Biden Calls for Ammunition Magazines To Be Registered with the Federal Government


Any event where a gaggle of candidates for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination are gathered is bound to turn into a promise-fest.

We found this out in the early debates and the intervening pow-wows have been equally giveaway-friendly. Free health care! College! Canceled student debt!

They couldn’t give anything away for free at the gun safety forum on Wednesday in Las Vegas, an event hosted by gun rights groups March for Our Lives and Giffords. They could, however, compete for who would do the most to erode the Second Amendment.

There were plenty of proposals floated at the event, but one kind of took the cake: Joe Biden’s proposal to register ammunition magazines.

Here’s the former vice president saying that he didn’t just want guns registered, but the magazines that feed them, too:

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Biden said he wants to “eliminate the ability to purchase and/or make any more of these assault weapons, period,” a line that got him some applause.

“Now, there’s a third thing,” he continued.

“Under the Firearms Act of 1934, there’s a situation where, when they outlawed machine guns, they said, ‘OK, you can continue to have a machine gun if you own it, but guess what? You gotta let us know you have one.'”

“National Firearms Act,” the moderator said.

“You got it,” Biden said. “I want that for all assault weapons. I want that for magazines. Because what happens is, if we know you have one, the likelihood of that ever being used in a commission of a crime after a voluntary buyback is highly unlikely.”

The apparent call for registration of all magazines is seemingly another Uncle Joeism; Biden’s plan for gun policy, released on the same day of the gun safety forum, seemed to limit the buyback and registration to “high-capacity magazines already in our communities.”

“Biden will also institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets,” the plan reads. “This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.”

Biden’s plan isn’t anything unique; it contains the usual liberal nostrums, albeit prepared in a more moderate mixture than, say, Beto O’Rourke’s “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” rhetoric.

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Not that the two don’t have the same destination — registration of a high-capacity magazine, just like registration of “weapons of war,” is naturally a potential precursor to seizure — but at least Biden isn’t just grabbing them.

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However, he might want to learn some of the appropriate language before he waded in this deeply. For instance, he might have, I don’t know, made extra sure to clarify he didn’t want to register every magazine in the United States.

Sadly, there was plenty of similarly extreme talk on gun rights to go around at the gun safety forum. Trump’s deputy director of communications, Zach Parkinson, dutifully collected some of the more problematic examples, starting with Kamala Harris saying she was ready to confiscate “as many as 10 million” firearms.

Julían Castro, meanwhile, said that “police violence is gun violence.”

And then there was Elizabeth Warren saying that her policy restricting how many guns Americans could buy would stop “people from bulking up in the middle of a crisis.”

However, magazine registration is still a pretty radical proposal that’s not going to accomplish anything — and it may be the first time that any major candidate has called for a registry on ammunition magazines.

The people who are going to register these magazines, as always, will be the law-abiding types. If seizure eventually happens, they’re the ones who are going to get their magazines taken. As for those with ill intentions, well, good luck with that.

But that’s the problem with events like these. Usually, when they’re all gathered in one place, the 2020 Democrats try to outdo themselves with what they can give us.

When it comes to guns, it turns out they’ll also compete with the same aplomb to tell us what they’ll take away.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture