Biden pens NYT op-ed calling for bringing back assault weapons ban

Biden pens NYT op-ed calling for bringing back assault weapons ban
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says lawmakers should censure Schiff Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public Trump threat lacks teeth to block impeachment witnesses 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.

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An assault weapons ban hasn't been in place since 2004, after the 1994 bill signed by former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonChelsea Clinton says she's not considering a bid for New York House seat Lewinsky says Trump impeachment inquiry affects her 'personally' Mellman: Which is the right question? 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. 

A handful of Biden's opponents, including former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeHillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets O'Rourke rips Bill O'Reilly: The problem with our economy is 'a disgraced TV host like you makes millions' O'Rourke on whether mass shooters would hand over weapons: 'I expect our fellow Americans to follow the law' MORE (D-Texas), Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenButtigieg tweeted support for 'Medicare for All' in 2018 Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Hillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats recognize Pronouns Day Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis MORE (D-N.J.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg tweeted support for 'Medicare for All' in 2018 Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate MORE (D), have gone further in gun control reform proposals calling for a gun licensing program

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.