When asked question during an interview with CNN as to what he’d say to gun owners worried that Biden would be coming for their guns, he quickly answered: "Bingo! You're right, if you have an assault weapon."
"The fact of the matter is [assault weapons] should be illegal. Period," Biden said. "The Second Amendment doesn't say you can't restrict the kinds of weapons people can own. You can't buy a bazooka. You can't have a flame-thrower."
Biden has been a prominent supporter of bans on assault weapons and firearms with high-capacity magazines, as well as universal background checks for gun purchases. As a senator from Delaware, Biden had a large role in crafting the 1994 assault-weapons ban. The bill, signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, prohibited the use of certain semi-automatic firearms defined as assault weapons as well as certain large-capacity ammunition magazines. However, it expired in 2004 and further attempts to reauthorize the ban were unsuccessful.
The debate around gun violence has reemerged after at least 22 people were killed and 26 others were injured on Saturday after a gunman opened fire on passersby in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, with another gunman attacking people in Dayton, Ohio later in the evening, killing nine and injuring 26 others. Authorities are treating the pair of incidents as acts of domestic terrorism.
President Donald Trump spoke to the FBI and his attorney general about the incidents and said “a lot of things” were “being done right now” to put an end to the spate of mass shootings plaguing the US. Trump later proposed “strong” firearm purchase background checks to be put into a prospective immigration reform bill. On Monday, Trump called on Americans to condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy, and said “more has to be done” to address gun violence, including reforms to mental health laws, and efforts to tackle a “violent culture” that he said was reflected in “video games that celebrate violence.”