Biden Says Over 150 Million Americans Killed by Gun Violence Since 2007, Which Would Be Half of U.S. Population

While discussing gun control during Tuesday's Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, former Vice President Joe Biden misquoted statistics about how many Americans had been killed by gun violence since 2007.

His comments came during an exchange with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders about the progressive candidate's support of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects the gun manufacture and distribution industry against civil liability actions brought over the misuse of the weapons by others.

"I have a D-minus voting record from the NRA," Sanders said. "Thirty years ago, I likely lost a race for the one seat in Congress in Vermont because 30 years ago I supported a ban on assault weapons. Right now, my view is we need to expand background checks, end the gun show loophole and do what the American people want, not what the NRA wants."

Biden reminded the crowd that he "got assault weapons banned." He said: "I got magazines that could not hold more than 19 rounds in them. I got them eliminated. Except we had a thing called an election with hanging chads in Florida and it was not reauthorized.

"Imagine if I stood here and said we give immunity to drug companies, we give immunity to tobacco companies," Biden continued. "That has caused carnage on our streets."

"150 million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability," Biden added. "More than all the wars including Vietnam from that point on."

Data from the National Archives indicates that 58,220 U.S. soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War. Roughly over 7,000 U.S. soldiers were killed in action during military actions in the Middle East, according to the Department of Defense.

With the U.S. Census Bureau reporting a population of 327.2 million people in the country in 2018, Biden's figure would equate to approximately one half of the current U.S. population being killed by gun violence since 2007.

Newsweek reached out to Biden's campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina. Win McNamee/Getty

Biden's campaign later confirmed to CNN that Biden had mistakenly mentioned the wrong number.

"Biden campaign tells [CNN economic policy reporter] @KatieLobosco he misspoke when he said "150 million" people have been killed since a Sanders vote in "2007" (2005) to shield gunmakers from certain liability -- the campaign says he meant to refer to *150,000* people killed in firearm homicides since then," tweeted CNN reporter Daniel Dale.

Sanders' voting record concerning firearms is a subject Biden has previously broached during the Democratic debates. During the February debate in Nevada, Biden said he would work to eradicate the loophole that prohibits gun manufacturers from being sued.

"The biggest mistake that Bernie made, that Senator Sanders made, he voted to give the gun manufacturers, the only major industry in America, a loophole that does not allow them to be sued for the carnage they are creating," Biden said. "First thing I'll do as president is work to get rid of that. It's going to be hard."

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also attacked Sanders on Twitter regarding his gun control record.

"Bernie has been weak on gun safety his entire career," Bloomberg tweeted Tuesday. "He's voted against background checks. He voted to give gunmakers immunity. He's received help from the NRA. This is not the record of someone who will save our country from gun violence."

Sanders has defended his past decisions on firearms by saying he was acquiescing to the desires of his constituents in the "rural" state of Vermont.

"Until the last, two years ago, we had virtually no gun control legislation at all and I represented that perspective," Sanders said in February. "The world has changed, and my views have changed."

Correction 2/26/20, 06:53 a.m. ET: The headline of this article was corrected to reflect that that 150 million is approximately half of the current U.S. population.