Former Vice President Joe Biden called for a reinstatement of the 1994 assault weapons ban in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Sunday, arguing “we have to get these weapons of war off our streets.”
Biden called assault weapons “a threat to our national security” before noting that he pushed the now-expired 1994 assault weapons ban in the Senate, saying “Those gun safety reforms made our nation demonstrably more secure.”
He added that if we are not able to pass gun reform measures, it would move beyond a “political” failure and would be a “moral” failure.
The 1994 assault weapons ban expired after a decade, and Biden wrote that he “fought hard to extend the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans in 2004,” explaining, “with the unfortunate benefit of hindsight, we now know that they did make a difference.”
The former vice president pointed to a recent Morning Consult study showing that 70% of Americans — including a majority of Republicans — support a new ban on assault weapons.
Biden also promised, “And if I am elected president, we’re going to pass them again — and this time, we’ll make them even stronger … we’re going to pair [the ban] with a buyback program to get as many assault weapons off our streets as possible as quickly as possible.”
In the editorial, Biden also promised to pass universal background checks if elected president. And, taking gun control a step further, he added: “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.”
Biden’s support for an assault weapons ban is not unique in the crowded 2020 Democratic field. Several of them, like Biden, have called for a voluntary buy-back program on assault weapons that would help get them off the streets.