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Biden says he can get gun safety measures passed

Former vice president says he'll be campaigning in Iowa 'a lot'

Former Vice President Joe Biden talks to fairgoers Thursday from the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The former vice president said he believes, as president, he could help get increased gun safety measures approved in Congress. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Former Vice President Joe Biden talks to fairgoers Thursday from the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The former vice president said he believes, as president, he could help get increased gun safety measures approved in Congress. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Joe Biden is not only calling for increased gun safety measures. He believes as president he could help get them passed into law.

The former vice president and Democratic presidential hopeful is in Iowa this week for the first time since this past weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

In an interview with The Gazette on Thursday, Biden called for a number of gun safety measures and said as president he could oversee their passage into law.

“I believe that, as president, I can get a ban on assault weapons, and I think I can get a ban on the number of bullets that can be in a clip, and institute regulations requiring that you engage in gun safety,” Biden said.

Biden said he supports oft-proposed measures like expanded background checks and bans on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

But he also called for requiring gun owners to have their guns secured while not in use, for a ban on bullets designed to tear through protective gear — “Come on, man, how many deer are wearing Kevlar vests?” Biden said — and for a requirement that gun manufacturers include fingerprint safety devices designed to allow only the gun’s owner to fire it.

Biden said Democrats can push gun safety measures without the risk of alienating potential swing voters in important presidential voting states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre earlier this week told Republican President Donald Trump that pursuing more expansive background check requirements would not be popular with his supporters, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Biden said Congress and the president should not back down to special interest groups and said his gun safety proposals do not violate the U.S. Constitution.

“We can argue about a well-regulated militia and all those issues I used to teach in constitutional law,” he said.

“But the bottom line is this: There has never been an argument that you cannot limit who can own a gun. So this idea that there’s a constitutional issue — there’s no constitutional issue here.”

Polls continue to show Biden leading the expansive field of Democratic presidential candidates. In Real Clear Politics’ average of national polls, Biden leads the field by more than 15 percentage points and leads Elizabeth Warren in Iowa by 9 points.

A new Monmouth Poll, published Thursday, shows Biden with a 9-point advantage over Warren. The same poll showed Warren’s support increasing by 12 points since the last poll in April, while Biden’s support remained level.

Biden said he believes his campaign is generating enthusiasm and that he will campaign in Iowa regularly and that his campaign organization will be strong enough to compete for Iowa caucus support.

“We’re able to fund a serious staff, and we’re going to be here a lot,” Biden said. “I think there’s a real interest. And I think people are going to keep their powder dry until they get a good look at everybody. That’s the thing about Iowa that’s so special.

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“So I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to be here a lot, and no one’s going to work harder to win their votes than I am. I think we’re going to have a first-rate organization.”

• Comments: (563) 383-2492; erin.murphy@lee.net

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