Vice President Biden defended a proposed assault weapons ban on Tuesday during an online town hall.
Biden, responding to a question about what a possible ban would mean for citizens who want to defend themselves, argued that someone can still properly defend themselves without owning an automatic weapon.
Biden's comments come as the Obama administration continues to push a package of new proposals aimed at preventing shooting massacres similar to the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which resulted in 28 deaths. In his State of the Union address earlier in February, President Obama urged Congress to pass legislation adding universal background checks for gun purchasers, and at least hold a vote on an assault weapons ban.
Critics argue that an assault weapons ban would not stem gun violence in the United States and would infringe upon Second Amendment rights. Biden brushed aside that criticism on Tuesday, saying the Constitution does allow the federal government to prohibit citizens from owning certain weapons without infringing upon their rights to defend themselves.
"The Constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally own," Biden said.
As an example, Biden said if that weren't the case, citizens could use flamethrowers or grenade launchers used by the military.
Biden added that new gun laws did not mean amending the Second Amendment.
"You don't have to amend the Second Amendment to be able to eliminate assault weapons and limit the number of assault bullets in a clip," Biden said. "And I don't think we should amend the Second Amendment."
Throughout the town hall, Biden repeatedly returned to his general argument on guns: there are measures the federal government can take to reduce gun violence.
"I just think there are a lot of rational things that we can do that will increase the prospect that fewer people will be the victim of gun violence," Biden said. "And we should."