The federal assault weapons ban “worked,” and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a New York Times opinon piece Sunday he will work to reinstate the measure if elected president in 2020.
Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993 when he worked to incorporate the ban into the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
“The 1994 assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans worked,” he wrote in the Times.
“And if I am elected president, we’re going to pass them again — and this time, we’ll make them even stronger. We’re going to stop gun manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor modifications to their products — products that were equally deadly. And this time, we’re going to pair it with a buyback program to get as many assault weapons off our streets as possible as quickly as possible.”
His comments follow two mass shootings in the U.S. that left 31 people dead and dozens more injured. Both gunmen used what police described as semi-automatic, assault-style weapons.
The El Paso, Texas, shooter used an AK-47-style rifle to kill 22 people, and the Dayton, Ohio, shooter carried what authorities initially described as a .223-caliber high-capacity rifle but is technically classified as a pistol. He killed nine. Authorities also say he had 110-round drum magazines.
“I fought hard to extend the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans in 2004,” Biden wrote in the Times. “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.”