The polls are really tightening between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren at this point. (Combined age, 146 for those keeping score.) At this point, it’s looking like Uncle Joe can’t afford to hang back out of sight and count on just gliding to the finish line anymore. With that in mind, he’s going to have to get out in front of some of the big issues on the Democratic primary agenda, including gun control.

At the big gun control candidates’ forum in Vegas yesterday, Biden was put to the test on a favorite theme of liberals and gun rights opponents. Cory Booker already came out in favor of a federal gun registry for the entire nation, a position gun rights activists have always staunchly opposed. Then Joe was asked what he thought of the idea. Sadly, he said that he would go along with it… eventually. (Free Beacon)

Former vice president and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden (Del.) expressed support for a national gun registry or national gun licensing “down the line” during a Wednesday forum sponsored by gun control groups and NBC News.

Forum host Craig Melvin challenged Biden on his newly released proposal to encourage states to require that citizens obtain a license before they may own a firearm. Melvin told Biden that Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) had argued during his own forum appearance that only a national licensing system—which Booker has proposed—would be effective. In response, Biden argued that analogous driver’s licenses are issued by the states. However, he also said that he could support “federal registration” in the long run.

“The idea of getting to federal registration down the line?” Biden said. “Possible. But I don’t want to hold things up and get into false fights. In the meantime, let’s get serious things done quickly.”

Biden went on to say he now supports a voluntary “buy-back” of scary-looking rifles. Then he made the following claim: “What happens is, if we know you have one, the likelihood of that ever being used in the commission of a crime after a voluntary buyback is highly unlikely. Highly unlikely.”

That’s a bit of a crackpot statement if you stop to think about it. First of all, rifles are the least commonly used firearm in most common gun crimes. The FBI just reported that rifles of any type were used in only 2.8 percent of murders last year, dropping an additional 23.8 percent from the previous year.

The only cases where we still see them popping up (too often) are in mass shootings. But one of the things that most, though not all mass shootings having in common is a deranged person who goes into it with the expectation that they’re going to die, either by their own hand or through “suicide by cop.” Something tells me that a crazy person marching off with the expectation of not living out the day isn’t going to be terribly concerned about whether or not his gun is registered.

Biden has a bit of history on the gun rights question that might turn off liberals, but you have to go back pretty far in his record to find it. Back in 1986, Joe voted in favor of the Firearm Owners Protection Act. That measure allowed for the sale of firearms through the mail (and eventually the internet) and limited the ability of federal inspectors to oversee sales of firearms at gun shows. The NRA called it “the law that saved gun rights in America.”

But that was the Joe Biden of nearly 35 years ago. He later went on to support the Brady Bill, called for the banning of “assault weapons,” and embraced most of the language of other gun grabbers. So for the most part, he should be on safe ground with the more liberal elements of his base. But in some ways, a national gun registry is even more abhorrent than a ban on rifles. There may be increasing support for expanded background checks and a few other measures in the country right now, but people still cherish the Second Amendment in large numbers. This may be a bridge too far for many moderates.