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Biden Says 'No' to School Safety Bill

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

In Thursday's White House press briefing, Karine Jean-Pierre made the Biden administration's clearly partisan position clear regarding legislation aimed at making schools and students safer: Biden won't consider anything other than a ban on "assault weapons." 


As Townhall reported earlier on Thursday, Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee introduced the SAFE Act, a $900 million grant program to help public and private schools harden their physical security and hire veterans and former law enforcement officers as additional security and as a deterrent to assailants. 

But the White House, according to Karine Kean-Pierre, isn't interested in taking steps to make schools safer for the students who attend them by making it more difficult for assailants to enter the premises, introduce trained individuals who could defend schools and the students within them, or create more deterrents that could dissuade a would-be assailant from targeting schools in the first place. 

It's worth noting that the transgender assailant who attacked the Covenant School chose it because another potential target was found to have too much security, according to Nashville police. That is, deterrents matter. 

When asked what President Biden's position on the SAFE Act was, Jean-Pierre pledged she was "going to be very clear here," before doing the opposite and stumbling through a long-winded answer that was filled with false claims and ultimately rejected the SAFE Act and the help it would provide to schools working to harden and secure their premises. 


Biden's press secretary claimed that a ban on "assault weapons" is "very popular" and even enjoys majority support among Americans, despite the fact that polls do not back up her claim, as one reporter in the briefing room pointed out in something of a real-time fact-check on Jean-Pierre. 

A poll conducted in February by Langer Research Associates for ABC News found that 51 percent of Americans are opposed to a ban on "assault" weapons while 47 percent support a prohibition. As the pollster noted of the data, public support for a ban is plummeting from its 1997 peak of 79 percent, falling to 62 percent in 2018, then 56 percent in 2019, and down to a minority share of Americans by 2023.

Despite the waning support for a ban, Jean-Pierre insisted that the way to "actually assist or help prevent gun violence" is for Congress to pass a ban on "assault weapons."


To back up her claim, Jean-Pierre repeatedly said "we know for a fact" that the Clinton-era ban championed by Biden meant, "for those ten years" it was in effect, "gun violence went down." Later, Jean-Pierre said again that "banning assault weapons is one of the clearest ways, that's what the data shows us, that we can get weapons of war off the streets."

"We know what works," Jean-Pierre insisted, "and that's why we've been calling for the assault weapons ban."

But as Townhall has fact-checked and pointed out repeatedly, the Biden-backed ban did not work. At all. The impact it made to violent acts carried out by individuals who chose to use a firearm was so negligible that the Department of Justice had a difficult time accurately discerning any difference before and after the ban took effect. 

Here's what the DOJ's study with the University of Pennsylvania Center of Criminology concluded: 

"We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury," the summary of the report on the study's findings states. "The ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs [assault weapons] were used in no more than 8% of gun crimes even before the ban."


So, the White House rejected the SAFE Act, doubled down on false claims about Americans' support for an "assault weapons" ban, and lied about the impact of a previous ban. That's not leadership, that's partisan politics. 

Senator Blackburn shared her reaction to the White House's rejection of her bill with Townhall, saying "Earlier this week I spoke to Joe Biden after the senseless tragedy in Nashville. Today, Senator Hagerty and I introduced legislation to provide $900 million for school safety," she said of the proposal that Biden refuses to consider. "It is clear this White House has no interest in protecting our kids. They just want to make this about politics," Blackburn added. 


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