Without uttering the word "balloon," or mentioning his recent release of a notorious Russian arms dealer, President Biden chastised the country on Tuesday over popular semi-auto firearms.

Fresh off a minor victory lap from burning a $400,000 missile to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon after days of bad press over the matter, Biden spoke to a divided Congress at the U.S. Capitol this week to deliver his second State of the Union Address since moving into the Oval Office. Pausing on a variety of topics across an 80-minute prepared speech, Biden made sure to circle around to the topic of gun control. 

After referring to last year's rushed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as "the most sweeping gun safety law in three decades," without referencing the fact that it was a $9.5 billion social spending measure tied with a bow in the form of arbitrary stricter background checks on adults aged 18 to 20, Biden moved on to a crusade near and dear to his heart: outlawing common sporting rifles. 

"Ban assault weapons once and for all," he said, before going on to reference his oft-touted role in the long-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban signed by President Clinton back when Boyz II Men was on the top of the charts. "We did it before. I led the fight to ban them in 1994."

 

Biden Clinton Assault Weapon Ban 1993
Biden, a key supporter of the measure in the U.S. Senate in 1994, sat behind President Bill Clinton at the signing of the controversial 1994 crime bill, which included the oft-derided federal Assault Weapons Ban. (Photo: C-SPAN screenshot)

 

"Let’s finish the job and ban assault weapons again," said Biden Tuesday night, with the White House echoing the comments via social media. 

Notably, Biden has addressed AWBs – and his desire to enact a broader one than the federal ban that expired in 2004 – no less than 160 times since taking office.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the 89-year-old California Democrat who penned the original ban, introduced a new version to Congress last month. The 126-page measure would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of "military-style assault weapons" and "high-capacity magazines and other high-capacity ammunition feeding devices."

Gun industry trade groups estimate that at least 24 million AR-15 and AK-47-style rifles are in circulation in the U.S.
 

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