Obama and Biden Bitterly Clinging to Assault Weapons Ban

Posted: Mar 21, 2013 1:30 PM

As I wrote earlier, despite Harry Reid choosing to only allow Dianne Feinsten to offer her assault weapons ban legislation as an amendment rather than giving it a full vote on the Senate floor (where it would fail thanks to a lack of Democratic support), President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden aren't giving up hope the ban will eventually pass.

Block: Let's start with the assault weapons ban that does appear to be dying in the Senate. Is the White House still pushing to have that passed? Do you assume that it's now not going to happen?

Biden: I am still pushing that it pass. We are still pushing that it pass. The same thing was told to me when the first assault weapons ban in 1994 was attached to the Biden Crime bill; that it couldn't possibly pass. It was declared dead several times. I believe that the vast majority of the American people agree with us. The vast majority of gun owners agree with us. That military-style assault weapons are – these are weapons of war. They don't belong in the street, and the recent decision declaring the right of someone to own a weapon in their home for self-protection, Justice [Antonin] Scalia acknowledged that you can constitutionally banned certain type of weapons. And, so, I haven't given up on this.

Block: You are going to push for it. The Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn't even have 40 votes for the assault weapons ban.

Biden: Look, last time we passed it we only had seven Republican votes in 1994.

Block: But he doesn't have the Democrats.

Biden: Well, again. I have never found that it makes any sense to support something and declare that there is no possibility of it passing. There is a lot happening. Attitudes are changing, and I think the president and I are going to continue to push and we haven't given up on it.

But why is Biden so confident? Because he's done this before.

My experience, having been the only guy that did this once before, along with [Sen.] Dianne Feinstein and others, is that this doesn't necessarily happen in one fell swoop. For example, when the assault weapons ban was part of the so-called Biden Crime Bill that had 100,000 [INAUDIBLE] in it first was taken out, then we got it back in, then we had the background check bill -– the Brady Bill -– in it, and we were able to pull it out and get that passed separately – get the rest of this passed. So, I don't see this as, there's an automatic end point. That, OK, there's one vote, this is it, fails, now we move on. We are going to continue to push for logical, gun safety regulations. Eventually, the will of the people is going to prevail and we're going to keep at it.

"We're going to keep at it." Keep your eye on the Department of Justice, ATF and other regulatory agencies as we move forward with this fight. Biden was in New York earlier today at an event with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who again called for more gun control despite Feinstein's failure to find support from Democrats for her assault weapons legislation.

“Now, before I turn the floor over to the Vice President, let me just say that there is no better person to be leading this effort in Washington than Vice President Biden. When he was in the Senate, he was a leader in getting the original background check bill through Congress, and in drafting the original assault weapons ban.
“Even though restrictions on military-style weapons will not be part of the bill that goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate, it will get a vote by the full Senate, as an amendment to the bill, and everyone is going to have to stand up and say yay or nay. And then the rest of us have to decide just how we feel about people and their stance.
“We will do everything to win support for it. And I know the White House will be doing everything they can, too. And we’re going to continue giving the Vice President all the support we can – and we thank him for his leadership, and for coming here to stand with us today.”