“It’s within our grasp to end our gun violence epidemic and respect the Second Amendment, which is limited,” a campaign statement said.
What would the plan do?
Biden’s plan is multifaceted. One major component Biden wants to explore is the connection between domestic violence and guns. He would launch a task force to study the connection between mass shootings, violence against women, extremism and online harassment. The task force would include federal agencies, state leaders, police, activists and technology experts. Biden’s campaign also pushed for the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which expired last year.
Biden also wants to invest heavily in urban intervention programs to combat daily gun violence. The programs would target 40 cities with high homicide rates. The proposal includes connecting trauma victims and those at risk of engaging in gun violence with necessary social and economic resources. Within his first 100 days in office, Biden would direct his Cabinet to review federal programs that deal with trauma and invest in ensuring that care is well informed, including establishing a network of trauma-care centers.
On the legislative side, Biden wants to ban the sale and manufacture of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Assault weapons that are already owned by the public would be regulated under the National Firearms Act, similar to regulations for machine guns and silencers. He also wants to launch a federal buyback program for those who opt not to register their weapons with the National Firearms Act. Online sales of guns would be banned.
Background checks would also be required for all gun purchases, though some rare exceptions could be made for gifts between close family members. The plan also lists several loopholes around background checks that Biden would tackle as president.
Gun licenses would be handled by state and local governments, but Biden would incentivize states through funds to adopt licensing policies as well as “red flag” laws to prevent high-risk individuals from owning firearms.
How much will it cost?
The initiative to combat urban violence will involve $900 million invested over eight years. The campaign predicts the program will save more than 12,000 lives during the time period. He also plans to call on Congress to appropriate $50 million for research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence as a public health epidemic. Biden’s campaign did not provide cost estimates for other parts of his proposal.
How would he pay for it?
Biden’s campaign was less clear on how he would pay for the ambitious programs, but a senior campaign official said funding would come from making sure the “super wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.” The policy rollout on Wednesday did not include a specific plan to fund the measure.
What have other Democrats proposed?
Several candidates have made gun violence a key part of their campaigns. All candidates support universal background checks and assault weapons bans. Tom Steyer also proposed a federal-level task force to address gun violence in the form of a “special Office on Gun Violence Prevention.” Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke called for a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons, and both Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren advocated a federal-level gun licensing program.
Who opposes it?
The NRA and congressional Republicans will probably muster serious pushback against the plan, but Biden’s campaign doesn’t think that will be too big of an issue. A senior Biden campaign official touted the candidate’s past successes taking on the powerful gun lobby, including with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which established federal background checks in 1993. The campaign also cited a 1994 bill that Biden worked to secure with Sen. Dianne Feinstein to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for 10 years.
Regarding Congressional Republicans, the campaign official said: “We’re going to win back the Senate.”