As the mainstream media often avoids printing unedited quotes from President Joe Biden (D), let’s start this article on Biden’s spin with a recent quote: “The guns are—we should be—the idea of background checks are critical,” said President Biden after a terrorist had taken hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. “But you can’t stop something like this if someone is on the street buying something from somebody else on the street. Except that there’s too—there’s so many guns that have been sold of late; it’s just ridiculous.”
At least he got to the punchline. But if America’s new gun owners are so “ridiculous,” then there are a lot of ridiculous people all of a sudden.
In 2021, about 5.4 million people became first-time gun buyers, according to survey results released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Of these more than 5.4 million new gun owners, more than one third were women and nearly half signed up for training. (NRAInstructors.org has never been more important!) In 2020, over 8.4 million citizens bought their first guns, so about 13.8 million Americans bought their first gun in 2020 and 2021—a number far greater than the population of New York City, which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was 8.8 million in 2020. In fact, even if you added the populations of New York City and the city of Los Angeles (about 4 million) together, you’d still be a million people short of the number of new gun owners in America during just the last two years.
Most of these new gun owners say they are buying guns for self-defense; and, as anyone who reads the “Armed Citizen” column knows, this happens to be necessary quite a lot; for example, the 2021 National Firearms Survey, which was published by William English of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, determined that 31.1% of all gun owners have used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on more than one occasion. Indeed, this survey found that in “most defensive incidents (81.9%) no shot was fired,” which makes sense, as lawful gun owners tend to be very responsible people.
President Joe Biden says guns, not murderers, are causing rises in murder rates.
Biden, nevertheless, seems to think these people are ridiculous; in fact, in early February, Biden went to New York City and blamed “rogue gun dealers” and an “iron pipeline” for a homicide rate that went up during “defund-the-police” activism from the radical Left, prisoner releases in response to the COIVD-19 pandemic, bail reform, a lack of prosecutorial zeal for those who break gun laws and more.
Biden also said he wants to give the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) more funding to go after gun dealers that break the law. But are gun dealers really central to the problem? As of 2020, there were 52,795 federally licensed (Type 1) firearms dealers in the U.S., according to the ATF. Investigating these federally licensed firearm dealers is part of the ATF’s job. In 2020, the ATF initiated compliance inspections (these often target specific dealers after ATF gun traces lead agents to certain stores) in 5,827 of the 52,795 licensed gun dealers. Of these targeted inspections, the ATF recommended that 96 dealers (1.6% of these targeted dealers and 0.18% of all gun dealers) have their licenses to sell guns revoked.
So, in 2020, the ATF recommended that less than two-tenths of one percent of gun dealers should lose their licenses for whatever reason—it should be noted that such recommendations often arise from merely careless or sloppy paperwork issues, rather than any malicious or suspected criminal behavior—and President Biden thinks gun dealers are central to a criminal problem?
Now, if the ATF has not been doing its job well enough, then ATF officials should be brought before congressional committees to explain why. The ATF, after all, is responsible for tracing guns taken from criminals. If a confiscated gun—or several—were recently bought from a gun dealer, then ATF should investigate (and it does). If laws are found to have been broken, prosecutors should also do their jobs. Everyone already agrees on this, yet President Biden still calls legal gun sales “ridiculous” and continues to pretend that “rogue gun dealers” are behind rising murder rates.
Unfortunately, New York City’s new mayor seems to agree with Biden. Not long after being sworn into office, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who served as an officer in the New York City Police Department, retiring as a captain, said, “We don’t make guns here. How are we removing thousands of guns off the street, and they still find their way into New York City? In the hands of people who are killers, constantly carbon highways of death, destroying our communities. We need Washington to join us and act now to stop the flow of guns in New York City and cities like New York.”
Both President Biden and Mayor Adams are trying to spin the issue by focusing on guns, not criminals or the policies that have clearly made it easier for criminals to harm others. This might seem like a safe political dodge of accountability to them, but, again, blaming guns and law-abiding gun owners won’t solve the criminal problem.
Even the basic math of the situation shows this. America’s 100-million-plus lawfully armed citizens own over 400 million guns. In 2021, Americans bought almost 20 million guns from dealers. And these millions of firearms don’t have expiration dates. They are steel, polymer and wood. With a little care and gun oil, they last for generations. Ammunition also lasts. It is stable and generally safe to store for decades. Acting as if the peoples’ guns are the problem might be politically convenient for Biden, but pointing to law-abiding people who want to protect themselves and saying they are the reason for a rising murder rate is what’s ridiculous.
Still, Biden said, “There’s no amendment that’s absolute. When the [Second Amendment] was passed, it didn’t say anybody can own a gun—any kind of gun—and any kind of weapon.” Biden also said, “You couldn’t buy a cannon when this, ah, Amendment was passed, so nobody’s [unintelligible] should be able to buy certain assault weapons. …”
Actually, ordinary citizens could buy cannons in the late 18th century; in fact, many Americans own cannons today. As we previously reported, a 1789 ad by the Military Laboratory in Philadelphia, for example, even advertised cannons for sale. And, today, as in any other period of American history, citizens can and do own modern firearms, such as semi-automatic rifles. These firearms, as FBI statistics show, are rarely used in crimes.
Clearly, Biden, Adams, local prosecutors and more should be targeting criminals, not law-abiding gun owners, to solve a criminal problem.
To be fair, Biden did also say we must “get repeat gun violence offenders off the streets and behind bars.” But why just “repeat” offenders? If someone commits a crime with a gun—including Hunter Biden—prosecute them.