Fact Check: Pete Buttigieg Falsely Claims Americans Are Buying Weapons of War

Democratic presidential hopefuls (from L) Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former May
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

CLAIM: Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) was discussing school shootings during the Democrat debate on Tuesday when he suggested Americans buy and use guns built for warfare.

VERDICT: False. Buttigieg’s words alluded to the decades-old Democrat claim that AR-15s are weapons of war, but they are not. AR-15s are semiautomatic rifles.

Buttigieg said, “I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea for somebody to illustrate … why the kinds of weaponry, anything even remotely like I trained on in order to be sent to a war-zone, has no business being sold anywhere near an American school or church or neighborhood.”

The weaponry Buttigieg references, AR-15s, are semiautomatic rifles. They fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. Rifles made for warfare have a select-fire switch on the left side of the gun, which allows the gun’s action to be shifted from semiautomatic to three-round bursts. During earlier wars, like Vietnam, the select-fire switch allowed the gun to shift to full automatic.

The AR-15s sold in America have no such select-fire switch, and it is illegal to convert their actions to three-round bursts or full auto.

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. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.