Barack Obama: Too Easy to ‘Buy Machine Guns’ in America

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 06: Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to young leaders from across Europe in a Town Hall-styled session on April 06, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Obama spoke to several hundred young people from European government, civil society and the private sector about the nitty gritty of …
Sean Gallup/Getty

Barack Obama said U.S. gun laws “don’t make much sense” and specifically criticized the ability to “buy machine guns.”

Obama offered his thoughts during a May 30, 2019, speech while participating in VTEX DAY in San Paulo, Brazil.

The Daily Mail quoted Obama saying, “Gun laws in the United States don’t make much sense. Anybody can buy any weapon, anytime without, you know, without much if any regulation. They can buy over the Internet. They can buy machine guns.”

There are  number of problems with Obama’s claims.

The first is the assertion anybody “can buy any weapon, anytime…without much if any regulation.” This is simply untrue. Firearms are highly regulated in the U.S. via background checks for retail point of sales, registration requirements in states like California and New York, and mandated waiting periods for gun purchases in numerous states as well.

Moreover, possession of a firearm is highly regulated requiring Firearm Owners Identication (FOID) cards or other licensing schemes in various states.

One cannot even possess a gun in his home without such a card in states like Illinois or without first getting a certificate from the government in states like California.

Obama’s claim that guns can be purchased over the internet is spurious as well as it is legal for retailers to advertise and accept payment for a gun over the internet but they cannot ship a gun directly to a buyer. Rather, the gun has to be shipped to a Federal Firearm License holder (FFL) near the buyer so a background check can be performed before the buyer is allowed to take possession of the gun.

Lastly, Obama suggested it is easy to buy machine guns in the U.S. He made this statement in the context of talking about the December 14, 2012, attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which machine guns were not used. Nevertheless, Obama broached the subject but did not mention that machine guns are regulated under the National Firearms Act (1934), which means the purchase of one requires a background check, the submission of fingerprints and photographs, the payment of a $200 federal tax, and registering with the weapon with the federal bureaucracy. This process takes eight to nine months to complete.

Moreover, the only machine guns that legally be purchased are those built prior to May 1986, therefore there is a limited number of them available. This means the cost of such a weapon often runs in the tens of thousands.

Obama did not mention any of these things when suggesting machine guns are too easy to buy in America.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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