Forget it, he’s rolling. We’ve become accustomed to a rather high level of hyperbole in debates over firearms, but Joe Biden’s response in last night’s CBS News debate might have set a new record. When Gayle King asked him why people should have confidence in his ability to pass effective gun control regulation, Biden responded by claiming that nearly half of the population of the entire country had been wiped out by gun violence over the past dozen years.
“150 million people have been killed since 2007,” Biden declared, laying blame for the “carnage on our streets!” on Bernie Sanders for exempting gun manufacturers from lawsuits.
So much for confidence, eh?
KING: We’re going to begin with you, Vice President Biden, for this part. Just across the street, as you mentioned at the top of the debate, is the theater (sic) where nine people were shot and killed inside the Mother Emanuel Church. We all remember that day back in 2015.
And every day in our country, over 100 people die from gun violence. You all have plans, I know, on this stage, to address the gun crisis. But Congress has not been able to pass a major gun legislation in a quarter of a century. And just think about this, in those 25 years we’ve had Columbine, Newtown, Parkland, Las Vegas. We could go on and on.
Vice President Biden, I want to start with you, why should anyone have faith that you’re the one who can get this done now?
BIDEN: Because I’m the only one that ever got it done nationally. I beat the NRA twice. I got assault weapons banned. I got magazines that could not hold more than 10 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.
In addition to, that I passed the Brady Bill with waiting periods. I led that fight. But my friend to my right and others have in fact also gave into the gone 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, 150 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.
Carnage on our streets. And I want to tell you, if I’m elected, NRA, I’m coming for you, and gun manufacturers, I’m going to take you on and I’m going to beat you. I’m the only one who has done it.
What’s the argument here? “Elect me because I’m blissfully unaware of math?” That’s Bernie’s pitch, isn’t it?
Needless to say, the US did not suffer 150 million deaths due to gun violence since 2007. The US didn’t suffer 150 million deaths due to any cause over that 12-year period of time, which would have amounted to nearly half of all Americans. Rather than one out of two deaths per year, the US has a death rate of 8 out of 1,000 people per year. That means we lose around 2.8 million on average each year, putting the total loss since 2007 at about 33.6 million.
The percentage of those deaths by gun violence is surpassingly small, by the way, and more to the point it’s going down rather than up since 2007. The total number of murders in 2018, the most recent year for which we have FBI statistics, shows that the US reported 14,123 murders of all types, 10,265 of which were committed by firearms. The vast majority of those were by handgun (6,603, 64.3%), while long-barrel firearms of all types accounted for roughly 5% (532 murders). The assault-weapons ban applied to the latter, not the former.
What were the numbers in 2007? Well …
- Total murders: 14,831
- Total firearms murders: 10,086
- Total handgun murders: 7,361
- Long-barrel firearms murders: 905
In other words, those rates barely changed at all since 2007 and the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban. Biden doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about here, and his inability to do math goes much deeper than even this clip first portends. Biden’s nothing more than a hysterical demagogue, a ridiculous figure who — unfortunately — has become an eminence grise among Democrats.