Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- The video shows Biden speaking to O'Rourke's wife Amy O'Rourke and saying: "If I win, I’m coming for him," meaning O'Rourke. He does not say "I'm coming for 'em," meaning guns.
- O'Rourke told PolitiFact Texas he does not have a role in Biden's campaign and he has not spoken with Biden's campaign about what role he could play in a future administration.
- In a confrontation with a man in Detroit about his position on guns, which included a reference to a video showing him threatening to take people's guns, Biden reiterated his stance and said he is not trying to take anyone's guns away.
The day before Super Tuesday, Beto O’Rourke said he is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary.
At a Dallas rally, Biden thanked O’Rourke, a former rival for the nomination, for his support and told attendees: "This is not the last you’ve seen of this guy."
"You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me," Biden told O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso, on stage. "You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on you."
During his own presidential campaign, which ended in November, O’Rourke called for mandatory buybacks of assault style weapons. He famously said during the Sept. 12 debate in Houston: "Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."
Opponents of the proposal have taken O’Rourke’s endorsement, and Biden’s comments about a possible leadership role for O’Rourke, to mean that Biden now supports mandatory buybacks of assault style weapons — a policy he has not backed in the past.
Conservative-Daily, an online platform featuring articles with a conservative slant, said in a recent post that Biden has been explicit in his support of the buyback program, which has been equated with "confiscation" by gun rights advocates.
The post is titled "Watch: Biden Looks Into The Camera And Promises To Take Away Americans’ Guns" and includes a 15-second clip cut from a longer Facebook live video of Biden and O’Rourke talking with O’Rourke’s wife Amy O’Rourke at a Whataburger after the Dallas rally.
In the clip, Biden says: "This guy can change the face of what we’re dealing with, with regard to guns, assault weapons, with regard to dealing with climate change. And I’m just warning Amy: If I win, I’m coming for him."
The post states that the video shows Biden agreeing to adopt O’Rourke’s "most radical gun control proposals."
"This is a video of Joe Biden looking directly into the camera and promising to take away Americans’ guns if elected," the post reads. "And he had the audacity to make this promise in Texas …"
When asked for clarification, Max McGuire, author of the post, said he heard Biden differently in the video.
Instead of saying "I’m coming for him," McGuire said Biden can be heard saying, "if he wins he is coming for ‘em,’ which we interpreted to mean guns, given the fact that seconds earlier he was praising Beto's gun control advocacy re: assault weapons."
For the record, multiple viewings of the video confirm that Biden is directing his remark to O’Rourke’s wife when he says: "If I win, I’m coming for him." He also gestures toward O’Rourke.
FactCheck.org also reviewed the video and reported that Biden said "I’m coming for him," in reference to O’Rourke. The footage has been fact-checked by Reuters, which came to the same conclusion about Biden’s remarks.
No role for O'Rourke in Biden's camp
But McGuire said if Biden had said "I’m coming for him," that means he plans to hire O’Rourke to be part of his administration.
"If he said 'coming for him,' we contend that there is no difference in intention," he said. "Beto O'Rourke has made his gun control intentions clear. If he had been elected, he promised whole-heartedly that ‘hell yes’ he would be coming for Americans' guns. Joe Biden has since made his intention clear to have Beto run his campaign's and/or administration's gun control policy."
But that is inaccurate. Biden did say O’Rourke would work with him on gun policy, but in an interview O’Rourke said he does not have a role in Biden’s campaign and that he has not spoken with Biden or his team about what role he could play in a future administration.
O’Rourke also said Biden has not expressed support for his gun safety policies.
"I have not heard him say he would support a mandatory buyback of assault weapons," O’Rourke said.
Biden’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment, so we turned to his platform on guns and recent public remarks he has made to assess whether his position on mandatory buybacks has shifted.
Biden’s platform on guns calls for a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines and the establishment of a voluntary program to buy back those weapons already in peoples’ possession.
"This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act," his website reads.
In a heated exchange with an auto worker in Detroit on Tuesday, a week after receiving O’Rourke’s endorsement, Biden rejected the idea that he supported taking guns away from people.
In a video of the exchange, the man can be heard telling Biden: "You are actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment right and take away our guns."
Biden told the man that he was "full of shit" and added, "I'm not taking your gun away — at all."
The man cited a video circulating online that shows Biden saying he is "trying to take our guns."
Biden responded: "I did not say that. I did not say that. It’s a viral video like the other ones they’re putting out that are simply a lie."
A blog post from Conservative Daily says a video of Biden and O’Rourke at a burger joint in Texas shows Biden "looking directly into the camera and promising to take away Americans’ guns if elected."
Biden does not say this in the video included in the blog post. The video shows Biden issuing a joking warning to Amy O’Rourke, Beto O’Rourke’s wife, that if Biden is elected, he will be "coming for him" — meaning Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke said he has no formal role in Biden’s campaign and has not spoken with Biden’s team about a job in a potential future administration.
Plus the larger point here, that Biden now supports O’Rourke’s proposal for mandatory buybacks, is not accurate. Biden’s platform on gun violence calls for a voluntary buyback program for assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.
PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.
Conservative-Daily, Watch: Biden Looks Into the Camera and Promises to Take Away Americans’ Guns, March 4, 2020
Email interview with Max McGuire, author of Conservative-Daily post, March 11, 2020
Interview with Beto O’Rourke, March 12, 2020
Austin American-Statesman, Beto O’Rourke, joining Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, endorses Joe Biden on eve of Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Austin American-Statesman, O’Rourke on guns: ‘Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15’, Sept. 12, 2019
Biden for President, The Biden Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic, accessed March 11, 2020
FactCheck.org, O’Rourke Endorsement Triggers False Posts on Biden’s Gun Policy, March 6, 2020
Reuters, Partly false claim: video shows Joe Biden saying if he wins he’s coming for our guns, March 5, 2020
Politico, Biden: Man with gun control accusations is 'full of' it, March 10, 2020
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.