Editor’s Note: The following observation regarding a potential Biden administration and its attitudes towards gun rights and gun owners was written by the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Larry Keane.
Former Vice President Joe Biden declared election victory, even as President Donald Trump continues to challenge results in several states. Runoffs are slated for both U.S. Senate seats from Georgia, which could decide the balance of power in Washington, D.C. and whether agendas get an unquestioned green light or hit roadblocks.
The Biden camp is already forming the presidential transition team and increased gun control is on the table. While everyone is trying to read the political tea leaves to predict what will happen, the firearm industry is taking a pragmatic approach.
When it comes to gun control, take Biden at his word.
He’s given plenty of public comment to know exactly what he wants to do if he’s unchecked. It’s nothing short of ending Second Amendment rights and reducing them to a nanny-state privilege that’s closely monitored and meted out piecemeal to a select few. It also means the firearm industry would be decimated through harassing litigation, overburdening regulation and a bevy of laws that won’t improve public safety but would render law-abiding Americans vulnerable to criminals.
Biden made it crystal clear his thoughts on firearm manufacturers at the onset of the Democratic presidential primary race in July 2019.
“Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA, the gun manufacturers,” Biden said.
Biden’s gun control plan would criminalize private firearm sales, requiring every firearm transfer to be conducted through licensed firearm retailers. He’d also crack down on those retailers, using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as an anvil by which to crush businesses for even minor clerical errors in inspections. He argued for the same failed so-called mandatory “smart gun” technology for which he led a task force in the Obama administration. It wasn’t ready for testing then and it’s still not ready today.
That was the beginning of the Biden gun control agenda. That’s now burgeoned to include every radical gun control wish list item. It starts at a national state-by-state licensing scheme and rationing gun rights to just one sale per month for every law-abiding American.
That’s not all. He’d destroy the firearm industry by pushing to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, exposing manufacturers to harassing lawsuits by activist lawyers that long to bankrupt manufacturers for political means and use the courts to advance an agenda that doesn’t survive legislative scrutiny.
Biden unequivocally admitted to CNN’s Anderson Cooper in a 2019 interview that he would pursue an unconstitutional firearm confiscation agenda.
“To gun owners out there who say a Biden administration means they’re going to come for my guns…” Cooper said.
“Bingo,” Biden interrupted. “You’re right, if you have an assault weapon,” which the former vice president deridingly refers to when he speaks of MSRs. “The fact of the matter is they should be illegal. Period.”
That goes much further than reenacting the failed 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, to which in the same interview, Biden agreed it didn’t reduce crime. That means he’d go after the more nearly 20 million MSRs in circulation today.
“What I would do is institute a national buyback program,” Biden explained. He admitted then that outright confiscation of MSRs for lawful ownership was a Constitutional hurdle.
“Right now, there’s no legal way that I’m aware of where you could deny the right if they had legally purchased them,” Biden told CNN of his confiscation plans. “But we can, in fact, make a major effort to get them off the street and out of the possession of people.”
That was 2019. Today, he’s looking for the loopholes. One way Biden’s trying to achieve his agenda is by reclassifying the MSR to fall under the 1934 National Firearms Act so the more than century-old technology would be treated in the same fashion as short-barrel rifles and machine guns. That would require owners to be put on federal lists, submit fingerprints, photos, inform chief law enforcement officers, endure duplicitous background checks, wait more than nine months for approval and pay a $200 tax for the privilege to continue to own what they already legally purchased.
Those who don’t would see their firearms confiscated by a Biden administration.
‘I Don’t Work for You’
A Biden administration would be quickly hounded by gun control cronies like billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. They’ll be joined by others including Brady and Giffords. Both groups issued press releases on their laundry list of action items to limit and deny Second Amendment rights.
That’s who a Biden administration would work for and not every day, law-abiding Americans who want to exercise their rights. Biden made that clear when he told Detroit union worker Jerry Wayne, “You’re full of sh*t.” Biden later added, “I’m not working for you. Don’t be such a horse’s ass.”
Biden, who claims blue-collar roots, doesn’t think much of the “everyday” individual carrying a lunch pail to the factory floor and wants to exercise Second Amendment rights during free time. He’s much more attuned to the far-left radical agenda his running mate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) brought to the ticket, wanting to bring California-style gun control to the rest of the country.
The firearm industry believes him. There’s no reason to doubt or to equivocate with calls to unite. Taking Biden at anything less than his word is malfeasance.
— Larry Keane
Keane is Senior VP and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation