Did President Joe Biden threaten to "nuke law-abiding American citizens" while speaking about the U.S. Constitution's second amendment? No, that's not true: Biden was discussing the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" provision, which some gun rights advocates interpret to mean that American citizens have the right to keep weapons of war in order to challenge a tyrannical government. Biden said the original intent was not to allow citizens to have cannons -- the most powerful weapon of war in the 18th century -- or the most powerful weapons of war in the 21st century. "If you think you need weapons to take on the government, then you need F15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."
This claim appeared in a tweet (archived here) posted on June 23, 2021, by Donald Trump Jr., son of the former president, which read:
Our founders explicitly wanted an armed citizenry to keep potentially tyrannical governments in check.
Instead of threatening to nuke law-abiding American citizens, maybe this doddering old fool should ask himself why crime is rising so rapidly in cities w/ the most gun control?
This is how the tweet appeared on June 28, 2021:
Trump's post included a re-tweet of a video of Biden's remarks:
BIDEN: "Those who say the blood of Patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we're gonna have to move against the government."-- Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 23, 2021
"If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."pic.twitter.com/WVHUffpphP
Biden said there has always been the ability to "rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it." He was not threatening to "nuke" any Americans -- much less those who obey the laws of the country.
Here is a longer quote in the official White House transcript of what Biden said:
And I might add: The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn't buy a cannon.
Those who say the blood of lib- -- "the blood of patriots," you know, and all the stuff about how we're going to have to move against the government. Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots. What's happened is that there have never been -- if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.
The point is that there has always been the ability to limit -- rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it.