Biden Urges 'Assault Weapons' Ban, Says Anyone Who Disagrees Should Not Be President

By Susan Jones | August 12, 2019 | 7:47am EDT
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks on stage during a forum on gun safety at the Iowa Events Center on August 10, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

( - "We have a huge problem with guns," former Vice President Joe Biden wrote in a New York Times op-ed published on Sunday.

"Assault weapons — military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly — are a threat to our national security, and we should treat them as such. Anyone who pretends there’s nothing we can do is lying," he said, "and holding that view should be disqualifying for anyone seeking to lead our country."

Biden took partial credit for enacting the 1994 law that banned a variety of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines for 10 years.

He said he "fought hard" to extend the ban in 2004, but Republicans prevented that from happening.

"There’s overwhelming data that shootings committed with assault weapons kill more people than shootings with other types of guns. And that’s the point," Biden wrote.

"Shooters looking to inflict mass carnage choose assault weapons with high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. They choose them because they want to kill as many people as possible without having to stop and reload."

Biden mentioned the recent mass shooting in Dayton, where police stopped the gunman within seconds, but nine people still died.

"We have to get these weapons of war off our streets," he said.

Biden cited poll numbers, saying that "nearly 70 percent of the American public support a ban on assauult weapons, including 54 percent of Republicans."

He said if he is elected president, he will ban those weapons again.

"We’re going to stop gun manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor modifications to their products — modifications that leave them just as deadly. And this time, we’re going to pair it with a buyback program to get as many assault weapons off our streets as possible as quickly as possible.

"I won’t stop there," Biden continued:

"I’ll get universal background checks passed, building on the Brady Bill, which established the background check system and which I helped push through Congress in 1993. I’ll accelerate the development and deployment of smart-gun technology — something gun manufacturers have opposed — so that guns are keyed to the individual biometrics of authorized owners.

"There is so much we can do — practical, sensible steps that draw broad support among the American people. But we will see only more and deadlier shootings if we continue to dodge the core issue of unregulated assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in our communities."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives does not define the term "assault weapon," but the 1994 law that Biden supported does define them, as follows:

The term 'semiautomatic assault weapon' means--
(A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the
firearms, known as--
(i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies
Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models);
(ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI
and Galil;
(iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70);
(iv) Colt AR-15;
(v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC;
(vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12;
(vii) Steyr AUG;
(viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and
(ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or
similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12;

(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a
detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously
beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a bayonet mount;
(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel
designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
(v) a grenade launcher;

(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept
a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the
pistol outside of the pistol grip;
(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a
barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or
(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially
or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits
the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger
hand without being burned;
(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more
when the pistol is unloaded; and
(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic
firearm; and

(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of--
(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously
beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5
rounds; and
(iv) an ability to accept a detachable


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