Aug 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden says he is "determined" to ban assault weapons during crime prevention speech

President Joe Biden waves while boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on August 30, 2022
President Biden waves while boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Aug. 30. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Tuesday that he is "determined" to ban assault weapons nationwide during a speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he laid out his crime prevention plan.

Driving the news: "We took on the NRA. We're gonna take them on again, and we won, and we will win again, but we're not stopping here. I'm determined to ban assault weapons in this country. Determined. I did it once before and I'll do it again," Biden said.

  • "It's time to hold every elected official's feet to the fire and ask them, 'Are you for banning assault weapons? Yes or no?' Ask them. And if the answer is no, vote against them," he said.

Catch up quick: Biden in June urged Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban, which was passed in 1994 and expired under President George W. Bush in 2004, Axios' Herb Scribner reports.

What he's saying: Biden said that his public safety plan, called "Safer America Plan," is based on a "simple notion," adding, "When it comes to public safety in this nation, the answer is not defund the police, it's fund the police."

  • "We expect [police] to do everything. We expect them to protect us, to be psychologist to be sociologists," he said.
  • He said that his crime plan is to recruit, hire and train more than 100,000 additional police officers nationwide for community policing.
  • "As we've seen too often, public trust is frayed, it is broken, and it undermines public safety when it gets frayed," Biden said.
  • "When it comes to fighting crime, we know what works," he continued. "Officers on the street who know the neighborhood."
  • Biden also condemned attacks against the FBI in the wake of the search warrant at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, saying the attacks are "sickening."
  • "There's no place in this country, no place, for endangering the lives of law enforcement," he said.

The big picture: Biden in June signed a bipartisan gun safety bill into law, the most significant federal gun legislation in nearly three decades, which bolstered background checks and clarification on the "boyfriend loophole," among other provisions.

  • Wilkes-Barre, in northeastern Pennsylvania, is near Biden's hometown of Scranton, a onetime Democratic stronghold that has become more Republican, Axios' Josh Kraushaar reports.

What to watch: Biden has at least two other visits planned in the battleground state over the next week. He is scheduled to speak in Philadelphia on Thursday and he'll travel to Pittsburgh on Monday for a Labor Day celebration.

  • Former President Trump is also holding a visit near Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, signaling the region's national political significance, Kraushaar notes.

Go deeper... Pennsylvania split screen: Biden v. Trump

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