Op-Ed: Biden Shows Gun Control Isn't About Guns – It's About Control
The White House fact sheet announcing the Biden administration’s anti-gun agenda reveals that the man currently occupying the White House not only has zero respect for the Second Amendment but also has contempt for the very nature of our nation’s form of government.
Indeed, the administration’s recently announced agenda demonstrates disrespect for the Constitution’s separation of powers, designed to be a structural protection against tyranny. Let’s start with the basics. The executive branch does not issue laws — only Congress may craft legislation.
The Constitution requires that laws must be passed by both chambers of Congress — known as the “Bicameral Clause” of the Constitution. And such bills become law only if signed by the president, or after his veto is overridden — the “Presentment Clause” of the Constitution. See Article I, Section 7, cl. 2-3. Without complying with these requirements, no new law — and certainly no new crime — can be enacted.
To be sure, the president’s recent gun control announcement began by calling on Congress to pass a series of anti-gun laws — each of which would be unconstitutional but would at least follow the constitutional procedures laid out above.
However, President Biden then reverted to the familiar language of tyrants: “[T]his Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps. … Today, the Administration is announcing … six initial actions.”
Those steps include imposing entirely new restrictions — not authorized by any current law — on popular pistol braces, homemade firearms pejoratively termed “ghost guns,” and advocating for the adoption of a federal “red flag” law.
This president has demonstrated hostility to guns for more than a decade. In 2013, as vice president, he claimed he had advised his wife and other women, “if you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun … and fire two blasts outside the house.”
Then, while campaigning for president in 2020, candidate Biden hurled a string of profanity at a factory worker who accused him of wanting to take away gun owners’ firearms (which his administration now proposes to do). And, of course, there’s the president’s son Hunter Biden, who (perhaps unlawfully) purchased a firearm shortly after being documented as a user of illegal drugs.
Thus, the anti-gun agenda announced by President Biden is merely his latest firearms-related faux pas. Like his prior history, it shows that he knows nothing about guns, which makes him the most dangerous type of tyrant — an ignorant one. (That is not to say that Biden is not an inspiring man — he inspired Darren Criss to write a great Second Amendment parody — “Buy a Shotgun.”)
Certainly, President Biden is not the first president to overestimate his own authority. Remember when President Trump directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ban bump stocks? Bump stocks assist a user in firing a semi-automatic firearm at a faster pace through a technique called “bump firing,” but they are not fully automatic weapons, nor do bump stocks convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic weapons.
Clearly, the National Firearms Act banning fully automatic weapons did not authorize President Trump to order ATF to ban bump stocks, so that merely possessing one could make a gun owner into a felon. And the day the ATF position was announced, Gun Owners of America sued ATF. Although it took years in court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit just agreed with our position and declared that bump stocks are not machine guns.
President Biden’s proposal to call a pistol with a pistol brace a short-barreled rifle is similar. A pistol with a stabilizing brace is not a short-barreled rifle because it is not “designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder.” Rather, its purpose is to be fired with one hand.
There is simply no authority for ATF or the Biden administration to “reinterpret” or “redefine” the statutory language in a way to include pistols with stabilizing braces.
Likewise, homemade firearms called “ghost guns” by the left are as old as the republic itself, and the president and his ATF goons certainly cannot prohibit a person from making his own gun.
Anticipating the day that the ATF implements final rules to illegally regulate pistol braces or homemade firearms, GOA is already planning on filing suit, as we did when Trump’s ATF banned bump stocks.
In addition to encouraging each state to pass a “red flag” law, President Biden also demanded that Congress pass “an appropriate national ‘red flag’ law.” He didn’t explain that proposal, but it sounds like it would permit federal judges to take away gun owners’ rights based on a perceived notion that they may be “dangerous.”
Of course, there is no authority for such a law in the U.S. Constitution, which grants limited powers to Congress, and which certainly does not permit federal meddling into what are quintessentially state matters.
As far back as 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, unlike the states, the federal government has no general police power. And in United States v. Morrison (2000), the court explained, “[W]e can think of no better example of the police power, which the Founders denied the National Government and reposed in the States, than the suppression of violent crime and vindication of its victims.”
Of course, what was announced this week is just for starters. As Biden’s fact sheet states, the steps announced on Thursday are just his “six initial actions to address the gun violence public health epidemic.” Gun owners know that this president’s agenda is bigger and broader than these six steps.
They know that his agenda really is to disarm Americans so the tyrants temporarily occupying positions of governmental power cannot be resisted by the people.
It does not help that President Biden labels his actions as being related to a “health crisis” — what he calls “the gun violence public health epidemic.” Gun control has nothing to do with public health. Rather, as GOA has said for years, “Gun control is not about guns; it’s about control.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.