Voters roundly rejected gun control groups and their anti-Second Amendment schemes on Election Day. That hasn’t stopped these groups from searching for alternatives to advance their antigun agenda. Now failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s “news” site The Trace is giving former Vice President Joe Biden a playbook to use for executive actions, despite the will of the voters.
Executive Gun Control
While votes are still being tallied, a Biden-Harris administration is exactly what gun control groups wanted. Former Vice President Joe Biden let Everytown for Gun Safety run the traps on his selection of his vice presidential candidate, ultimately settling on U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). The two comprised the most antigun presidential ticket in history.
Sen. Harris was forced to drop out of the Presidential race due to lack of support even before her home-state’s primary. She had campaigned on a promise to strongarm Congress on gun control. Biden derided Second Amendment supporters and has vowed to eliminate the firearm industry. Voters sent a different message, electing pro-Second Amendment policymakers to protect their rights in Congress. The Election Day rebuff isn’t stopping gun control.
The Trace brands itself as an “independent non-partisan, non-profit news site,” but that’s hardly truthful. An exclusive report by Guns America Digest shows 70 percent of The Trace’s budget comes from Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and Everytown’s president John Feinblatt is listed as The Trace’s principal officer.
They’re now proffering a White House playbook full of executive actions, overreach and ineffective attempts to reduce criminal misuse of firearms.
The Trace spoke with Chelsea Parsons of the far-left Center for American Progress and offered several actions Biden could take immediately. None are unfamiliar as voters already rejected these notions at the polls.
A potential Biden-Harris administration could immediately “reinvigorate” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) by nominating a director who will “promote gun violence prevention values and prioritize a regulatory oversight mission,” Parsons said. The Biden campaign stated he’d use the ATF as an anvil to punish retailers for even minor clerical errors, threatening to revoke licenses and put them out of business. This option would require Senate confirmation of any nominee and for the time being, pro-gun rights senators hold a majority.
Parsons also suggested a possible Biden White House could use executive action to overhaul how the ATF classifies certain firearms according to the National Firearms Act. Taking such an action by fiat would instantly turn millions of lawful gun owners into criminals for possessing what was already legally purchased if they don’t fall in line. The alternative is confiscation.
Next on the list is cracking down on so-called “ghost guns,” unfinished firearms or unassembled firearm parts commonly used by gunsmiths and hobbyists since the nation’s founding. Some Democratic governors banned these firearms, but data on their use is already sparse. Parsons added, “Ideally, we’d be able to pass legislation to take care of it. But in the absence of that, this is something that can certainly be addressed through rulemaking.”
Everytown is currently suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in federal court in New York City to force ATF to define casts and forgings as a firearm frame or receiver requiring serial numbers, record keeping and a manufacturing license.
The last major suggestion Parsons offered was for the administration to ban importing so-called “assault weapons.” Parsons specifies that executive action could only ban importing these firearms and that legislative action would be needed for Biden’s preferred avenue of banning the sale and manufacture of these common firearms. New data shows there are nearly 20 million Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) in circulation today.
For gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, a rock-ribbed pro-rights Senate is essential in backstopping against any future infringement on Second Amendment rights.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.