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Biden blasted for repeating debunked gun claims at MLK Jr. Day speech: 'Ole' shoot 'em in the leg is back'
January 17 2023, 08:00

President Biden was blasted on Twitter for reviving his past false comments on police officers and gun owners during his Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech on Monday.

The president appeared at National Action Network's annual The Dream Defined breakfast to tout his administration’s efforts to build up the Black community in honor of the day to commemorate the civil rights activist. One of the issues he claimed included an executive order to ban police chokeholds and restrict no-knock warrants. 

During this time, he repeated the suggestion that police officers don’t need to shoot with deadly force.

"We have to retrain cops as to why should you always shoot for that with deadly force? The fact is, if you need to use your weapon, you don't have to do that. And look to call a fresh approach to recruit how we recruit, how we hire, how we train, how we promote and how we retain, retain in law enforcement that come from the neighborhoods that they serve and know the people they're charged to protect," Biden said.

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The claim, much like the prior times he made it, faced backlash on social media for being an inaccurate interpretation of law enforcement.

"This is why his party still struggles ridding itself of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement. Their ldrs continually trash cops (many of whom are minorities) as hating minorities, who should not have resources to defend themselves while their departments are under consent decrees," Washington Times senior congressional reporter Kerry Pickett wrote.

"This may be the dumbest thing Biden repeatedly says, even dumber than the Mandela lie," The Spectator editor-at-large Ben Domenech tweeted.

Florida State Board of Education member Ryan Petty tweeted, "Ole’ shoot ‘em in the leg is back at it. This man has no actual law enforcement experience. Actually, he has no real world experience at all."

Republican communicator Matt Whitlock wrote, "Oh my gosh the President of the United States is doing the ‘just shoot them in the leg’ thing. Makes you wonder when he last spoke to a law enforcement officer."

"Tell me you have little to no training with a firearm without telling me you have little to no training with a firearm," RedState deputy managing editor Brandon Morse tweeted.

Biden made a similar claim during a town hall in October 2020 and faced backlash from law enforcement groups for suggesting officers shoot suspects "in the leg."

"There's a lot of things we've learned and it takes time, but we can do this," Biden said. "You can ban chokeholds ... you have to teach people how to de-escalate circumstances. ... Instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg."

At the time, Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, criticized Biden's claim, noting that officers are rarely in a situation where they have to use their firearms and as a result, it would be very hard to get an accurate shot on a smaller moving part and the risk for missing is too great.

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Later on during the MLK Jr. Day speech, Biden also repeated other controversial comments such as stating he plans to ban "assault weapons," joking that victims aren’t "wearing Kevlar vests" and insisting gun owners would need F-15s to take on the government.

"And I'll say what I said then I'll say it over and over again. I am going to get assault weapons banned. I did it once. I'm going to do it again. There's no social redeeming value. They aren't wearing Kevlar vests out there. What the hell you need an assault-- No, I'm serious. And ban the number of bullets that go in a magazine. There's no need for any of that. I love my right-wing friends who talk about the Tree of Liberty as water of the blood of patriots. If you need work about taking on the federal government, you need some F-15s. You don't need an AR-15. I'm serious. Think about it. Think about the rationale for this," Biden said.

All of these comments faced renewed scrutiny by Twitter users, particularly his claims about F-15s.

"’I can easily kill you with my military, dumb-dumb citizens,’ is not a good talking point to refute the need for self-defense," CNN commentator Mary Katherine Ham tweeted.

"Biden reminds everyone that they ultimately have no freedoms, the Bill of Rights is essentially void and we live under a tyrannical federal government..." Comedian Tim Young wrote.

Conservative digital strategist Logan Hall explained, "the regime fantasizes about forcibly taking away your guns and handing them to ukraine."

Martech Zone founder Douglas Karr asked, "So the Commander-in-chief believes his F-15 pilots are standing by ready to bomb and fire upon Americans? That’s beyond evil and traitorous."

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Biden made a similar claim in both July 2021 and Aug. 2022.

"For those brave right-wing Americans who say it’s all about keeping America independent and safe, if you want to fight against the country, you need an F-15. You need something more than a gun," Biden said.