During Wednesday night’s national address, President Joe Biden repeated his oft-debunked claim that that “no amendment to the Constitution is absolute” while making an argument against gun rights, and went to lie about the Supreme Court’s stance on free speech, claiming “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.”
“No amendment to the constitution is absolute,” Biden said after making an appeal to restrict gun rights. “You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. From the very beginning, there were certain guns, weapons, that could not be owned by Americans.“
BIDEN: "No amendment to the constitution is absolute. You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater." pic.twitter.com/JliS8DxJrb
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 29, 2021
Biden is not only incorrect about firearms restrictions, which did not exist even for military cannon and warships at the country’s founding, but the “fire in a crowded theater” metaphor he invokes so often is also completely false.
The saying comes from remarks made over a hundred years ago in 1919 by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the case Schenk v. United States, during which the court incorrectly ruled that advocating against the draft was not free speech.
The Court’s ruling is widely interpreted as one of the worst ever in U.S. history, and was effectively overturned in the landmark 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio.
Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater has been ruled protected speech for over half a century, but that has not prevented Biden from repeating the false claim on many occasions.
Biden also has a history of making up outright lies about background checks at gun shows:
President Joe Biden made false claims about gun rights on Thursday, claiming that when “You go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want, and no background check.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ran damage control for Biden in Thursday’s White House briefing, claiming that he does not actually believe that there are no background checks at gun shows.
“Require background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at a gun show, or an online sale,” Biden said. Background checks are already mandatory for online sales and sales by licensed gun dealers at gun shows.
“Most people don’t know, you walk into a store and you buy a gun, you have a background check,” Biden said. “But you go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want– and no background check.”