Unless something dramatic happens at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, we can presume that former Vice President Joe Biden will be the party’s nominee for the presidential election. Biden’s record on gun control is well-established, setting up yet another clear-cut election for single-issue voters on both sides of the firearms debate. Biden is more than simply an anti-gun candidate, though, he also has what might be described as a loose relationship with the truth. Whether due to what some has described as “senility” or a consistent lack of attention to detail, Biden is one of the most gaffe-prone politicians in recent memory.
Presidential candidates are expected to have a grasp of so many policy areas that one could excuse a lack of specificity here and there. Biden, though, has a history of gun control statements, so ignorance can’t be blamed. As then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden and his staff were responsible for crafting much of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which included the infamous “assault weapons ban.” Biden has since boasted that he wrote the ban himself.
One would think that after being so focused on gun control legislation for decades, he would have a better grasp of the issue. Based on his public statements, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Biden has told some doozies over the years but let us rank some of the most egregious gun gaffes.
5. Smart-Gun Mandate
During a June 2019 Democratic Primary Debate, Biden made the statement “No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure could pull that trigger. It’s within our right to do that.”
So-called “smart gun” legislation has always failed nationwide. New Jersey passed such a mandate in 2002 that had to be repealed since the applicable technology still doesn’t exist nearly two decades later. Given the frequency with which electronic devices fail, who would trust their life on such a firearm in a critical situation?
4. A Magazine With A Hundred Clips
On September 2, 2019, Biden said it was “absolutely mindless” that “we don’t have elimination of assault-type weapons and magazines that can hold multiple bullets in them,” Biden later told a crowd of supporters in New Hampshire, “I believe in the Second Amendment, but nobody says you can have a round … a … a magazine with a hundred clips in it.”
By definition, all magazines hold “multiple bullets.” It’s important for Guns & Ammo’s editors to stay up-to-date on the latest technology, but we are not familiar with a magazine that holds 100 clips. It seems that, despite being focused on banning and restricting the civilian ownership of semiautomatic firearms and magazine capacities, Biden never learned how they actually work.
3. Heroes Shouldn’t Use AR-15s
One of the most prominent “good guy with a gun stories” was the heroic actions of Stephen Willeford during the Southerland Springs Church shooting. Willeford heard the shooting, grabbed an AR-15 and drove the shooter away from the site. Willeford teamed-up with a passing motorist to chase the murdering coward and put at least one round into him.
Regardless of where we stand on the issue of gun control, we can all salute Willeford’s actions that day, right? Apparently not. “Well, first all,” Biden said, “the kind of gun being carried, he shouldn’t be carrying.”
Willeford disagreed with Biden saying in an interview, “If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile.”
2. The Home Defense Shotgun
This doozie comes from a Facebook chat back in 2013 when then-Vice President Biden passed along his home-defense advice that he’d given to his wife, Jill. “I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony ... take that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.” He went to add, “You don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim.”
Putting aside the debate on the utility of using a rifle versus shotgun in a defensive situation and stick to the law. Given the circumstances that Biden described, anyone taking his advice would likely be committing a crime in Biden’s home state of Delaware. Former Deputy Attorney General John Garey told U.S. News, under Biden's scenario, Jill Biden could be charged with aggravated menacing, a felony, and reckless endangering in the first degree. Great work, Joe.
Compiling these lists is always tough but, this time, Joe made it easy on us. His greatest-ever gun gaffe is so far from factual that there was no race for the number one spot.
1. 150 Million Dead
During the 10th Democratic Presidential Primary Debate in 2020, Biden clearly sought to one-up his fellow Democrats on the gun-control issue.
“I passed the Brady Bill with waiting periods,” Biden said. “I led that fight. But my friend to my right, and others, have in fact also given the gun manufacturers absolute immunity. Imagine if I stood here and said we’d give immunity to drug companies. We would give immunity to tobacco companies. That has caused carnage on our streets. One-hundred-and-fifty-million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability. More than all the wars, including Vietnam, from that point on.”
One-hundred-and-fifty-million people have been killed by a person using a gun? Really Joe? If you took the average number of annual deaths for all causes, including cancer, heart disease, auto accidents, and, yes, gunshots, it would take more than 53 years to rack-up Biden’s “150 million lives” claim. The figures from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) established that the real number of deaths due to a gunshot in the U.S. is roughly 30,000 per year, two-thirds of which are suicides. Even if we give Biden the benefit of the doubt, he was attempting to describe a total of 390,000 total deaths — around 128,000 murders. That number is a long way from 150 million.