President Joe Biden’s dark “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” speech might go down as the moment he joined Hillary Clinton in categorizing those who didn’t agree with her far-left policies as “a basket of deplorables.” The president has been roundly criticized for many of the aspects of the speech and some political insiders are marking it as the moment he labeled nearly half of American voters as “enemies.”
Well…welcome to the club. President Biden started his list with us – the firearm industry. Standing on the Democratic primary debate stage in 2019, President Biden said, “Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA, the gun manufacturers.”
He’s now extended that to those who disagree with his own far-left radical agenda.
“They do not believe in the rule of law,” President Biden said. “They do not recognize the will of the people.” He labeled his detractors as “extreme,” “a clear and present danger” and “threat to democracy.”
That was the most demagogic, outrageous, and divisive speech I have ever seen from an American president. Joe Biden essentially declared all those who oppose him and his agenda enemies of the republic. Truly shameful. pic.twitter.com/ZcJX2BbZlt
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 2, 2022
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN’s New Day the president’s speech was, “… a divisive speech, and that’s not presidential,” adding, “In his speech, he said we should look at each other as Americans and not enemies, and yet he singled out a segment of Americans and said basically they’re our enemy.”
Labelled the ‘Enemy’
Here’s what to expect, now that tens of millions have been added to the president’s “enemies list.” Expect to be maligned. Expect to be scapegoated. Expect to be marginalized and villainized. This is because the president, and his close circle of advisors, don’t see opposing views as points upon which to debate or even politely disagree. They must be crushed.
The late Charles Krauthammer, a political columnist, noted this. He wrote in 2018, “Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”
Enemies – like evil – must be vanquished. The rhetoric gets increasingly heated. The political jabs become blame. It escalates to hyperbole and outright lies. This is the reality the firearm industry has faced under the Biden administration. A Constitutionally-protected industry has been slandered by a president even as he passes off accusations and lies that even a cursory examination shows are untrue.
That doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that once President Biden fixes an “enemy” label, that group is targeted for elimination. For the firearm industry, this has meant an onslaught of political attacks and defiance of the Constitution the president swore to protect and defend. The right to keep and bear arms, affirmed as an individual right by the U.S. Supreme Court, is relegated to a second-class right.
President Biden has maligned the firearm industry by blaming them for rising crime rates. His Congressional allies called firearm manufacturing CEOs to Capitol Hill to denigrate them for lawful business, ignoring the fact that Congress and the Biden administration refuses to lock up criminals and put an end to spiraling crime.
The Biden administration doesn’t place blame for horrendous murders by deranged and truly evil criminals that prey on innocent victims. They instead scapegoat the firearm industry, going as far as to back far-fetched radical notions that not just Second Amendment freedoms must be limited, but also First Amendment free speech. President Biden’s Congressional allies introduced H.R. 8570, the Firearms Marketing Act, that would trounce First Amendment commercial free speech and restrict truthful firearm advertising.
Ignoring Real Solutions
Those now on President Biden’s “enemies list” can expect to be marginalized. The firearm industry has witnessed this. The firearm industry runs the Real Solutions. Safer Communities. campaign, the safety initiatives that have proven effectiveness in reducing the criminal and negligent misuse of firearms. Two of those programs are partner programs with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Those include the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program and Operation Secure Store (OSS). The Don’t Lie initiative works alongside the ATF to try to prevent illegal straw purchases of firearms. OSS assists firearm retailers to increase security at stores to prevent and deter burglaries and robberies. The ATF’s own figures show that OSS is working to reduce gun store burglaries and stolen guns. When firearms are stolen, the industry through NSSF matches ATF reward offers for their recovery and bringing those criminals to justice.
Further, the firearm industry’s suicide prevention partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was extended to include the Department of Veterans Affairs because of its effectiveness of getting suicide prevention resources to firearm ranges and retailers to prevent tragedies.
None of those are mentioned by the Biden administration. It doesn’t fit the narrative and doesn’t please the special-interest gun control groups shaping his administration’s gun control agenda.
There’s no room in the Biden administration for dissent or opposing views. There are only dark and ominous visuals of a president vilifying Americans against a blood-red backdrop, pounding his fists on the lectern.
Those new to this “enemies” label are rightfully unnerved. For the firearm industry, we’ve been here and we know the message that must be sent will come Nov. 8 when everyone must #GUNVOTE.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.