The National Rifle Association (NRA) issued a blistering response to Vice President Kamala Harris arguing President Biden will ban so-called “assault weapons.”
“@JoeBiden has taken on the @NRA and won. He can do it again,” Harris tweeted Tuesday evening, accompanied by a campaign ad celebrating Biden’s determination to “ban assault weapons.”
The NRA shot back in exclusive comment to Fox News Digital on Wednesday that Harris needs a history lesson on Biden’s work in the 1990s to ban so-called “assault weapons.”
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“Vice President Harris should learn her history before going on social media. She’s referring to Biden’s 1994 vote for the ‘assault weapons’ ban as his big so-called victory,” NRA spokesman Billy McLaughlin told Fox News Digital. “Yet, thanks to the NRA, the ban expired in 2004. And, AR-15 ownership surged from 850,000 then to 25 million today.”
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Biden, while serving as a Delaware senator, voted to ban semi-automatic firearms in 1994 as part of a major crime bill, while the Democrat-majority House at the time passed the ban as a standalone bill. The bill ultimately was incorporated into the sweeping anti-crime package and required exceptions in order to pass, including a sunset provision.
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The bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in September of that year. It enacted a 10-year ban on the manufacture, transfer or possession of “semiautomatic assault weapons” and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.”
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President Biden answers a question during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Democrats suffered historical losses the next election season, ceding control of both chambers of Congress to Republicans, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said at the time she did not realize “the power of the NRA in [Washington, D.C.].”
The law expired in 2004, when George W. Bush was president and Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.
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“Even President Clinton’s DOJ conceded the ban was ineffective,” McLaughlin said in his statement.
A Department of Justice study published in 1999 that examined the short-term effects of the ban and found it “failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims.” Another DOJ study published in 2004 determined the ban’s “effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, smiles during the annual meeting of members in Indianapolis on April 27, 2019. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Democrats, including Biden, have continued championing the bill as one that curbed mass shootings.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed. It was the law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again,” Biden said in 2021 following a grocery store shooting in Boulder, Colorado.
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The NRA argued that the AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle frequently classified by liberals as an “assault weapon,” is wildly popular and described it as “America’s top self-defense rifle.”
Colt M4 Carbine and AR-15 style rifles are displayed during the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center, in Houston on May 28, 2022. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
“A testament to this is the 8-month pregnant Florida mother who, with her AR-15, defended her family from two armed intruders who brutally assaulted her husband. Joe and Kamala ought to speak to the many ignored and forgotten law-abiding Americans who rely on AR-15s for their safety,” McLaughlin continued, citing a 2019 case where a pregnant mom fatally shot an armed intruder and sent another suspect fleeing.
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The White House directed Fox News Digital to the Biden campaign team when approached for comment on the NRA’s statement.
“Time and time again, the gun lobby has chosen profits over human lives. The NRA doubling down on their deeply unpopular and dangerous support for weapons of war in our communities is a choice — and it’s a losing choice,” Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
The NRA continued in its statement that the “simple and painful truth is” the Biden administration is working to “persecute law-abiding gun owners,” while Americans are “under siege from criminals.”
The NRA argues that the AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle frequently classified by liberals as an “assault weapon,” is wildly popular and described it as “America’s top self-defense rifle.” (NRA)
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“They’re playing politics with human lives and are blind to the fact that their pro-criminal policies drive more people to buy guns. But then again, perhaps the President hesitates on enforcing gun laws because of issues closer to home,” McLaughlin concluded.