Dubious Biden Claims on Background Checks Go Unchallenged on Morning Joe

Dubious Biden Claims on Background Checks Go Unchallenged on Morning Joe

In an interview that aired on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on April 11, Vice President Joe Biden told Joe Scarborough universal background checks will not lead to a gun registry because there isn’t a gun registry now. 

He also told Scarborough that universal background checks reduce violent crime and make women safer. 

Biden’s remarks came after Scarborough asked, “Explain, if you will, what it would mean if we had universal background checks.” 

Biden responded by saying he’d rather talk about the difference states have experienced where “there are universal background checks” right now. According to Biden, they enjoy reduced “violent crime by guns” and “34% fewer women are shot by their husbands or boyfriends with a gun.”

Although Biden offered no substantiation of these claims, and although they are antithetical to answers given by law enforcement personnel in the recent PoliceOne poll where 79.7% of the 15,000 respondents said universal background checks would not reduce violent crime, Scarborough accepted them with a grin and moved on.

He then asked Biden to explain “what guarantees that [universal background checks] won’t lead to a national registry?” to which Biden responded: “The guarantee is that right now, there is no gun registry.”

Biden is creating a false equivalency between the background check system that’s been in place since 1998 and the universal background checks being proposed. The background check system currently in place doesn’t ban secondary gun sales–as between a grandpa and his grandson, a mother and her daughter, or at a gun show. 

Universal background checks would ban these types of sales and would necessitate a gun registry to be sure the government knows where every gun is. Only then can government know whether grandpa is transferring ownership of a gun to his grandson.