Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate 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.
“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.
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.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 28, 2019
As president, Biden will defeat them.#DemDebate
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 SwalwellOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation 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 SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants 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.