Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday made clear his intentions to reboot an expired ban on popular semi-auto firearms if he moves into the White House.
Biden, a career politician who served two terms as the country's Vice President and 35 years as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, called back to the days of his key support in Congress of the controversial Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.
"Weapons of war have no place in our communities," Biden said on his campaign's social media accounts. "When I was a senator, I took on the NRA and secured a 10-year ban on assault weapons — and as president, I’ll ban these weapons again."
An amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, to an omnibus crime bill, the ban squeaked by the Democrat-controlled Senate on a 56-43 vote with a number of Dems crossing the aisle to cast a vote against the measure. Among the 56 was Biden. The measure was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton (D) and expired in 2004.
While touted by those on the left as an antidote to crimes involving firearms, the decade-long AWB produced few results as it largely targeted legal guns sold to law-abiding gun owners. A study by the Centers for Disease Control examined such bans as a means to reduce crime and found the tactic lacking, saying there was “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”
It turned out that crime statistics showed that such outlawed classes of guns contributed to less than 1 percent of homicides, a crime that has been on the decrease for years and continued to decline even after the ban expired in 2004 and the sale of "black rifles" resumed.
Today, there are more than 18 million modern sporting rifles believed to be in circulation. Industry groups point out that the guns are in common circulation and used for lawful purposes, including recreational target shooting, hunting and self-defense.
Banning America's Rifle?
Mark Oliva, a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant who served three tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and several tours of duty in other locations from Albania to Zaire, scoffed at the definitions proffered by Democrat leadership on the issue of just what constitutes an "assault weapon."
"Unlike Joe Biden, I’ve seen war several times. I know what an assault weapon is and isn’t. The rifle I carried in war is not the same rifle that is in my gun safe today," Oliva, who serves as the director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Guns.com Wednesday.
"Joe Biden’s stance on guns is already clear," said Oliva. "This is the same man who called the industry ‘the enemy’ from the presidential debate stage. He berated and swore at a union worker who dared to question his commitment to preserving Second Amendment rights. He negligently said to blindly fire two blasts with a shotgun at unknown targets."
NSSF recently commissioned a survey firm to poll voters in 18 key battleground states on gun politics, and their findings should give Mr. Biden a moment of pause. The majority of voters who responded said they wanted to own the firearm of their choosing without government interference and believed it was the duty of the government to enforce existing laws instead of creating new ones that would only punish the law-abiding.
The Biden campaign may have gotten a dose of that pushback as the top two most-liked comments on his pledge to reboot the AWB slammed the proposal.
"We all know they want to take away guns from law abiding citizens," said the first reply, with 2,400 likes while the second painted a picture of a likely voter who got pushed off the fence, saying, "Think I’ll sit out this election now, I was going to vote Biden but not if you want to take away my second amendment rights. Good luck with the contested southern and western states."
The pushback didn't surprise Oliva.
"Joe Biden is talking about banning the most popular-selling centerfire, semiautomatic rifle on the market today," said Oliva. "Instead of talking about seizing gun rights from law-abiding citizens during the most active period of firearm purchases in America, the former vice president should be telling criminals they will be held accountable for their actions," he said.
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