There is a central hypocrisy at the heart of the gun-control effort. Gun-control-supporting politicians, the Hollywood elite and billionaire tycoons will advocate to disarm ordinary Americans, all the while enjoying the security that armed men with guns provide. Moreover, as a 2018 firearm incident involving President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, shows, this hypocrisy extends even to when politically connected individuals implicate themselves in potential violations of federal gun law. The message from these pampered elites could not be clearer: Gun laws are only for commoners.
On March 25, Politico published a report detailing the loss and recovery of a handgun owned by Hunter. According to the article, on Oct. 23, 2018, Hallie Biden, widow to Joe’s son, Beau, and then-companion to Hunter, searched Hunter’s truck, which was parked at her home in Wilmington, Del., and found a .38-cal. revolver. Seeking to dispose of the firearm, Hallie wrapped the revolver in a shopping bag and threw it into a trash receptacle outside a nearby grocery store.
When Hallie told Hunter what she had done, Hunter told her to go back to the market and recover the gun. However, by the time Hallie returned to the store, the firearm was gone. After Hallie alerted the market to what she had done, the store manager contacted law enforcement.
What ensued next was a situation that involved the Delaware State Police, the U.S. Secret Service (allegedly) and the FBI. In the end, the firearm was recovered by a man searching for recyclables and returned a few days later. Police did not charge Hunter or Hallie in connection with the incident.
Hunter purchased the handgun from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) on Oct. 12, 2018. As part of the transaction, Hunter completed the requisite ATF Form 4473.
Hunter has a lengthy and notorious history of illegal drug use. In 2014, the president’s son was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. In his recent memoir, Beautiful Things, Hunter chronicled his history of drug use, some of which took place around the time period he purchased and possessed the handgun.
Recalling a “five-month self-exile in Los Angeles” during the spring and summer of 2018, Hunter described himself as, “someone who’s up twenty-four hours a day, smoking every fifteen minutes, seven days a week.” Illustrating the extent to which he was addicted to a controlled substance, Hunter wrote, “If I rested too long between hits on a pipe, I’d be thrown into a panic” and “I was so lost in my addiction.”
Hunter called a period in the fall of 2018 “[m]y penultimate odyssey through full-blown addiction.” Later, Hunter described the years preceding a March 2019 trip to California as “nearly four years of active addiction.”
It is illegal under federal law for a person “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” to possess a firearm. Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
ATF Form 4473 requires a firearm purchaser to answer whether or not they are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” Lying on an ATF Form 4473 is two separate crimes, the more serious of which carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.
NRA does not assert that Hunter violated federal law or attest to the wisdom of the federal prohibited-persons categories. However, a less cynical person might have expected federal law enforcement to show a modicum of interest in this infamous and admitted drug addict’s acquisition and possession of a firearm.
Rather than investigate any potential wrongdoing by Hunter, according to Politico, the federal government may have attempted to cover up for the president’s son. Prior to the recovery of the firearm, a pair of Secret Service agents allegedly visited the FFL where Hunter purchased the firearm in an attempt to obtain the corresponding ATF Form 4473. The Politico item explained, “The gun store owner refused to supply the paperwork, suspecting that the Secret Service officers wanted to hide Hunter’s ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime.”
The Secret Service’s involvement in the case was corroborated by text messages Hunter sent that were obtained by the New York Post. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) have written a letter to the Secret Service requesting further details about the incident, and during the confirmation hearing for ATF Director nominee David Chipman, Sen. Grassley pressed Chipman regarding whether he would investigate and prosecute Hunter if confirmed. Chipman, of course, completely avoided answering the question.
As Joe Biden and his establishment allies push for new gun controls, ordinary law-abiding Americans should know that these hypocrites have no intention of parting with their own elaborate security measures or being otherwise burdened by the restrictions they concoct for the rest of us.