Biden to seek assault weapons ban in waning days of Dems’ control of Congress
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday will make his first trip to the Hill as the Democrats’ top fundraiser and as the party’s leading voice on Capitol Hill on the issue of gun violence, laying the groundwork for a potential assault weapons ban if Democrats maintain control of Congress in the final days of their control of the House and Senate.
The trip is the first of several Biden is planning that will put him squarely on the side of the gun lobby that has been waging a relentless campaign against the idea of federal assault weapons bans and, by extension, gun control measures. It also comes on the heels of the Senate Democrats’ landmark vote on Wednesday in favor of a federal gun buyback program, signaling growing bipartisan support for a national program to curb gun violence.
The trip is also part of the vice president’s push to court conservative voters, a shift that could prove decisive come Election Day.
The vice president’s trip — a departure from just the past few months — has the potential to put Biden squarely alongside the gun lobby’s top talking point, which is that Congress has no business trying to stop people from buying assault weapons. Those lawmakers have suggested the notion of an assault weapons ban as a way to stop gun violence from worsening.
Last month, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he favored an assault weapon ban in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. Reid said the idea stemmed from his support for the 1996 Brady Law, which bans the sale and manufacture of guns that have been altered to work like automatic weapons.
The National Rifle Association did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s queries about Biden’s trip and his strategy with gun control.
But the gun lobby maintains that what Biden is doing is wrong and is part of a “war” against their cause.
“No one can believe what Vice President Joe Biden thinks, but there is no question that he wants to be remembered as the champion of the gun lobby’s agenda,” said John Feinblatt, president of gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Feinblatt added the trip does not bode well for the president’s re-election.
“This is a terrible idea to try and win over suburban moderates,” he said.
The vice president’s aides stressed the trip is merely in