by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former vice president and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden (Del.) expressed support for a national gun registry or national gun licensing “down the line” during a Wednesday forum sponsored by gun control groups and NBC News.
Forum host Craig Melvin challenged Biden on his newly released proposal to encourage states to require that citizens obtain a license before they may own a firearm. Melvin told Biden that Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) had argued during his own forum appearance that only a national licensing system—which Booker has proposed—would be effective. In response, Biden argued that analogous driver’s licenses are issued by the states. However, he also said that he could support “federal registration” in the long run.
“The idea of getting to federal registration down the line?” Biden said. “Possible. But I don’t want to hold things up and get into false fights. In the meantime, let’s get serious things done quickly.”
It is unclear if by “federal registration” Biden meant a national gun-licensing system or a national registry of firearms, or what, if any, practical difference exists between the two policies.
Biden also mentioned plans to ban new sales of “assault weapons” and “high capacity” ammunition magazines, institute a voluntary buyback, and require anyone who did not turn in their guns to register them with the federal government.