Former Vice President Joe Biden believes the man who intercepted the Texas church shooter should never have been allowed to possess the gun he used to possibly prevent further loss of life.
During a Monday appearance on NBC’s “Today,” Biden responded to a question about hero Stephen Willeford’s use of an AR-15-style rifle to engage the shooter outside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying,” he said, referring to the semi-automatic rifle as an “assault weapon.”
Biden’s questioner had asked him how he could justify the Democratic position on gun control, which advocates tighter restrictions on the ownership of AR-15 pattern rifles, knowing that the church shooter was stopped by a man who was legally licensed to carry a gun. After saying the Texas good Samaritan shouldn’t have been allowed to own an AR-15, Biden launched into a brief history of his involvement in the 1994 assault weapons ban.
“I wrote the last serious gun control law that was written, it was law for 10 years,” Biden said of the ban, which outlawed the sale of some newly manufactured semi-auto rifles and high-capacity magazines. “And it outlawed assault weapons and it outlawed weapons with magazines that had a whole lot of bullets, as you can kill a whole lot of people more quickly.”
During his time as vice president, Biden was the Obama administration’s leading gun control advocate and repeatedly called on Congress to renew the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Biden led a gun violence working group that recommended a new ban, as well as broad changes to background and mental health checks for gun purchases.
Though Biden was asked specifically about his position on ownership of AR-15-style rifles by law-abiding citizens, his response focused on mentally disturbed people who manage to acquire the weapons.
“Now the fact that some people with guns are legally able to acquire a gun and they turn out to be crazy after the fact, that’s life. There’s nothing you can do about that,” he said. “But we can save a lot of lives, and we’ve stopped tens of thousands of people from getting guns who shouldn’t have guns.”
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