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Biden demands ban on ‘assault weapons,’ high-capacity magazines in first speech to Congress

President Joe Biden speaks before a joint session of Congress, April 28, 2021. (White House/Released)
April 29, 2021

In his first speech before both chambers of Congress, President Joe Biden focused heavily on his administration’s gun control agenda, calling once again for “reasonable reforms” on firearms, including a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.

“We need a ban on assault weapons and high—capacity magazines again. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We’ve done it before … and it worked,” Biden asserted in his speech. “Talk to most responsible gun owners, most hunters – they’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having 100 rounds – 100 bullets – in a weapon. They will tell you that there are too many people today who are able to buy a gun, but who shouldn’t be able to.”

Biden said gun-control advocates “beat the NRA” in the 1990s with the passage of universal background checks and a ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He claimed that “mass shootings and gun violence declined,” but the law expired in the early 2000s and “we’ve seen the daily bloodshed since.”

Biden also called for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the banning of home-made “ghost guns.”

“I will do everything in my power to protect the American people from this epidemic of gun violence. But it’s time for Congress to act as well. We need more Senate Republicans to join with the overwhelming majority of their Democratic colleagues, and close loopholes and require background checks to purchase a gun,” Biden said.

The National Rifle Association shot back at Biden on social media, tweeting, “Biden just touted the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban during his #PresidentialAddress. In ’94, Americans owned 850,000 AR-15s. Even the Clinton DOJ proved this ban to be a failure. Today, the ban is long gone & law-abiding Americans own 20 million AR-15s.”

“Who beat who, Mr. President?”

In 2004, the Department of Justice National Institute of Justice issued a report stating that the 1994 “assault weapons” ban did not actually reduce crime.

“We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence,” the report stated, according to a copy which was viewed by The Washington Times at the time.

The report noted that the “assault weapons” were “rarely used in gun crimes before the ban.”

“Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,” the report continued, later stating, “The ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Biden said the “reasonable reforms” he’s proposing have the “overwhelming support” of Americans “including many gun owners.” He then pressured Congress to take action, saying gun control isn’t a “Red vs. Blue issue. It’s an American issue.”

“When the President of the United States says you don’t need guns and ammo…YOU NEED GUNS AND AMMO,” the NRA tweeted.