more rounds?”
Accusations spread online
Accusations spread quickly online after a Republican National Committee Twitter account posted a clip of Biden’s remarks, writing, “Joe Biden suggests he wants to ban ‘high caliber’ 9mm handguns.”
The New York Post claimed that Biden “ranted against” the 9 mm handgun in an “anti-gun tirade.”
FoxNews.com published multiple articles on the subject on May 30 and 31, claiming that Biden suggested a ban on 9 mm handguns and boosting multiple Republican members of the House decrying Biden’s supposed ban.
The Washington Times called Biden’s comments a “gaffe” but still pointed to those who took these comments to mean he would ban the handguns.
On May 31, Steve Bannon’s email news aggregator blasted out a message with the subject “Biden Announces Gun Ban For Americans” that linked to his website “Populist Press.” The article was aggregated from Republic Brief, a right-wing clickbait blog, that had the headline “Biden Just Called on Banning These Guns.”
Right-wing media repeat the idea of a ban on Fox News, radio, and YouTube
Fox News, right-wing radio, and YouTube personalities across the conservative media echo chamber picked up the narrative that first spread online, further perpetuating the false notion that Biden signaled he would take action to ban 9 mm pistols.
Fox News host Sean Hannity ranted that Biden is “predictably vilifying the Second Amendment,” and “threatening to ban 9 mm handguns,” which he deemed “a prescription for chaos, death, and destruction.”
Others on Fox News also repeated the false talking point.
- Fox Host Harris Faulkner said that Biden “seemed to suggest banning” 9 mm handguns, while contributor Joe Concha added that “after any mass shooting, the left will call for gun control, banning certain weapons such as a 9 mm handgun.” Concha went on to ask if confiscation is in the near future.
- Outnumbered co-host Kayleigh McEnany repeated the claim that “Biden suggested banning one of the most common widely used handguns,” though she noted after the clip that it may not have been “what he intended to say.”
On The Dana Loesch Show, former NRATV host Dana Loesch asserted that Biden plans to ban “high-caliber 9 mm handguns” and said it’s “one of the most popular everyday carries for women …. So it’s like they’re going after all the things popularly owned by women.”
Fellow right-wing radio host Sebastian Gorka claimed that Biden’s comments show that “they’re coming after your rights. They’re coming after the amendment that makes all the others possible.”
And YouTuber Tim Pool suggested that Biden’s claims demonstrate that most gun safety proposals come from people who “either have no idea what they’re talking about or they’re straight up coming for all of your guns.”