I’m going to be perfectly blunt: The next two years are going to be rough for those of us who cherish our right to keep and bear arms. The Senate is split at 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris poised to break any ties in favor of her boss, Joe Biden.
So, the most anti-gun administration ever will be ensconced in the White House, supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), two lawmakers who each have spent decades promoting legislation designed to eviscerate the Second Amendment.
That support will be critical to Biden, who has spent the months since the November 2020 election working to fill his administration with, you guessed it, some of the most radical anti-gun nominees I have ever seen proposed.
One of the more egregious picks when it comes to our gun rights is Biden’s choice to be attorney general, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Merrick Garland.
Garland gained national attention when he was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2016 to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia after he passed away in February of that year.
NRA objected to Garland’s nomination then, pointing out his anti-Second Amendment record during his tenure on the Court of Appeals.
In 2000, Garland joined a colleague on a three-judge panel to uphold a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) practice of retaining transaction records from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), in spite of federal law requiring the records be destroyed. Garland’s ruling in the case, NRA v. Reno, put gun owners’ privacy at risk.
Garland solidified his anti-Second Amendment credentials when he worked, unsuccessfully, to undo a ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia—the precursor to Heller v. District of Columbia—that struck down the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the civilian ownership of handguns and recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.
The Senate wisely chose to not take up Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, and a man with such clearly anti-gun views would be a disaster for law-abiding gun owners as the head of the Department of Justice.
In addition to Garland, Biden has put forth California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, as his nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Becerra has aggressively defended California’s onerous gun-control laws in court, including arbitrary bans on standard-capacity magazines and one of the country’s worst “Red Flag” gun-confiscation laws. Attorney General Becerra has even used his position to attack law-abiding members of the firearm industry.
Dr. Vivek Murthy is Biden’s choice for surgeon general, a familiar name, as he served as Barack Obama’s surgeon general. Under Obama, Murthy promoted treating gun ownership as a public-health issue because treating our fundamental rights the same as a virus that needs to be eradicated allows gun controllers to work toward the complete elimination of gun ownership in the United States. Serving under Biden, the message will likely be the same.
Then, there’s Kristen Clarke, whom Biden would like as his head of the DOJ Civil Rights Division. While many may not be familiar with her, let me just say that choosing someone to defend civil rights who doesn’t believe in one of the most fundamental civil rights is an odd choice, to put it mildly.
Clarke has a well-documented history of animus towards the Second Amendment. Her Twitter timeline is full of evidence of this.
In a tweet on the passing of Justice John Paul Stevens, Clarke favorably recalled Stevens’ claim of the need to repeal the Second Amendment. Calling for the end of our fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms should be disqualifying for any pick to lead the Civil Rights Division.
With an administration that may be full of anti-gun extremists, the coming years will present considerable challenges to those who cherish the Second Amendment. We’ve seen similar situations in the past, and NRA and the pro-gun community responded to protect our right to keep and bear arms.
NRA will rise to meet this new challenge and prepare for the coming attacks on our rights. I look forward to working with all of our members and like-minded gun owners to defeat any attempt to restrict our Second Amendment rights. Whether those restrictions come in the form of legislation, regulations, or other executive actions, together, we can, and must, stop them.