Most American gun owners have been waiting and watching to see when the newly crowned Biden administration will launch its first frontal assault on the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms; after all, President Joe Biden (D) and his vice president, Kamala Harris, ran one of the most anti-gun presidential campaigns in U.S. history.
Only three weeks into his term, Biden used the horrific actions of a murderer who struck Parkland High School in Florida—an individual the authorities were warned about at every level of government, yet failed to stop—to promote gun control on the law-abiding.
“Today, I am calling on Congress to enact common sense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” Biden said in the released statement.
Though none of these ideas are based on “common sense,” let’s take a quick look at them.
The first, which is commonly called “universal background checks,” is just another way of saying “banning private gun sales.” While regularly touted by gun-ban proponents, there’s really no way to ensure such checks would be “universal” without creating a national gun registry to scrutinize to see if the law is being broken. Even then, it would only be used against people who followed the law.
Another problem is such checks would never be “universal” since—surprise—criminals are notorious for not obeying laws. Those who currently possess firearms could not even be compelled to register them, as such a scheme would be deemed an unconstitutional infringement against their right to not self-incriminate. The result is a drastic infringement on the rights of the law abiding, while criminals do what they do.
“Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” is another goal of the gun-ban crowd. FBI figures show that less than 3% of murders occur with a rifle of any kind, and AR-15-type rifles—the ones targeted by Biden—are just a small subset of those rifles. Besides, these rifles are common, popular, and semi-automatic designs have been sold to the American public since the nineteenth century.
Banning so-called “high-capacity” magazines—whatever they are—also makes no sense. A 2004 U.S. Department of Justice-funded study of the 1994 “assault weapons” ban, which also banned magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, determined: “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best.”
As for “eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” well, that’s just a nonsensical statement from the president; in fact, there is no such immunity.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law that the NRA lobbied for at a time when gun-ban advocates were trying to bankrupt the firearms industry with dozens of lawsuits at all levels, is a well-thought-out law. At the time, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who was then Bill Clinton’s secretary of housing and urban development, even warned gunmakers that if they didn’t comply with the new gun-control schemes the administration had proposed, they’d suffer “death by a thousand cuts.”
The PLCAA simply protects firearm makers and others in the industry from frivolous lawsuits for the criminal use of their safe, legally manufactured and sold products. Biden’s plan to toss out the PLCAA could run gunmakers out of business in record time.