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Do vulnerable Democrats support Biden’s push for an ‘assault weapons’ ban? Most won’t say

Vulnerable House Democrats are staying largely silent on President Biden’s renewed call for an “assault weapons” ban this week despite the lack of clarity as to what such a ban would entail, as well as the issue of gun control becoming a major focal point for the midterm elections following a number of recent mass shootings and the passage of a largely Democrat-backed gun control bill.

Fox News Digital reached out to every Democrat running for re-election in races considered “toss-ups,” as well as “lean Republican,” and asked them if they agreed with Biden’s call to ban “assault weapons,” and, if so, what weapons would be included in such a ban.

Only one of them responded.

“We’re living in a country awash in weapons of war,” Biden told a crowd of supporters during a Monday White House ceremony celebrating the passage of the Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun control legislation passed in the last 30 years. 

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“I am determined to ban these weapons again, and high capacity magazines that hold 30 rounds, and let mass shooters fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes. I’m not going to stop until we do it,” he added.

Biden previously called for an “assault weapons” ban last month, just one week following a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers. However, he and other Democrats calling for such a ban have yet to define what an “assault weapon” actually is.

The office of Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., the only vulnerable elected Democrat to respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment, offered a statement reiterating his support for an “assault weapons” ban, but did not provide any detail on what firearms would be included beyond what it described as “military style.”

The statement specifically called for Congress to “enact H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban, to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines so that mass shooters cannot outgun our police officers.”

Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Sept. 16, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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The debate over gun control has returned as a hot-button issue as the country moves closer to the November elections, but despite recent mass shootings, it has not translated into increased support for a ban on “assault weapons.”

A Gallup poll on gun control released last month found that support for banning what it referred to as “assault rifles” had dropped over the years, down to 55% from 61% in Aug. 2019. The same poll also showed a majority of American adults say gun policies were “extremely important” when it came to how they decide to cast their vote in this year’s midterm elections, despite just 8% citing guns as the most important problem facing the country.

The term “assault rifle” has often been incorrectly conflated with semi-automatic rifles, which, firearms expert Stephen Gutowski previously told Fox News Digital, are “any rifle capable of firing a round and reloading itself from a magazine during each pull of its trigger.”

An “assault rifle,” Gutowski said, “refers to a rifle chambered for an intermediate-sized cartridge that is capable of both semiautomatic fire and automatic fire.”

A photo of various handguns on display.

Of the 19 Democrats in tight races that Fox News Digital reached out to, 17 did not respond, including Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., Rep. Steve Horsford, D-Nev., Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.

Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.

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