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Politics & Policy

Two Other Points about Joe Biden’s Assault-Weapon Op-Ed

Earlier this morning I wrote about the biggest question — whether they work. But there are a couple other problems with the op-ed that could use pointing out as well.

First, he brags about “a rule President Barack Obama and I put in place to help keep guns out of the hands of people with certain mental illnesses.” What this rule actually did was disarm people with various mental impairments who receive Social Security and have their benefits managed by someone else. It did not target the specific forms of mental illness most likely to lead to violence. The ACLU and disability-rights groups opposed it, not just crazy right-wingers.

And second, he claims that “nearly 70 percent of the American public support a ban on assault weapons — including 54 percent of Republicans.” He cites a recent Morning Consult poll. As is often the case with polling data, though, the numbers depend on which question is asked and when. Just last year Gallup found Americans against an assault-weapon ban by 57 to 40 percent. In Gallup’s data, there hasn’t been majority support for such a ban in more than a decade.

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