President Joe Biden joked that people who think they needed guns to take on the US government would actually need nuclear weapons.
In a speech outlining his plan to combat gun violence on Wednesday, Biden said: “If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
Watch part of the speech here:
Biden also said there had always been limits on what kinds of weapons people could legally own: “The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”
“The point is that there has always been the ability to limit – rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it.”
Biden also said his administration would adopt a “zero tolerance” approach toward gun dealers who violate existing law. The president has long pushed for gun control legislation, including a ban on assault weapons.
The renewed calls for stricter federal gun legislation follow two deadly mass shootings in the US within the same week. On March 16, a gunman in the Atlanta area killed eight people, most of whom were Asian Americans, during an attack on three spas. Police said the shooter bought the weapon the same day as the killings.
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from Republicans in the Senate who don’t want to fight this fight any longer because the NRA’s authority is fading, the anti-gun violence movement’s impact is increasing,” Murphy said. “I think we have a chance.”
Murphy told Todd that “we should be having a broader conversation” about gun law reforms, but said gaining support for stronger background check legislation among Republicans was imperative to opening the door to other legislative efforts.
“I think right now our best chance to get something passed is universal background checks, and I think the theory of the case is that once we convince Republicans that the sky doesn’t fall for you politically when you support a reasonable expansion of something like background checks, you can move on to other interventions.”