Vice President Biden said in an interview Thursday morning that opponents of stricter gun laws are creating “paranoia” and spreading “disinformation” about the Obama administration’s gun-control proposals.
Biden dismissed the National Rifle Association’s statements that expanding background checks for gun owners would create a federal gun registry. None of the measures under consideration this week in the Senate, he said, would infringe on people’s constitutional right to bear arms.
During a taped roundtable discussion that aired Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Biden sought to shame lawmakers who are opposed to supporting gun-control legislation by pointing to widespread public support of background checks and other measures.
“This is one of the cases where the public is so far ahead of the elected officials – I mean so far ahead,” Biden said. “You saw it in immigration, you saw it in marriage issues, you’re seeing it now. The public has moved to a different place.”
Biden said the culture of gun ownership has evolved since the 1990s, when he helped author the last significant gun-control measures passed by Congress. Back then, Biden said, “we were dealing almost exclusively with hunters.” But now, he said, there is a new group of individuals who don’t hunt, but own guns either for self-protection or because “they just like the feel of that AR-15 at the range…It’s like driving a Ferrari.”
Biden spoke around a table in a restaurant, with both supporters and opponents of gun-control in attendance. Tina Wilson-Cowen, founder of the women's gun advocacy organization “She Can Shoot,” said the background checks proposal “sounds reasonable,” but that there is a “paranoia, the fear,” that doing a universal background check could lead to a registry.
Biden grew defensive: “The one thing the NRA has done so well lately is the disinformation. We use the word ‘registration’ – there is no registration in America.”
“There is a paranoia that probably is a consequence of a whole range of things relating to federal government writ large, relating to where people are in their lives right now," Biden said. "I get all that. But the facts are, there’s not a single solitary thing that we have proposed…this argument that there’s any constitutional violation is absolutely not there.”