Posted by 06 August 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden has unveiled his proposal to deal with mass shootings. He said that he wants to reinstitute the federal ban on assault weapons and couple that with a buyback program for these guns.
Biden announced his proposals in the wake of three recent mass shootings. He joins his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination in pursuing stricter controls on who can own guns and what types of guns can be sold.
Assault weapons are semi-automatic firearms that have cosmetic features resembling military rifles. They have been used by many of the individuals who have committed mass shootings in recent years. From 1994-2004, there was a federal ban on their sale, though not the possession of them. This ban expired and Congress did not move to reauthorize it.
Under Biden’s plan, that ban would once again be put in place. In addition, the federal government would buy assault weapons that are currently legal to own. He did not commit to confiscating these guns, but that is what some activists are pushing to do.
Biden justified his plan on the grounds that it would improve public safety. He noted that the government already restricts some types of weapons from the public, so it could do so with these weapons that he considers especially dangerous. Critics of targeting assault rifles point out that they differ only cosmetically from other firearms. They also note that studies have shown that the previous assault weapons ban had little to no effect on crime.
Any such ban and buyback program would not only need the president’s signature, but also must pass Congress.
Do you think that assault weapons should be banned? Should the federal government institute a buyback program for these types of guns?