© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Joe Biden Calls For Gun Reforms In Columbus Campaign Stop

Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, on March 10, 2020.
Nick Evans
/
WOSU
Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, on March 10, 2020.

Activists from Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign fanned out behind the podium in a small Driving Park gymnasium. Wearing red or purple shirts, many held signs declaring “beat the NRA with Biden."

Former Vice President Joe Biden used his trip to Columbus on Tuesday to talk about gun violence, and lay out the policies he’d pursue in office. Among those were a kind of “greatest hits” that has developed among those pushing for reform: universal background checks, an end to the gun show loophole, and new limits on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

“Assault weapons and high capacity magazines are designed for no purpose other than to kill quickly and as brutally as possible,” Biden argued before raising his voice. “No one needs them.”

But those well-worn policy proposals have gotten that way because little has changed in federal policy, despite years of high profile shootings and activists calling for reform. Biden admitted persistent gun violence has begun to seem in some sense “normal.”

Invoking last year’s shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District, Biden insisted normal isn’t good enough.

“For families who have been affected by gun violence, normal is a living nightmare," Biden said. "For families in Dayton who learned last year to have a mass shooting rip through the community, normal is unacceptable."

Crystal Turner
Credit Nick Evans / WOSU
/
WOSU
Crystal Turner

Biden was joined onstage by Crystal Turner, a local woman who lost two grown children in a 2015 shooting not far from the Driving Park Community Center. It was a domestic dispute in which Jenea Harvison and her brother Donell McDonald were shot and killed by Harvison’s estranged husband.

Turner argued electing Biden would bring the country one step closer to ending gun violence.

“As broken hearted as I am, I try to celebrate my children’s lives so that my grandchildren know that their mother and uncle were special and loved," she said. "No one. No one deserves the pain that my family and I have lived every day.”

Biden also promised he’d push to roll back a longstanding civil liability exemption for the makers of firearms, arguing that the same protections rightly aren’t available for the makers of opioids or tobacco products.

The Democrat insisted grassroots organizers like those lined up behind him would make the difference passing legislation.

Biden had planned another campaign stop in Cleveland on Tuesday night, but canceled it because of coronavirus concerns. Sen. Bernie Sanders, his main contender in the Democratic presidential primary, also canceled a Cleveland rally the same night.