In Aftermath of Mass Shootings, Biden Cites Antonin Scalia While Proposing ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban and Expanded Liability for Gunmakers


President Joe Biden on Thursday night quoted the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia during a speech which proposed myriad gun control measures in the wake of more than two hundred mass shootings so far this year.

Biden said the issue was one of “conscience and common sense.”

“I want to be very clear:  this is not about taking away anyone’s guns,” Biden said. “It’s about vili — not about vilifying gun own — gun owners.  In fact, we believe we should be treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave.  I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners.”

“At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute,” Biden continued.  “It was just — it was Justice Scalia who wrote, and I quote, ‘like most rights, the right — Second Amendment — by the — the rights granted by the Second Amendment are not unlimited.’  Not unlimited.  It never has been.  There have always been limitations on what weapons you can own in America.”

Biden said “machine guns have been federally regulated for 90 years, and this is still a free country.”

The quote attributed to Scalia wasn’t a verbatim replication of the original, but it was close. The actual quote which comes the closest to the phraseology offered by Biden is from District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case which affirmed an individual’s right to own some types of guns. The opinion held that the Second Amendment was a “guarantee” of “an individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

One version of the actual Scalia quote is in this passage (we’ve added boldface type to…


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