By Jack Phillips
President Joe Biden on Sunday said that he is pushing a limit on gun owners having more than “eight bullets in a round.”
It’s unclear exactly what Biden meant because a round contains the bullet, propellant, and cartridge—and many people use the term bullet and round interchangeably. Biden appears to have made a verbal miscue and meant that he wants a federal restriction on magazine capacity, which is consistent with gun control measures that he and other Democrats have previously pushed.
“My legislation says there can be no more than eight bullets in a round,” Biden told NowThis on Sunday. “The guys doing these mass killings, they have magazines, they call them, that can hold up to 100 bullets in it. That’s just like having an automatic weapon, which we’re not allowed to have by the way, supposedly,” Biden added, without elaborating on how magazine capacity correlates to whether a firearm is semiautomatic or fully automatic.
Later in the interview, Biden, also without elaborating, also falsely claimed that AR-15 rounds “travel five times the speed of an ordinary bullet.”
For years, Biden and Democrats have sought to criminalize what they describe as “high-capacity magazines,” which doesn’t have a clear definition. A bill introduced last year in the Senate would ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, mirroring regulations in places like New York state and California.
The Department of Justice wrote in a 1999 report (pdf) that a 1994 federal ban on such magazines didn’t lead to a significant drop in shootings or murders. Democrats say that barring the ownership and sale of such magazines would trigger a drop in mass shootings.
“We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” the agency also stated in 2004. “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
Earlier this year, Biden signed a gun control measure into law, representing to most sweeping gun law in decades. It came about a month after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left nearly two dozen people dead.
Key provisions of the bill include expanding federal background checks for buyers between the ages of 18 and 21, adding incentives for states to adopt so-called red flag laws, expanding access to mental health programs, and enhancing school security in a bid to prevent mass shootings.
The bill will also help provide $750 million in funding as an incentive to enforce red flag laws in the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have them, making it easier to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.