Biden's Rhetoric on Guns is Far From 'Reasonable' | Opinion

Fact-checkers keep assuring Americans that President Biden doesn't want to ban guns, but simply wants "reasonable" gun regulations. Yet judging by the president's rhetoric, Biden either doesn't know much about guns (a concerning possibility given his constant push for more regulations) or is calling for a complete ban on the vast majority of guns sold in the U.S.

Just last Thursday, when Biden spoke in New York City about combatting gun crime—not the 92 percent of violent crime that has nothing to do with guns—he focused on handguns. A "Glock with 40 rounds—a magazine with 40 rounds. And it's really a weapon of war," he said. "But I don't see any rationale to why there should be such a weapon able to be purchased."

And at a CNN town hall last year, Biden remarked, "The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon—whether it's a 9-millimeter pistol or whether it's a rifle—is ridiculous. I'm continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things."

At a high-dollar private fundraiser in Seattle in 2019, Biden asked, "Why should we allow people to have military-style weapons including pistols with 9-mm bullets and can hold 10 or more rounds?"

These statements implicate a far wider range of guns than Biden lets on. Any semi-automatic gun, whether it's a handgun or rifle, "can hold" a magazine of virtually any capacity. In fact, the vast majority of handguns sold in this country are semi-auto handguns. In 2018, almost 3.9 million semi-automatic handguns were manufactured in the U.S., compared to less than 700,000 revolvers. So, about 85 percent of all handguns made were semi-automatics that "can hold" magazines.

Fact-checkers at PolitiFact have twice claimed that magazine limits would only affect certain gun models, and USA Today also dismissed the claim Biden wants to ban handguns. Last year, Politifact's Jon Greenberg asserted that the popular Sig Sauer P365 wouldn't be banned because "The standard magazine for the P365 is 10 rounds, and depending on the model, the weapon can accommodate a 15-round magazine."

While it is true that this pistol series comes standard with a 10- or optional 15-round magazine, it can also accommodate magazines of larger capacity—including 50-round magazines. Biden keeps talking about guns that "can hold" larger magazines—but all of these semi-automatic guns "can hold" them.

Though Glock sells an optional magazine that "can hold" 33 rounds, at least the 11 most popular Glock models have standard magazines holding less than 20 rounds. Glock doesn't make a magazine that holds the 40 rounds Biden mentions, but that doesn't prevent people from acquiring larger-capacity magazines.

Joe Biden
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden walks across the South Lawn after returning on Marine One to the White House on February 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden spent the afternoon in Culpeper, Virginia, where he delivered remarks on the work his administration has done to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A magazine is a box with a spring and a follower or guide. It is easy to make and virtually impossible to stop criminals from obtaining. Biden's 1994 assault weapons ban outlawed magazines holding more than 10 rounds, but this had no effect on crime rates. Even research paid for by the Clinton administration couldn't document that the assault weapons ban reduced any type of violent crime or had any effect on mass public shootings.

PolitiFact came to Biden's defense once again when the former vice president's talk at a 2019 private campaign event leaked to the press. Ignoring what Biden said in private to big campaign donors, PolitiFact dismissed any notion that Biden wanted to ban semi-automatic handguns, saying "There is no mention of banning any type of traditional handgun on Biden's presidential campaign website."

Semi-automatic guns provide critical self-defense benefits. If law-abiding victims were forced to rely on single-shot guns, they could find themselves in trouble. If they face multiple criminals, or fire and miss their target, individuals may not have the time needed to manually reload their gun.

A recent Gallup poll shows 40 percent of Democrats want to ban all handguns. Equally telling is a new Rasmussen Reports Survey that shows Democrats support a national gun registry by a two-to-one margin, while Republicans oppose it by a similar margin. Two-thirds of Republicans believe a national gun registry will lead to confiscation of all guns, and even 40 percent of Democrats believe the same. The prospect of firearm confiscation is real and not merely a right-wing conspiracy theory.

In fact, the Biden administration has already compiled a national gun registry that contains a searchable digital database of 866 million firearm transactions. Fifty-four million of these transactions were made in 2021 alone.

Federal law explicitly prohibits the government from keeping background check information for more than 24 hours. This is designed precisely to prevent the creation of a federal firearms registry. But now, government agents can simply type a law-abiding person's name into a computer and see what guns they own.

A ban on the vast majority of handguns and rifles doesn't amount to "reasonable" regulation, and Americans know that. Democrats and their supporters in the media obscure their true intentions—because some of them remember that Biden's 1994 gun control bill led to Democrats losing their 42-year-long majority.

John R. Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of The War on Guns. Thomas Massie represents Kentucky's Fourth Congressional District and is co-chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.