Biden Unveils Plan for Assault Weapons Ban, Would Not Include Gun Seizures

October 2, 2019 Updated: October 2, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden released a gun safety plan on Oct. 1 that includes an assault weapons ban but would not force people to sell their guns to the government, a proposal pushed by fellow 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Biden’s plan does include multiple aspects that would radically reshape the current gun environment. The assault weapons ban he’s proposing includes only two options for people who already have the guns: sell them to the government in what some refer to as a “buyback,” or get them registered.

A Biden administration would push for a congressional change to the National Firearms Act—which currently requires people possessing machine guns, silencers, and short-barreled rifles to register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—so that people who now own assault weapons would also have to register with the bureau.

“This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act,” the plan stated.

Biden’s plan said he would use executive action to ban the import of assault weapons in conjunction with the ban and would also push for legislation that would prevent people from buying more than one gun a month.

rural king gun sales
A Colt AR-15 on the counter of a gun store in a file photograph. (Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

Requiring background checks for all gun sales with limited exceptions, such as gifts between some family members; prohibiting any sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts online; and pushing for legislation that would give grants to state and local governments to require people to get a license before they purchase guns are among the other aspects of the plan.

Biden has spoken before about his preference for smart guns, which require a fingerprint match before they’re able to be used, and his campaign said that “Biden believes we should work to eventually require that 100 percent of firearms sold in the U.S. are smart guns.”

“But, right now the NRA and gun manufacturers are bullying firearms dealers who try to sell these guns,” his campaign stated. “Biden will stand up against these bullying tactics and issue a call to action for gun manufacturers, dealers, and other public and private entities to take steps to accelerate our transition to smart guns.”

Biden’s plan also includes an eight-year, $900 million program to combat shootings in the 40 cities with the highest rates of shootings.

A Biden aide told CNN that all of the measures in Biden’s plan have a “broad consensus” of support.

“The only people who haven’t come to that realization are Donald Trump, Leader McConnell, congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association,” the aide said.

“Joe Biden has been pushing the conversation on guns for at least the past 25 years, and he’s the only Democratic presidential candidate who on the national stage has defeated the National Rifle Association—and he’s done it twice.”

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