Not Real News

On Friday The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming President Joe Biden once said he was about to “swoop down with Special Forces” and “gather up every gun in America,” and now his administration is advertising giving out guns to people who get vaccinated for COVID-19.

THE FACTS: A video circulating widely on social media this week falsely claims to show the U.S. president standing at a podium and threatening to take people’s guns away. Text overlaid on the video aims to contrast it with current policies, falsely suggesting Biden’s administration is now “advertising guns to the public” as an incentive to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Neither claim is true. Biden’s administration has not led any national giveaway of guns for getting a vaccine. Some smaller-scale lotteries like this do exist, such as in West Virginia, where a statewide vaccine lottery counts hunting rifles and shotguns among its prizes. Biden also never threatened to take “every gun in America.”

The video, which amassed thousands of shares on TikTok and spread to Instagram, strips key context from Biden’s words during a 2013 press conference. The video makes it sound like Biden intends to take everyone’s guns away. However, Biden was actually explaining that the government would do no such thing. In the original video, then-Vice President Biden was speaking to reporters about disinformation surrounding gun control legislation proposed after a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Biden listed and debunked several false claims, including that the federal government wanted to put all firearm transactions into a “massive federal registry.”

There’s “no central registry for anything,” Biden said. “No way that Uncle Sam can go find out whether you own a gun because we’re about to really take away all your rights and we’re going to swoop down with Special Forces and gather up every gun in America. It’s bizarre. But that’s what’s being sold out there.”

In context, it’s clear that Biden was dismissing false claims that the federal government wanted to keep all firearm transactions in a federal registry and take everybody’s guns. He was not describing actual plans to do these things. In his presidency, Biden has taken executive action to crack down on homemade firearms and regulate pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in a recent shooting in Boulder, Colorado. He has also called on Congress to strengthen gun laws, including requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons.