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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Speaking from the East Room of the White House Thursday night – shortly before jetting off to the beach in Delaware for the weekend – President Joe Biden tripled down on his calls for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and repeated the false claim a previous ban from 1994-2004 reduced mass shootings. 


"We need to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. And if we can't ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21, strengthen background checks, enact safe storage laws and red flag laws. Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers' liability," Biden said. "These are rational, commonsense measures. And here's what it all means, it all means this. We should reinstate the assault weapons ban, high capacity magazines that we passed in 1994 with bipartisan support in Congress and the support of law enforcement. Nine categories of semi-automatic weapons were included in that ban, like AK-47s, and AR-15s. And in the 10 years it was law, mass shootings were down." 

A 2004 Department of Justice funded study from the University of Pennsylvania Center of Criminology concluded the ban cannot be credited with a decrease in violence carried out with firearms. The report is titled "An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003." 

"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, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury," the summary of the report on the study's findings states. "The ban's impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs [assault weapons] were used in no more than 8% of gun crimes even before the ban." 


During his remarks, Biden claimed it was time to "do something," without specifying how his proposals to curtail Second Amendment rights would have stopped the massacre in Uvalde or other mass shootings. He also urged voters to use the issue, in the wake of tragedy, as motivation to vote in November. 

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