Obama Hasn’t Called For ‘All-Out Gun Confiscation’

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A headline circulating on partisan websites distorts former President Barack Obama’s tweet advocating stricter gun laws in the wake of the most recent mass shootings.


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Former President Barack Obama posted a statement on Twitter advocating “tougher gun laws,” reducing the influence of online hate groups, and heightening tolerance following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

He also tweeted a link to piece published by Vox titled: “Democrats have been discussing the same ideas on guns for 25 years. It’s time to change that.”

The article criticizes candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination for offering weak platforms on gun control. It argues that much more radical steps need to be taken to curb gun violence in the country, making the case, primarily, that there should be a nationwide gun licensing program and that the number of guns available needs to be slashed.

It does suggest that confiscation, or a “mandatory buyback program,” is one option for cutting down the number of guns. But it never suggests an “all-out” confiscation. In fact, it gives so little attention to the idea that it doesn’t even address what a confiscation program would entail.

A headline published on several partisan websites, however, has twisted Obama’s endorsement of that article to make this claim: “Barack Obama Calls For All-Out Gun Confiscation.”

Most of the websites that made the claim cited this passage from the Vox story: “To change the status quo, Democrats should go big. They need to focus on the abundance of guns in the US and develop a suite of policies that directly tackle that issue, from licensing to confiscation to more aggressive bans of certain kinds of firearms (including, perhaps, all semiautomatic weapons or at least some types of handguns).”

But we don’t know which part of the story Obama was highlighting, and an Obama spokesman didn’t respond to our request for clarification on the former president’s tweet. In his statement on Twitter, Obama said this about gun laws:

Obama, Aug. 12: Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.

When he was president, Obama never proposed gun confiscations of any kind. Rather, he called for closing background check loopholes and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

He wasn’t able to pass any of that legislation, though, and instead signed a series of executive actions.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Obama, Barack (@BarackObama). Statement. Twitter. 5 Aug 2019.

Obama, Barack (@BarackObama). “Until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.” Twitter. 5 Aug 2019.

Lopez, German. “Democrats have been discussing the same ideas on guns for 25 years. It’s time to change that.” Vox.com. 5 Aug 2019.

Rohlfing, Luke. “Barack Obama Calls For All-Out Gun Confiscation Following El Paso Shooting.” Bigleaguepolitics.com. 5 Aug 2019.

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A headline circulating on partisan websites distorts former President Barack Obama’s tweet advocating stricter gun laws in the wake of the most recent mass shootings.
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