By Aaron Blake
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s relationship over the years with the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been marked by antagonism — particularly given Biden’s central role in passing the 1994 crime bill that codified the first federal assault weapons ban. Biden has also routinely earned an “F” rating from the group.
In the midst of the antagonism have been a few instances when the two have worked together — or at least tried to — and some attempts by Biden to connect with gun owners.
Here’s a look at the interactions between the two over the years:
The NRA fought tooth and nail against passage of the 1994 crime bill, which Biden authored, because of its ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
Biden had been working on the bill for six years when it stalled in the House, and he repeatedly blamed the NRA during that period for holding it up.
“I have underestimated every year the power of the NRA. I must acknowledge that,” Biden told NPR in 1994. “For six years, the NRA, in conjunction with our Republican colleagues and a few of our Democratic friends, have blocked the passage of tough crime legislation.”
Four years earlier, in the early stages of the same debate, the NRA accused Biden of trying pass an “underhanded gun ban.”
“Sen. Biden is camouflaging (Michael) Dukakis’ gun ban ideas under the rhetoric of President (George H.W.) Bush’s popular crime-fighting ideas, so he can push through a federal gun ban before you and I can stop him,” an NRA letter said, according to the Portland Oregonian.
The NRA also ran ads at the time featuring NRA activist and actor Charlton Heston saying the crime bill, which aimed to put 100,000 more police officers on the streets, would cost $70,000 per officer and thus fall short of the 100,000 goal.