Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his gun safety proposals Saturday, the seventh anniversary of the fatal shooting of 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Several other 2020 Democratic candidates have unveiled plans to implement an assault weapons ban and expand background checks, but Biden touted his experience fighting the National Rifle Association's gridlock.
Biden, who was vice president at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, said then-President Barack Obama asked him to lead a task force that met with 229 groups and submitted a "sweeping plan" to make communities safer.
The Obama administration "announced 23 executive actions to strengthen the gun background check system, restart public health research on gun violence, and help schools establish emergency management plans, and more," Biden said in a statement. "We also put forward legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales, but the Senate defeated that bill in April 2013."
If elected president, Biden said he would require background checks for all gun sales, repeal the federal law that protects gun manufacturers from civil liability claims, ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and "incentivize states to enact red flag laws," which "get guns out of dangerous hands."
He added that if Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell continues to block gun safety reforms in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, he'll make it a priority in his first 100 days office to implement those reforms.
"I said when I got into this race that I'm running to restore the soul of America," Biden said in the statement. "Few things make the need for that more clear than school shootings -- what kind of nation are we if we simply accept that kids learn active shooter drills with their ABCs?"
Biden said the NRA has lobbied against commonsense gun safety reforms despite the Sandy Hook shooting and other school shootings since then, but he remains "optimistic" about the future.
"There's a reason why I remain so optimistic that we will ultimately defeat the NRA," Biden's statement said. "Its best efforts and all its gun-manufacturer money haven't been able to squelch the momentum for change that Sandy Hook set loose."