California lawmaker called for assault weapons ban, but not total gun confiscation

A story twisted the words of a California lawmaker who called for banning possession of semiautomatic assault weapons to falsely state that Democrats want to seize all guns.

"Democrats go full tyranny: now demand nationwide gun confiscation from law-abiding Americans ... at gunpoint, of course," stated a May 7 headline on RevolutionRadio.org, which copied the story and headline by NaturalNews.com.

Facebook flagged this story as part of its efforts to combat false news and misinformation on Facebook's News Feed. You can read more about our partnership with Facebook here. The headline blows out of proportion statements by U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, who represents the San Francisco Bay area.

Swalwell, a former prosecutor, wrote a USA Today op-ed calling for the United States to get rid of assault weapons. He wrote about the deadly outcomes of being fired at by such a weapon.

"Trauma surgeons and coroners will tell you the high-velocity bullet fired from a military-style, semiautomatic assault weapon moves almost three times as fast as a 9mm handgun bullet, delivering far more energy. The bullets create cavities through the victim, wrecking a wider swath of tissue, organs and blood vessels. And a low-recoil weapon with a higher-capacity magazine means more of these deadlier bullets can be fired accurately and quickly without reloading."

Swalwell said that reinstating the federal assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 would prohibit manufacture and sales, but it would still leave millions of assault weapons on the streets.

"Instead, we should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons," he wrote. "The ban would not apply to law enforcement agencies or shooting clubs."

The NaturalNews story said that Swalwell "actually wants to see door-to-door gun confiscation teams engage in Nazi-style removal tactics in order to rid the streets of all firearms that he personally deems reckless and unnecessary."

We saw no evidence in Swalwell’s op-ed that he wants law enforcement to use such a tactic. We asked his spokeswoman how he would envision law enforcement obtaining such assault weapons.

"The Congressman supports an assault weapon buy-back period, and then limiting any weapons not sold back to licensed clubs and ranges, with a ban on possession anywhere else," Caitlyn McNamee said in an email. "He has never proposed and does not support door-to-door searches, which would be unworkable, unsafe, and – without a warrant – unconstitutional. But anyone found to be in possession of such a weapon after the buyback period has elapsed would be in violation of the law to possess and subject to prosecution."

On his congressional website, Swalwell doesn’t propose any sort of widespread gun confiscation. While calling for more gun control measures, including improving background checks and an assault weapons ban, he has also stated support for the Second Amendment.

"I am the son and brother of hunters and gun owners," he wrote. I know that guns can be used responsibly and the Second Amendment provides individuals certain rights to own firearms."

A headline said that "Democrats go full tyranny: now demand nationwide gun confiscation from law-abiding Americans ... at gunpoint, of course." The story that followed wasn’t broadly about Democrats, but rather about one Democrat: U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell. He proposed getting rid of assault weapons, but didn’t call for confiscating all guns. We rate this claim False.

Article: Amy Sherman, PunditFact