Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act: a bill long overdue MORE, a Democratic presidential candidate, is pushing for a reinstatement of an assault weapons ban in the wake of two mass shootings last week that killed 31 people.
"The 1994 assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans worked. And if I am elected president, we’re going to pass them again — and this time, we’ll make them even stronger," Biden wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Sunday.
An assault weapons ban hasn't been in place since 2004, after the 1994 bill signed by former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Bill Clinton shares video update after release from hospital Biden, Democrats risk everything unless they follow the Clinton pivot (they won't) MORE expired.
"We have to get these weapons of war off our streets," Biden wrote.
Biden said he helped lead the effort along with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) to get the bill passed in 1994, and said he "fought hard to extend" the ban in 2004.
"The Republicans who allowed these laws to expire asserted that they were ineffective. But, almost 15 years after the bans expired, with the unfortunate benefit of hindsight, we now know that they did make a difference," Biden wrote.
In his op-ed, Biden cites police departments reporting an increase in criminals using assault weapons since 2004.
He also said that data around mass shootings shows that from 1994 to 2004 there were fewer mass shootings.
"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," he 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."
Along with the assault weapons ban, Biden said he'd pass universal background checks.
The Democratic-controlled House passed a universal background check bill in February. It has not been called to a Senate vote.
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Biden did not mention support for a gun licensing program in his op-ed.
A Biden campaign spokesperson was not immediately available for comment to respond.
Biden has previously said he's not sure a gun licensing policy is doable under the Constitution, CNN reports.
"I think there's a lot of things we can do directly now," Biden said. "That's not going to change, gun licensing will not change whether or not people buy what weapons — what kinds of weapons they can buy, where they can use them, how they can store them."
President Clinton has called for lawmakers to reinstate the ban in the wake of the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.