At a gun safety forum in Des Moines, former Vice President Joe Biden mocked advocates of Second Amendment rights who lean on Thomas Jefferson’s famous “tree of liberty” quote.
“Give me a break,” Biden said. “Carrying concealed weapons? Come on. Come on.”
“Can you go out and buy a flamethrower? Can you go out and buy an F-15?” he said. “If you want to protect yourself against the federal government, you’re going to need at least an F-15.”
Biden was mocking pro-gun advocates who cite Jefferson’s line, delivered in a letter discussing Shays’ Rebellion: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.”
“No amendment is, in fact, absolute,” Biden said. “You cannot, you cannot stand up in this hall and yell ‘fire.’ That’s not freedom of speech.”
Biden also brought up a controversial remark he’d made in the past that the National Rifle Association is not gun control advocates’ enemy. He said the problem is that “the gun manufacturers are supplying the leadership of the NRA with their income.”
“The reason they don’t want what they know is rational gun policy is they’ll sell fewer guns. They’ll sell less ammunition. Who in God’s name needs a weapon that can handle 100 rounds? For God’s sake,” he said.
He advocated a series of gun control measures, starting with requiring gun manufacturers to use biometric markers -- like a fingerprint, used to unlock older iPhones -- that ensure only the owner of a gun can fire it.
Biden also said gun manufacturers should not be shielded from liability for how their guns are used. Additionally, he advocated for confiscating the guns of anyone with a restraining order and for an assault weapons ban.
“There’s a lot of practical things that we’re not doing that are easily able to be done, but it requires the federal government to have a commitment to follow through on what all of you are talking about,” Biden said.