With the Biden Administration and an anti-gun Congress wielding power in Washington, D.C., our Second Amendment rights have been under unprecedented assault. Hostile legislation is moving on Capitol Hill. Anti-gun activists are being nominated and appointed to key government posts. The Biden White House is taking whatever unilateral actions against the gun industry and individual gun owners it can. And the leading funders of anti-gun activism and the AstroTurf organizations that do their bidding are openly collaborating with the government on anti-gun initiatives.
The battles have never been tougher, and the stakes have never been higher. Firearm prohibitionists don’t just want to enact “commonsense gun safety legislation” (their euphemism for confiscatory bans), they want to silence the opposition. They want to cripple the industries that serve individual gun owners. They want to portray firearm ownership as a public-health crisis that demands a system-wide response to “cure.” They want to import international gun- control norms—including those of authoritarian dictatorships—to the United States. And, ultimately, they want to overturn the fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms and make possessing a firearm, for any reason, a criminal offense that will land you in prison.
Reclaiming our rights and beating back this tide will not be easy. But failure is not an option. The first step in this campaign must be retaking the U.S. House of Representatives in next year’s crucial midterm elections.
While the House of Representatives is commonly referred to as the “lower” chamber of Congress, I prefer the nickname the "Peoples’ House." It has 435 voting members (versus 100 in the U.S. Senate), that are apportioned in districts within the U.S. states according to their populations, as established by the census. Members face election every two years (versus ever six years for senators).
Because they often represent districts that are not entire states, House members are generally more responsive to variations in political sentiment within a given state. This is especially relevant to firearm policy, as even the most anti-gun states typically have districts where the local population is strongly pro-gun. This applies, for example, to California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. So even if their national party leadership is strongly anti-gun (as is the case now for Democrats with Biden, Schumer and Pelosi in control), some House members will still defer to their districts on the issue. And if they don’t, that leaves their seat vulnerable to be flipped in the next election if local gun owners are sufficiently mobilized and motivated.
The House is also where all-important government-spending bills originate, meaning it can curb the aspirations of federal agencies that would overstep their bounds.
House seats are typically more volatile than Senate seats. They therefore offer a particularly effective course correction for an administration, like Biden’s, without a significant popular mandate and which is continually overreaching on controversial policies.
And nowhere has Biden been more overreaching or controversial than on gun control.
Joe Biden openly supports many of the most radical and far-reaching gun-control proposals being pushed by the civilian-disarmament lobby. These include banning America’s most popular rifle, the AR-15, as well as the sorts of magazines factory-equipped with on the nation’s most-popular self- and home-defense firearms.
Not only would Biden ban the manufacture, importation, or possession of these constitutionally-protected arms, he would force current owners to register them with the government and to obtain $200 tax stamps for each item under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Failure to comply with these requirements could lead to the forcible seizure of the arms and land their formerly law-abiding owners in federal prison.
It’s no coincidence the man Biden picked to lead the federal agency primarily responsible for enforcing the NFA and other federal gun-control statutes not only supports these ideas but has promoted them through his paid work as an “advisor” for America’s wealthiest gun-prohibition lobbies. These include the Giffords organization and Michael Bloomberg’s own pet gun-control project, Everytown for Gun Safety. Thankfully, the nomination of radical gun-control activist David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) has failed due to your hard work and support, but there’s still more to do.
Biden’s administration is working on two sweeping rulemakings to completely re-define what counts as a regulated “firearm” under federal law and to ban pistols equipped with stabilizing braces. The former rule would make ATF, not Congress, the de facto authority on the scope and sweep of the federal Gun Control Act. And the latter would retroactively ban untold numbers of firearms that law-abiding Americans had obtained legally and in good faith to use for lawful purposes.
But the White House isn’t just counting on ATF to do its anti-gun bidding.
It instead seeks to use a “whole-of-government” approach that involves such disparate entities as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department and even the Department of Defense, to name just a few. These efforts seek to leverage the expertise and credibility of diverse government officials to create an orthodoxy that firearm ownership is unreasonably dangerous and to import a globalist perspective on firearm regulation at odds with our Constitution into America’s domestic policy.
In all these schemes, Joe Biden has ready allies in the current House of Representatives. Indeed, the House has shown an eagerness to carry water for Biden’s gun-control ambitions, both through the introduction of anti-gun legislation and by holding so-called “hearings” that were really just opportunities to publicly pontificate against guns, the firearm industry and gun-owning Americans.
The House has already passed sweeping gun-control legislation this session of Congress, with bills that would presumptively ban the private transfer of firearms and remove an automatic safety valve in federal law that prevents the FBI from blocking gun sales without evidence of a buyer’s legal ineligibility. Taken together, these bills transform the right to obtain firearms into a privilege administered at the say-so of the government. They also set the stage for a universal registry of gun owners and the transformation of the current “shall-issue” paradigm for retail firearm sales to eligible buyers into a “may-issue” system where the FBI can block sales on a case-by-case basis as they see fit.
To date, neither bill has been given a vote in the Senate, but anti-gun leadership there have made clear they are merely waiting for the right moment to ram through the legislation when public emotions are running high.
Bills have also been introduced this session in the House on a dizzying array of other gun-control proposals. These include sweeping firearm and magazine bans, gun-owner licensing, comprehensive firearm registration, government oversight of firearm storage in private homes, mandatory insurance requirements for gun ownership and allowing the gun industry to be sued for third-party crimes.
The point is to make gun ownership too expensive, too complicated, too fraught with legal risks, too socially unacceptable and too subject to intrusive government regulation to be feasible or even desirable for the average American.
Meanwhile, even as Joe Biden targets the guns of law-abiding U.S. citizens, his handling of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan left not just thousands and thousands of American rifles and pistols but tanks, planes, helicopters, machine guns and night vision equipment at the disposal of the Taliban. And this at the same time that Biden is publicly supporting criminal penalties for supposedly “irresponsible” gun owners and firearm dealers in America. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
But the good news is that Biden’s extremism and incompetence makes the anti-gun members of his party in the House that much more vulnerable to losing their seats in next year’s midterms. As summer turned to fall, media outlets across the ideological spectrum were reporting on Biden’s plunging approval numbers. A September poll conducted by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist showed Biden’s approval rating as president at just 43%.
CNN then sounded the alarm, noting in an article that “[t]he single biggest indicator of how the 2022 midterm elections will go for the two parties is how the public thinks about President Joe Biden.” The piece went on to quote a pollster for Gallup, who stated: “In Gallup’s polling history, presidents with job approval ratings below 50% have seen their party lose 37 House seats, on average, in midterm elections.”
While much can obviously change over the course of a year, Biden’s performance to date gives those who want to restrict our freedom little cause for optimism.
But it does give freedom-loving Americans a great opportunity in 2022 to reverse course and to return the Peoples' House to those who respect the peoples’ Second Amendment liberties.