Fact Check: Obama Claims Police 'Outgunned' in SOTU Gun Control Push

President Barack Obama's Tuesday State of the Union address demagogued guns and gun accessories by describing civilian "assault rifles" as "weapons of war" and labeling the magazines they use as "massive."

"Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive magazines off the streets," Obama lamented, "because they are tired of being outgunned."

These descriptions are problematic, considering that the "massive magazines" are simply those that hold more than 10 rounds. Obama suggested multiple times that 10 rounds ought to be the legal cutoff. 

So now 11- and 12-round magazines are "massive," and "assault rifles" are "weapons of war." 

And as I've written in other posts, deaths involving "assault rifles" constituted less than .012 percent of all deaths in America in 2011. Obama's war-mongering hyperbole simply doesn't fit. 

But there's one more point to be made; police and federal law enforcement agencies are not "outgunned" by civilian AR-15s. 

Police agencies have AR-15s and train their officers in the tactical uses of them. And in many agencies, the AR variant they use is not the civilian variant but a select-fire MP4, which can be fired in semi-automatic or fully-automatic mode. The officer or agent chooses his desired mode with the flip of a switch.

Like so much of the language being used in the current gun control push, Obama purposely chose to talk about "massive magazines" and "weapons of war" to elicit an emotional response from listeners whom he hopes will pressure Congress into supporting more gun control. But these claims have no basis in reality.


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