Biden: Gun manufacturers, 'not the NRA,' are the 'enemy'

Biden: Gun manufacturers, 'not the NRA,' are the 'enemy'
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Joe BidenJoe BidenJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE said Thursday that gun manufacturers, not the National Rifle Association (NRA), are the Democratic Party's "enemy" in its efforts to reform gun control laws. 

Biden's remarks came during the second of the first two Democratic presidential primary debates after the former vice president rattled off a slate of his accomplishments from his time in the Senate and Obama administration.

Biden cited his efforts in banning assault rifles and expanding background checks, adding that he would explore a buyback program for assault rifles. He went on to call for smart guns to include biometric readers, but said gun manufacturers were an obstacle in achieving that goal.

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“Last thing, we should have smart guns. No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure can pull that trigger. It’s within our right to do that, we can do that, our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA,” he said.

Biden's campaign quickly doubled down on the comment in a subsequent tweet.

“The members of the NRA are not our opponents — the vast majority of them support common-sense reforms, including universal background checks. The gun manufacturers who bankroll the NRA are our opponent. As president, Biden will defeat them,” the campaign tweeted from Biden’s account.

Biden mentioned gun control in his education plan released last month, asserting that arming teachers is not a solution to ending school shootings — a policy endorsed strongly by the NRA. 

Gun control has become one of several animating issues for Democratic voters in the wake of a number of recent mass shootings.

Fellow White House hopeful Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMarkey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Swalwell to DNI: 'You do not have to be a part of a lawless administration' MORE (D-Calif.) has made gun control his signature issue, taking the fight for gun control to the NRA's headquarters earlier this month.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Krystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum MORE (I-Vt.) tweeted after a shooting in Virginia Beach last month, which killed 11 people and injured six, that "the days of the NRA controlling Congress and writing our gun laws must end. Congress must listen to the American people and pass gun safety legislation. This sickening gun violence must stop."

Sanders, who has consistently run second behind Biden in national polling, has accused Republicans of being "in the pocket" of the NRA.