Biden tells Detroit worker he's full of it when challenged on gun rights

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Former Vice President Joe Biden told a Michigan man he was "full of s---" during a campaign stop after the man accused Biden of trying to take away Americans' guns. 

"You're full of s---. I support the Second Amendment," Biden told the construction worker at the auto plant in Detroit under construction for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden got into a heated back-and-forth about gun rights during a campaign stop Tuesday at the Fiat Chrysler plant being built on Detroit's east side.

Biden was in Detroit campaigning in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, while opponent Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders himself was visiting two Metro Detroit poll places.

The video of the heated exchange with Biden went viral Tuesday afternoon on social media. 

"The Second Amendment — just like right now, if you yelled 'fire,' that's not free speech," Biden continues.

"From the very beginning — I have a shotgun, I have a 20-gauge, a 12-gauge. My sons hunt. Guess what? You're not allowed to own any weapon. I'm not taking your gun away at all."

The construction worker, who is not identified, says he heard Biden say on a "viral video" that he would take away guns. Biden says the video was bunk. 

"I did not say that. I did not say that," Biden says. "It's a viral video like the other ones they're putting out that are simply a lie."

"This is not OK, all right?" the worker says.

"Don't tell me that, pal," Biden says. 

"You're working for me, man," the worker retorts.

"I'm not working for you," Biden replies. "Don't be such a horse's ass."

The controversy appears to stem from former Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke's endorsement of Biden more than a week ago on the eve of Super Tuesday.

The former Texas congressman has called for a mandatory gun buyback program of assault-style guns and famously said during the September House presidential debate, "Hell, yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., visits principal DaRhonda Evans-Stewart, left, and social worker Kim Little outside a polling location at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

At the endorsement, Biden responded by saying he would put O'Rourke in charge of gun policy.

"I want to make something clear. I’m going to guarantee you this is not the last you’ve seen of him,” Biden said March 2 during a campaign stop in Texas, referring to O'Rourke.

"You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort.” 

In an August interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Biden indicated he was targeting assault weapons.

“So to gun owners out there who say well, a Biden administration means they’re going to come for my guns…?" Cooper asked, according to a transcript.

“Bingo, you’re right if you have an assault weapon,” Biden said. “The fact of the matter is they should be illegal, period."

After the endorsement, O'Rourke and his wife took Biden to a Whataburger restaurant and broadcast the dinner on Facebook live. A clip from that video has now been widely misconstrued to say that Biden is “‘coming for’ your guns,” according to

One story perpetuating the falsehood carries the headline: “Watch: Biden Looks Into The Camera And Promises To Take Away Americans’ Guns,” according to the fact-checking group of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

What Biden said: "And by the way, 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 just want — I’m warning Amy, if I win, I’m coming for him.”

The Biden campaign explained the former vice president's reaction.

"Democrats want someone who will stand up for their principles. Gun reform is something he's been extremely serious about for decades and this epidemic of mass shootings is intolerable," spokesman Andrew Bates said in a Tuesday statement.

Meanwhile, Sanders exchanged pleasantries early Tuesday afternoon with two campaign volunteers outside the Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit. He also visited a polling precinct in Dearborn Heights, according to the Associated Press.

The impromptu visits reflect the importance of Michigan in Tuesday's primary elections. It has the largest number of delegates at 125 among the six states that are holding Democratic presidential contests on Tuesday.

Biden paid his only trip to Michigan in the past week on Monday, campaigning in Grand Rapids and Flint before finishing with a rally at Detroit Renaissance High School with former primary rivals and U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey as well as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

On Tuesday, his wife Jill Biden and Whitmer held a round-table discussion with Lansing youth who worked out of the Think Tank at Impression 5 Science Center.

Sanders conducted seven campaign events in four days starting on Friday, holding rallies in Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor before ending Monday with a coronavirus round table at a Detroit Metropolitan Airport hotel and a one-hour Fox News town hall at the University of Michigan Dearborn ice rink.