June 03, 2022
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday night, President Joe Biden focused entirely on gun control proposals while ignoring any real solutions that might help stop violent criminals with no respect for life from committing mass murder in schools and other gun-free zones.
Interestingly, Biden started out on a good note, stating that lawful gun owners should be seen as examples and nobody wants to take anybody’s guns away from them.
“For so many of you at home, I want to be very clear. This is not about taking away anyone’s guns,” Biden said. “It’s not about vilifying gun owners. In fact, we believe we should be treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave.
“I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners. At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute.”
The president then quickly turned to outlining a number of gun control measures—nearly all of which he’s pushed in the past—that would only affect those law-abiding gun owners he had just pretended to appreciate, not the violent criminals he should be targeting. Among those was a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.”
“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” the president said. “And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21.”
[Editor’s Note: please see "If Newly Proposed Gun-Control Policies Were Law in 1945" regarding the unconstitutional proposals to raise the age of firearms purchases from 18 to 21.]
As most gun owners are aware, what Biden calls “assault weapons” are actually semi-automatic rifles that fire one shot with each pull of the trigger, just like any other semi-auto firearm. And the president’s “high-capacity magazines” are actually just normal capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and come standard not only with AR-15-style rifles but also hundreds of models of semi-auto pistols commonly used for self-defense.
As he has done repeatedly, Biden then touted the earlier federal ban on so-called “assault weapons” that was in effect for 10 years back in the 1990s. And again, he lied about the effects of the ban.
“Nine categories of semiautomatic weapons were included in that ban, like AK-47s and AR-15s,” he said. “And in the 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down. But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004, and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled. Those are the facts.”
In truth, even research by the federal government showed that the ban was a dismal failure. A congressionally mandated study of the federal ban, which ran from 1994 until 2004 before Congress allowed it to sunset, found that the ban had no impact on crime. It concluded, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best.”
If he can’t get enough support in Congress to pass a ban, Biden wants to see legislation passed that would raise the age to purchase such semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. Of course, that’s very problematic when you consider the question of when an American can start enjoying his or her constitutionally protected rights.
Judge Kenneth Lee of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a concurrent opinion in the court case Jones v. Bonta where the court found a ban on ownership of semi-auto rifles for 18- to 20-year-olds to be unconstitutional, answered that question.
“We … do not typically limit constitutional rights based on the age of adults,” Judge Lee wrote. “Young adults have the same constitutional rights as the middle-aged or the elderly—even if some of them may not necessarily have the wisdom or judgment that age and experience can bring—for the same reason that we do not limit fundamental rights based on supposed intelligence, maturity or other characteristics. We thus allow 18-year-olds to join the military and lay down their lives in defense of our freedoms.”
Biden also expressed his support for federal “red-flag” law legislation, calling such a law “common sense.” Of course, a fair law that would make it possible to identify dangerous people before they commit crimes and work through the legal system, respecting the tenet of due process, would be a great thing.
Unfortunately, nearly everywhere such laws have been passed they are problematic, to say the least. In truth, red-flag laws turn the concept of innocent until proven guilty upside down. While they vary somewhat by state, most such laws allow family members or other acquaintances (vindictive ex-spouses, for example) to ask a state court judge to confiscate firearms from someone they say poses a threat to their safety. In most cases, a hearing is held where the petitioner can present “evidence” that the person in question should have his guns taken.
The person under consideration for having his guns confiscated, however, might not even be aware that such proceedings are taking place. In fact, such an Extreme Risk Protective Order can be approved against these citizens without their having a single opportunity to present evidence of why they should not be suddenly deprived of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Then, they’re left with the legal bills while trying to have their personal property returned, often unsuccessfully. With anti-gun Democrats in charge of both houses of Congress, there’s no reason a federal bill would be any less problematic.
Biden also focused a portion of his speech on what he calls “gun manufacturer immunity,” a topic that he has been lying about for many years.
“We should repeal the liability shield that often protects gun manufacturers from being sued for the death and destruction caused by their weapons,” Biden said. “They’re the only industry in this country that has that kind of immunity.
“Imagine. Imagine if the tobacco industry had been immune from being sued, where we’d be today. The gun industry’s special protections are outrageous. It must end.”
Here, the president is referring to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Signed by President George W. Bush in 2005, after anti-gun groups filed several frivolous lawsuits against American firearms manufacturers in an attempt to institute gun control by bankrupting the industry, the PLCAA was designed to shield manufacturers from liability for acts committed by those who used their products illegally.
As most thinking Americans realize, gun companies shouldn’t be able to be sued for criminal misuse of their legal, safe products. It would be akin to a madman driving a car into a crowd at a parade and the victims suing Chevrolet or Ford.
After his long list of gun control demands, Biden made what likely was his biggest error in Thursday evening’s speech. Instead of trying to rally Congress to pass the laws he is seeking, he chose to badger Republican lawmakers who are concerned about protecting the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, threatening the with losing their re-election if they don’t jump on board.
“I’ve been in this fight for a long time,” he said. “I know how hard it is, but I’ll never give up. And if Congress fails, I believe this time, a majority of the American people won’t give up, either. I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote. Enough, enough, enough.”
In truth, it’s more likely that every time Biden and other anti-gun politicians take to their bully pulpits to call for more gun control laws they are inadvertently pushing more and more freedom-loving Americans to the polls this fall to try to protect their Second Amendment rights.
Not surprisingly, Biden never once mentioned the possibility that making schools and other soft targets more secure could be at least part of the answer to stopping mass murders, most of which take place in so-called “gun-free zones.” Strategies like reinforcing doors and keeping them locked, adding more trained security personnel, allowing only one entrance and even allowing some teachers to carry guns if they choose would do far more to protect schoolchildren than restricting gun ownership for the millions of people who will never, ever commit a crime.
Biden’s ignoring the obvious isn’t surprising, given the fact that he seemingly would rather focus on banning guns than actually protecting kids. When asked about “hardening” schools last week, White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre replied, “I know there’s been conversation about hardening schools, that is not something he [Biden] believes in.”
In the end, the National Rifle Association put it best in that organization’s response to Biden’s address.
“The National Rifle Association of America supports substantive policies and real solutions that will make a difference,” NRA said. “Policies that will not only address these tragic and evil acts that dominate the headlines, but also the catastrophic loss of life that happens too often as a direct consequence of the current crime epidemic that plagues our nation.
“But, instead of acting on functional measures and real solutions that when implemented will reduce crime and will help those with dangerous behavioral health issues, all that the president repeatedly proposes will only infringe on the rights of those law-abiding who have never, and will never, commit a crime. This isn’t a real solution, it isn’t true leadership and it isn’t what America needs.”
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.