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 BidenNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications 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 ClintonCNN's Cuomo promotes 'Dirty Donald' hashtag, hits GOP for 'loyalty oath' to Trump Whether a rule is cruel or kind, regulatory analysis shines a light Moderate or left of center — which is better for Democrats in 2020? 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'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race MORE (D-Texas), Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump executive order aimed at combating anti-Semitism stirs up controversy Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Democrats threaten to skip next debate over labor dispute MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Booker cancels NH activities, campaign says he has the flu MORE (D-N.J.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBooker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Buttigieg rolls out endorsements from South Bend officials Democrats threaten to skip next debate over labor dispute 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.