‘Shootings committed with assault weapons kill more people than shootings with other types of guns…’
(AFP) Former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, called on Monday for reinstating a ban on “assault weapons” while falsely claiming they were responsible for most gun-related killings.
In a column in The New York Times, Biden also called for stricter background checks for gun buyers and greater use of “smart-gun technology” that allows a weapon only to be fired by its authorized owner.
“Assault weapons—military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly—are a threat to our national security, and we should treat them as such,” the former senator from Delaware said.
“There’s overwhelming data that shootings committed with assault weapons kill more people than shootings with other types of guns,” he said.
According to FBI statistics, that claim is false. The overwhelming majority of murders are committed by handguns, as noted in the agency’s annual “Crime in the U.S.” report.
In the most recent year for which statistics were available, 2017, handguns were responsible for around 64 percent of all gun related deaths.
Biden did not specify where he was deriving his false information from or if it was simply one of the many blunders he has become notorious for.
Either way, he continued to treat a ban on assault weapons as if it were a solution to the epidemic of gun violence that was prevalent under both the Barack Obama administration and the current administration of President Donald Trump.
“Shooters looking to inflict mass carnage choose assault weapons with high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds,” Biden said. “They choose them because they want to kill as many people as possible without having to stop and reload.”
Biden said that if he wins the 2020 presidential election, he would seek to reimpose a 1994 ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“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,” he said.
The 1994 law that banned assault weapons expired in 2004 and was not renewed during the Obama–Biden administration even though statistics showed that more mass shootings occurred in Obama’s last two years than in Trump’s first two.
Biden said that besides stricter background checks for gun buyers he would “accelerate the development and deployment of smart-gun technology… so that guns are keyed to the individual biometrics of authorized owners.”
Following the El Paso and Dayton shootings, President Donald Trump has said he supports expanding background checks but has come out against an assault weapons ban, a measure that is also opposed by the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association.
© Agence France-Presse