Fact Check: Biden DID Refer To 'Bullets' As 'Clips' -- But He Immediately Corrected Himself

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Biden DID Refer To 'Bullets' As 'Clips' -- But He Immediately Corrected Himself He Caught It

Did Joe Biden incorrectly refer to bullets as "clips" during a 2019 campaign rally in New Hampshire? Yes -- but he immediately corrected himself. A post that cites Biden's partial remarks at a November 8, 2019, rally is missing context: although Biden did say in the speech that guns should not have "100 clips," he immediately corrected himself and said "100 bullets."

The claim appeared in an Instagram post (archived here) where it was published by the National Rifle Association (NRA) on June 4, 2021. The image included in the post featured Biden's likeness with an incomplete quote from his campaign rally speech, which read:

I believe in the Second Amendment, but nobody says you can have a magazine with 100 clips in it.

The caption of the post read:

We have a President who wants to ban guns but doesn't know a thing about them. 🙄

This is how the post appeared on Instagram on June 8, 2021:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Jun 8 15:20:50 2021 UTC)

Ironically, the entirety of Biden's quote can be found in a Twitter thread that the NRA posted on November 11, 2019. The tweet contains a video of Biden making the correction from "clips" to "bullets." He said:

I believe in the Second Amendment, but nobody says you can have a magazine with 100 clips in it, 100 bullets in it. We protect geese more than we protect -- no joke, you can only have three shotgun shells when you go shooting for geese.

Biden was correct about the shotgun limits. Federal waterfowl regulations require that hunters adjust shotgun magazines so that the gun can only fire three rounds before it must be re-loaded.

Still, the NRA insisted that Biden did not know what he was talking about. The text of the tweet read:

'I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but nobody says you can have a magazine with 100 clips in it.'

1) Joe: Actions speak louder than words. YOU DON'T 'believe' in our #2A rights - your votes and policies prove that.

2) BTW - what does 'a magazine with 100 clips in it' even mean?

The tweet is included below:

The tweet that followed in the thread contained a Breitbart article by AWR Hawkins published on November 10, 2019, that fills in the missing context implied in the NRA's tweet:

Ironically, leftists often refer to ammunition feeding devices as "clips" instead of magazines, but Biden used the word "clips" in place of bullets. He realized his mistake and corrected himself.

The phrases that Biden used in his rally speech are firearm terms that are commonly misstated. "Bullets" are often used as shorthand for "cartridges." The NRA described the difference between the two terms in a blog post published on August 31, 2016:

Bullets are frequently used to describe ammunition but that's actually not the case. A cartridge is single, complete round of ammunition that is made up of four components: casing, primer, powder, and projectile...

The final component of the cartridge is the projectile which is expelled from a gun, aka a bullet. Bullets can be of many materials, shapes, weights and constructions such as solid lead, lead with a jacket of harder metal, round-nosed, flat-nosed, hollow-pointed, etc. This is why bullets and cartridge (or ammunition) are not the same.

The same post detailed the difference between a "clip" and a "magazine," which are often confused:

A clip is a device for holding a group of cartridges. It is used as a tool to transfer cartridges into a magazine...

On the other hand, a magazine is a spring-loaded container for cartridges that may be an integral part of the gun's mechanism or may be detachable.

In the campaign rally speech, Biden seemed to be referring to the use of high-capacity or large-capacity magazines. According to the definition provided by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

Although the statutory definitions vary, magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition are generally considered "large capacity" magazines.

Similarly, magazines hold cartridges, and bullets are a part of cartridges -- and therefore, ammunition. These corrections are what Biden alluded to when he made his adjustment.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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