To borrow language from the Biden campaign, the notion that Barack Obama’s former vice president is a reasonable moderate is malarkey.
Gun rights supporters know that as a lawmaker Biden voted in favor of radical gun controls that trampled upon the rights of law-abiding Americans and against legislation to protect those rights. As vice president, Biden lead the Obama administration’s assault on the Second Amendment.
Since joining the 2020 Democratic presidential field, Biden’s positions have gotten more extreme. Candidate Biden has endorsed everything from gun-owner licensing to confiscation of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and handgun bans.
During his 36-year career in the U.S. Senate, Biden supported all manner of gun control. In 1993 Biden voted for the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on handgun sales. Later discussing Biden’s role with the legislation, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence noted that Biden had “worked hard for passage of the Brady Law.”
In both 2004 and 2005, Biden voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The successful legislation halted anti-gun efforts to bankrupt the firearms industry. Prior to the PLCAA, gun control activists, big-city mayors, and high-powered attorneys had teamed up in a campaign to turn tort law on its head so that firearms manufacturers and dealers would be held liable for the third-party criminal misuse of their products. Biden was so opposed to the PLCAA’s codification of traditional principles of culpability, that in 2004 he gave a floor speech urging his colleagues to oppose the measure.
On his campaign website, Biden claims that he “will prioritize repealing” the PLCAA. This would mean the end of the American firearms industry, and with it the eventual end to the right to keep and bear arms.
The Senator from Delaware repeatedly voted for legislation to ban traditional gun shows. On multiple occasions Biden endorsed legislation to redefine “armor piercing ammunition” in a manner that would have banned common hunting, sporting, and self-defense ammunition.
However, there is one piece of gun control legislation for which Biden is the most proud. During the 2020 election cycle the declining politician has never failed to remind anyone within mumbling distance of his support for the 1994 ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and magazines. Biden’s campaign website boasts, “In 1994, Biden—along with Senator Dianne Feinstein—secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” Worse, in August 2019 Biden penned an opinion piece for the New York Times where he not only credited himself with the ban, but claimed that the ban worked.
In truth, a pair of Department of Justice-funded studies of the ban, conducted in 1997 and 2004, found longtime senator’s signature gun control measure ineffective. The 1997 study noted, “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.” The 2004 study determined that “AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban,” and that “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” Faced with this evidence, Congress let Biden’s pride and joy expire.
Despite this decade-long failure, Biden has doubled-down on his original gun ban. Like Senator Feinstein, who once claimed that if she had the votes it would be “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in,” Biden not only wants to ban the future sale of commonly-owned firearms and their magazines, now he wants to confiscate these guns from law-abiding owners.
During an August 5, 2019 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Biden was questioned about his position on gun confiscation. Cooper asked the candidate “So, to gun owners out there who say well a Biden administration means they are going to come for my guns?” Biden responded, “Bingo! You’re right if you have an assault weapon.”
Since his candid exchange with Cooper, Biden has continued to present evidence that he is adamant about gun confiscation.
On the eve of Super Tuesday, Biden appeared at a Dallas campaign rally with failed Democratic senate and presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. At the rally, Biden announced, “I want to make something clear. I’m going to guarantee you this is not the last you’ll see of this guy.” The presidential hopeful added, “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on ya.”
Following the campaign event, Biden and Beto were seen together at Texas hamburger chain Whataburger. Video of the duo showed Biden saying, “This guy changed the face of what we’re dealing with regarding guns, assault weapons… and I just want to warn [Beto’s wife] that if I win I’m coming for him.”
Biden’s enthusiastic approval of the Beto gun control agenda was another endorsement of gun confiscation. Beto’s support for gun confiscation wasn’t merely his position on gun control, it became the tentpole of his abortive presidential campaign.
Asked during the September 12, 2019 Democratic debate about his position on confiscation, Beto famously responded in the affirmative, stating in part, “Hell, yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15.” Hours later, the O’Rourke campaign was selling t-shirts with the strident slogan. Given the chance to clarify his remarks in the days following the debate, the failed candidate remained steadfast in his support for confiscation.
Candidate Biden has endorsed everything from gun-owner licensing to confiscation of commonly owned
semi-automatic firearms and handgun bans.
In November 2019, the “working-class” pol attended a posh private fundraiser in the Seattle area where the topic of gun control came up. According to the Seattle Times, Biden told attendees, “Why should we allow people to have military-style weapons including pistols with 9 mm bullets and can hold 10 or more rounds?”
Pistols are the most popular category of firearms in America and 9 mm is the most popular caliber of pistol. Industry figures show that Americans own tens of millions of 9 mm pistols. Americans own 9 mm pistols for the same reason they are the choice of countless federal state and local law enforcement agencies—they are a reliable and effective tool for self-defense.
Compounding the fanaticism of Biden’s position is that his proposed handgun ban is in direct conflict with established U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court struck down the federal enclave’s handgun ban. In doing so, the Court made clear that the Second Amendment protects the right to posses firearms “in common use” for “lawful purposes like self-defense.” Pistols chambered in 9 mm are not just a common firearm, they are arguably the most common. Further, given the popularity of the AR-15 platform, the Heller opinion should preclude Biden’s entire gun ban regime.
Biden’s support for gun confiscation and 30-year history of gun control advocacy should be enough to prompt any Second Amendment supporter to oppose him. However, this year gun owners don’t need to settle for voting against the anti-gun candidate. On November 3, gun owners have the opportunity to cast their ballot for a tried and true defender of Second Amendment rights in President Donald Trump.
As of early June, the Senate has confirmed 198 of President Trump’s judicial nominees. This includes U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom have expressed their fidelity to the U.S. Constitution and its Second Amendment since joining the Court.
At the outset of his presidency, President Trump signed legislation to repeal an Obama-era rule that would have made 75,000 law-abiding social security beneficiaries choose between their social security benefits and their fundamental right of self-defense.
While on stage at the 2019 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum President Trump defended the rights of American gun owners from foreign interference by withdrawing the U.S. from the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
And, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, President Trump worked to preserve Americans’ access to firearms and ammunition by designating “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” as critical infrastructure.
With most of the mainstream press willing to mislabel Biden as a political moderate, it is imperative that all those who support firearms freedom work to educate the public about his extreme anti-gun agenda. Through battle-tested grassroots communication efforts, NRA members and other gun rights supporters can finally expose Biden as a malarkey moderate.