Biden Makes His Last Appeal to Gun-Grabbers


Salesman Ryan Martinez holds a handgun at the Ready Gunner gun store In Provo, Utah, June 21, 2016. (George Frey/Reuters)

Joe “shoot ‘em in the leg” Biden promises to take action “to end the scourge of gun violence in America:”

As president, I’ll ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, implement universal background checks, and enact other common-sense reforms to end our gun violence epidemic.

Does Biden mean a ban on semi-automatics moving forward, or retroactively as well? I suspect that his message, as is the case with so many issues during the 2020 campaign, is intentionally left opaque to appeal to gun-grabbers yet also allow his fact-checking bodymen to offer him cover with moderates.

Yet, if we adopt the fact-checking standards that have been applied to Donald Trump over the past four years, we must assume Biden is calling for criminalizing the possession of one of the most commonly owned firearms in the United States. He did, after all, promise to appoint Beto O’Rourke, who said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s,” as his Gun Czar. Kamala Harris, his veep pick, was quite clear in supporting a “mandatory buyback” program — one she promised to implement the confiscation by executive fiat if needed. We must take these people seriously and literally.

It should be noted that despite gun violence slightly ticking up in past couple of years, it’s still at historic lows. And it’s also worth repeating that banning a style of semi-automatic rifle would do nothing to stop the “scourge of gun violence in America,” since the AR-15 is seldom used in any crimes. There are far more knife homicides and more people killed by fists and kicking every year. The ban is aimed at law-abiding Americans.

We should also mention that there is already a federal “universal” background check. An exception exists for a small fraction of legal weapon sales that exist between two private non-FFL residents of the same state — a friend, a family member, etc. States can regulate those transactions, but it has nothing to do with the federal government. Not to mention, almost all of the guns sold in those private in-state transactions (other than ones bought before 1998) have gone through a background check. In truth, I can’t recall the last mass shooting that didn’t entail the murderer breaking existing laws — there are tens of thousands of them — or the FBI failing to do its job. The call for “universal background checks” is just a way to reinforce the myth among ignorant voters that meth-addicted slack-jawed yokels can stroll into a Walmart and buy a machine gun.

Biden, of course, can’t ban anything by himself. Even if Democrats win the Senate, I’m skeptical that senators in North Carolina, Arizona, Iowa, and West Virginia are going sign up for a national prohibition of one of the most popular guns in the country. First, they’d have to do away with the legislative filibuster. Now, perhaps it’s plausible, that there might be such a window after a mass shooting, in the midst usual scaremongering. If that happens, I hope SCOTUS ends up with an “assault weapon” ban case, because the “you don’t really need an AR-15” argument doesn’t stand up to legal scrutiny. District of Columbia v. Heller states that the Second Amendment protects weapons “in common use by law-abiding citizens.” The AR-15 easily meets that criteria, as there are around 15 to 20 million in America, depending on what arbitrary aesthetic designations Democrats have concocted today to define a “assault weapon.”

And the idea that the AR-15s is a “weapon of war,” or that it is especially dangerous to society, doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. An AR-15 ban is merely part of the incremental effort to abolish private firearm ownership. Yes, it’s all Democrats support now. But that’s only because it’s all it’s what they can currently get away with. They know that once you can prohibit an AR-15, a rifle with a semi-automatic mechanism, you can ban any gun with a semi-automatic mechanism, which is to say the majority of firearms in the United States.

Democrats have already transformed the constitutional right to bear arms into a government-bequeathed privilege in their states. That is the case in Maryland, New York and many other states, where getting a handgun is already an arduous — and unconstitutional — undertaking. Now they want to confiscate your semi-automatic rifles as well. That’s the goal. It’s just a question of time and logistics.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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