Biden: 1994 Assault Weapons Ban ‘Worked Too Well’

January 25, 2013 - 6:51 PM


Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(CNSNews.com) – Vice President Joe Biden, who headed the gun violence task force following the school shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month, and who proposed an assault weapons ban to President Obama earlier this month, said the original 1994 assault weapons ban “worked too well.”

“In a sense,” Biden added, “the crime bill worked too well because what happened was violent crime diminished significantly.”

“And as a consequence of that, those folks who represent a minority of people, who were much more energized from their perspective, were able to come in and undo a lot of what had been positively done,” he said.

Biden’s came during his participation in a “Google Hangout” last Thursday -- an online video chat room which allows presenters and audience to interact. he appeared alongside management expert Guy Kawasaki and several other bloggers.

One participant, in reference to gun control, asked Biden: “Why is this so hard? How did it come to this point where special interests seem to control Congress even to the point of what research can be done? How did we get to this point?”

Biden responded: “Well, look -- let me choose my words here. Both left and right take absolutist positions and yet the vast majority of the American people agree on certain basic, basic principles relating to public safety and gun safety. And what happens is you’ll hear -- and I met with the NRA, by the way -- you’ll hear the NRA say, ‘Well, that may not be so bad but it’s a slippery slope. It’s a slippery slope. If you allow that to happen then the next thing you know you’re going to call for firearms registration, gun registration, you’re going to be able to confiscate my weapon, etc.’”

Biden continued, “And so part of this is -- when the original crime bill was passed in ‘94, there was a great concern and consensus about the rise of gratuitous violence in America and so there was a mewing cry going up nationally.”

“In a sense,” Biden added, “the crime bill worked too well because what happened was violent crime diminished significantly.”

“And as a consequence of that, those folks who represent a minority of people, who were much more energized from their perspective, were able to come in and undo a lot of what had been positively done,” he said.

“For example, as you point out, Guy, there were provisions in the law that were added that were interpreted as saying the Center for Disease Control can’t even keep statistics on gun violence, can’t even do research on this.”

“And the one thing that bothers me,” he said, “There’s part of the interest group population out there that are afraid of the facts. Let the facts lead where they will and let the research be done.”

Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was the Senate sponsor of the '94 assault weapon ban.