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Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at a rally in Houston. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at a rally in Houston.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at a rally in Houston.

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher February 24, 2020

Facebook post overplays Bloomberg’s reference to 3-round limit for guns

If Your Time is short

  • Asked in a 2012 interview about so-called assault weapons, Mike Bloomberg indicated he supported restricting the number of rounds a gun can fire quickly.
  • He offered the example of three quickly fired rounds as an illustration of how to define an assault weapon, but did not articulate a particular proposal.

Mike Bloomberg has made gun control a central pillar of his Democratic campaign for president, including a call for limits on assault weapons.

But limiting guns to three rounds?

That social media claim is based on vague comments Bloomberg made in 2012 about how to define such weapons. He does not have such a policy in 2020.

The headline of one Facebook post, paired with a video commentary, says of the former New York City mayor: 

"Bloomberg says he wants to ban guns holding more than three rounds."

The post resembles comments made in 2013 by Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, on NBC’s Meet the Press.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Two problems: 

1. The claim uses the present tense in describing what it refers to as Bloomberg’s proposal, but it cites comments Bloomberg made in a 2012 TV interview.

2. In those comments, which were in response to questions about how to determine which weapons would be subject to restrictions, Bloomberg alluded to limiting the number of rounds a gun could fire quickly. But he didn’t explicitly say he supported a limit of three.

Old video

Bloomberg has publicly endorsed a ban on "military-style assault weapons" and "high-capacity ammunition magazines," such as in a Feb. 11, 2013, letter to lawmakers from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition Bloomberg co-founded in 2006.

Featured Fact-check

The recent Facebook post includes a video with a narrator commenting on excerpts from an ABC News Nightline interview with Bloomberg on Dec. 20, 2012. 

The interview referenced the 20 first-graders and six school staffers who were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In the interview, anchor Cynthia McFadden asked Bloomberg about the challenge of defining an "assault weapon." Bloomberg responded by expressing a desire to limit how quickly a gun can fire rounds and the number of rounds a gun can carry.

"Well, if it can fire a lot of bullets very quickly, that's a good place to start, OK, and then you can argue about what a lot is," Bloomberg said.

McFadden started to interject, and the mayor continued:

"OK, let's pick it. Let's say three. If you haven't hit the deer with three shots, you're a pretty lousy shot. That deer deserves to get away. Let's get serious here."

The Bloomberg campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg supports reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; it banned certain types of semi-automatic firearms along with magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Under Bloomberg’s proposal, current assault weapons owners could keep their guns, but would have to report them to federal officials.

Our ruling

A Facebook post says: "Bloomberg says he wants to ban guns holding more than three rounds."

The post is misleading in that Bloomberg made the reference to three rounds in a 2012 interview.

And while he suggested restricting the number of rounds that can be fired quickly, and tossed out the idea of three, he didn’t articulate a particular proposal. He also expressed a desire to limit the number of rounds a gun can hold.

His 2020 presidential campaign platform includes reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons, which prohibited certain types of semi-automatic firearms along with magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

We rate the statement Mostly False.

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Facebook post overplays Bloomberg’s reference to 3-round limit for guns

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