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

Biden: Gun manufacturers, 'not the NRA,' are the 'enemy'
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Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' 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 SwalwellHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Moulton campaign makes formal case to DNC to be added to debate stage Bullock makes CNN debate stage 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 SandersBullock: I would not have endorsed health care for undocumented immigrants on debate stage Harris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act 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.