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A week after he told voters that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect “a magazine with a hundred clips in it,” 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden offered supporters more of his singular brand of anti-gun nonsense. While attending a private campaign event in Seattle, the former vice president reportedly called for a ban on 9mm pistols.
According to an article from the Seattle Times, Biden was in town to attend two private fundraisers, one of which was at the home of “a top Amazon executive.” The posh soiree set attendees back a princely $2,800 per-person. The other fundraiser was held at the home of a local philanthropist. That staider event offered donors a relative bargain with a $500 minimum price tag.
While speaking to attendees of the latter event, Biden claimed that he supports the Second Amendment. The 77-year-old then went on to ask “Why should we allow people to have military-style weapons including pistols with 9mm bullets and can hold 10 or more rounds?” Biden also shared his tired and inaccurate claim that because there is a shot-shell restriction for migratory bird hunting, “We protect geese from Canada more than we do people.”
In targeting 9mm pistols, Biden has called for a ban on one of the most popular firearms in America. According to ATF’s Firearms Commerce in the United States FY 2019, there were over 3.6 million pistols manufactured in the U.S. in 2017. This was more than 1 million more guns than the next most popular category of firearms, rifles. Further, over 3.2 million handguns (including revolvers) were imported in to the U.S. in 2017.
In its annual report on the U.S. firearms industry, Shooting Industry reported that 9mm caliber pistols are the most commonly produced pistol and have been for many years. In 2017 alone, there were more than 1.7 million 9mm pistols produced in the U.S. Cumulatively there are tens of millions of 9mm pistols in the hands of law-abiding Americans.
The 9mm pistol is the choice of the nation’s leading civilian law enforcement agency, the FBI. Moreover, 9mm pistols are used by countless other federal, state, and local civilian law enforcement agencies. Biden alluded to the 9mm handgun’s military applications, but these agencies are not tasked with waging war on the public, but rather defending the public. This defensive application is the same reason that millions of Americans have chosen a 9mm pistol as their self-defense firearm.
The landmark Second Amendment U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller concerned a complete prohibition on the ownership of handguns in Washington, D.C. The opinion made clear that the Second Amendment at a minimum protects the right to acquire and possess firearms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes such as self-defense.
It is impossible to square Biden’s statement with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. Many types of firearms, such as the AR-15, are “in common use” for lawful purposes like self-defense and therefore protected under the Second Amendment. The 9mm pistol is not just “in common use” for self-defense. As the production statistics indicate, it may be the most common firearm in use for self-defense. Therefore, it is not permissible under the Second Amendment for a jurisdiction to prohibit 9mm pistols. The law-abiding 9mm pistol-owning residents of the D.C., Chicago, and a handful of Chicago suburbs are a testament to this fact.
Biden’s political career is an ongoing spectacle of anti-gun incompetence. However, his high-profile gaffes can serve an instructive purpose. Biden is emblematic of a political class that cannot be bothered to learn the most rudimentary information concerning firearms and the right to keep and bear arms. Despite nearly four decades in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president, he is still a complete ignoramus on the subject. Biden and his cohort don’t want to know anything about guns, gun rights, or gun owners. Rather, they prefer to mindlessly indulge their anti-gun prejudice at every opportunity.