Biden Critiqued for Appearing to Back Ban of Handguns as DoJ Launches Gun Crackdown ‘Strike Forces’

(USA Features) President Joe Biden appeared to suggest that he was open to banning most handguns in addition to military-style rifles during a CNN-sponsored town hall event in Cincinnatti that was only about half-full.

“I’m the only guy that ever got passed legislation when I was a senator to make sure we eliminated assault weapons,” Biden said, referencing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that included a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” “

“The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon, whether it’s a, whether it’s a 9mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous,” he continued.

The ‘assault weapons’ ban was allowed to sunset after a decade by a then-GOP-controlled Congress in 2004. Subsequent research by the Justice Department and other entities found that the ban did virtually nothing to curb gun crimes, though similar studies found that gun law enforcement was more effective.

“I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things, but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term,” Biden added.

Biden wasn’t clear about whether he meant that he wants to ban 9mm handguns outright or gun magazines that hold more than 20 rounds. Most handgun magazines that come with the gun hold fewer than 20 rounds and in some cases, far fewer.

Nevertheless, Republicans jumped on Biden’s comment and vowed never to let him pass a handgun ban.

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President Biden says he wants to ban handguns. House Republicans will NEVER allow this to happen the #SecondAmendment is a RIGHT,” House Republicans tweeted.

Majority Democrats have passed bills that limit or ban hundreds of firearms that are currently legal to purchase.

“House Democrats earlier this year passed a pair of bills that would expand background checks with little Republican support. Some Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would ban 205 ‘assault weapons’ and another bill that would ban magazines with more than 10 rounds,” The Epoch Times reported.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department on Thursday announced the formation of five “Strike Forces” that would deploy across five regions of the country in an effort to crackdown on illegal gun trafficking.

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The announcement by Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected Thursday when he and deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco visit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, before heading to Chicago, one of five Strike Force cities.

“All too often, guns found at crime scenes come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. We are redoubling our efforts as ATF works with law enforcement to track the movement of illegal firearms used in violent crimes,” Garland said in a statement.

“These strike forces enable sustained coordination across multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun trafficking corridors,” he added.

The initiative, first announced June 22, “is meant to strengthen enforcement against gun-trafficking networks to disrupt the flow of unlawfully obtained firearms to places where they are used to commit crimes,” The Epoch Times reported separately.

Garland said then that the initiative is designed to bolster cooperation between the federal government and “local partners,” while championing the move as “another concrete step to address violent crime and illegal firearms trafficking.”