It’s worth noting he released his plan just one day before Democratic candidates were scheduled to promote their various gun control notions in front of an approving audience on the national stage that’s being sponsored by – surprise, surprise – the gun control groups Giffords and March for Our Lives. It’s also worth noting the plan doesn’t actually address crime but targets law-abiding gun owners.
The former vice president would reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban but would take it a step further. He’s tiptoeing around the “confiscation” debate and instead proposing a national voluntary “buyback” of the existing 16 million lawfully and privately-owned AR-15 modern sporting rifles.
Don’t worry if you won’t want to use your tax dollars to fund a buyback for a firearm for which you’ve already paid – and paid taxes on. Biden says he’s got a plan for that too. He’ll just need you to register it under the authority of the National Firearms Act. You’ll just need to submit fingerprints and registration with the ATF and pay the tax stamp fee. It’s simple, just like the way automatic firearms, short-barreled rifles and suppressors are regulated now. Never mind the paperwork takes an average of nine months.
Biden says he’d do this since NFA-regulated items are rarely used in crimes. But, just this week the FBI’s own crime statistics showed again that just two percent of murders are committed with rifles, far less than the share committed with knives (11 percent) or hands and feet (5 percent).
Ban New MSRs, Magazines
Biden will let you keep your rifle but won’t let you choose to buy a new one. He wants to reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, so no new modern sporting rifle could be sold. And say goodbye to standard capacity magazines. Those would go too, because, as Biden believes, gun owners must love ducks more than kids.
“Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotguns. That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children.”
The sickening comparison tries to conflate hunting with self-protection. It also indicates that the value of a gun owner’s life in the Biden campaign’s view is just three rounds.
Biden’s idea of respect for Second Amendment rights is to curb it, as in a federal one-gun-a-month policy. That’s not all. He’s calling for the so-called universal background check to be enforced and closing the so-called Charleston Loophole – that would extend waiting periods to buy a gun to 10 business days.
Given weekends, that denies a law-abiding American the right to possess a firearm for more than two weeks. Tens of millions of checks are completed annually, with 91 percent immediately resolved. Just nine percent are delayed. Of that nine percent, 88 percent are resolved in three days and 94 percent are resolved in 10. Just two percent of those going to delayed status are unresolved.
Biden wants to cut gun rights to those whom the Social Security Administration who require a fiduciary – or someone to help manage their financial affairs. It was a policy of the Obama administration that allowed bureaucrats to decide if an individual should be allowed their Second Amendment rights instead of a hearing in front of a judge. President Donald Trump ended it. Biden wants it back.
Take It Off Line
Biden also wants to end online sales of firearms, ammunition and build kits. He ignores that all firearms listed for sale online must be completed with a face-to-face background check at a federal regulated firearms licensed retailer. Ordering ammunition on the web would be a thing of the past, severely interrupting interstate commerce.
State Gun Licenses
Biden knows the federal government can’t require a license to exercise the right to keep and bear arms, but that’s not keeping him from throwing money at the states to do it for him. He’d push a plan to have states to require individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a gun. Absent from this idea are the standards, fees and regulations that would go along with it.
Biden wants us to believe that he’s serious about the illegal trafficking of firearms. This is the same man who as Vice President let straw-purchased guns walk across the U.S.-Mexico border as part of “Operation Fast and Furious” that later turned up at murder scenes, including that of a federal agent. He now wants us to trust him on this issue.
Biden wants to mandate all future gun sales are equipped with so-called “smart gun” technology. It doesn’t matter that the Justice Department found the technology unreliable when the Obama administration pushed for it and is still technologically unfeasible. He claims the firearms industry is blocking it. It’s true NSSF opposes the mandate. It’s false we oppose the technology. If customers really wanted it, manufactures would make it. The truth is gun owners don’t want a point of failure introduced into a gun they rely on to save lives.
Biden wants to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents individuals from seeking liability from firearms manufactures for the illegal and criminal acts of individuals. Just as victims of reckless driving don’t sue Ford, this directs responsibility to where it rightfully belongs.
This is the same person who stood on the national debate stages and said, “Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA, the gun manufacturers.” He targeted a lawful and heavily regulated industry that supports 312,000 jobs earning $15.7 billion in wages and has a total economic impact over $52 billion. The firearms industry is an integral economic contributor, having paid more than $6.8 billion in total taxes in 2019 alone.
Under the category of “things the firearms industry already does,” Biden wants to eliminate “straw purchases” by making it a “serious federal crime.” It already is. Buy a gun for someone who can’t and it lands you 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. The firearms industry literally has a campaign on this called “Don’t Lie For the Other GuyTM.”
The ATF is partnered in this prevention program. He’d make it a law to lock up guns in homes, instead of partnering with the industry for our successful ProjectChildsafe® program where we’ve passed out 38 million gun safety kits with free gun locks through 15,000 police agencies in every state. In fact, Biden praised the program as an effective answer when he was pressing for ineffective proposals for the Obama administration.
Let’s be honest. This isn’t a serious plan. It’s a gun control wish list to placate gun control groups. The only thing that separates this is that it takes a half-step back from the disastrous confiscation calls by Robert Francis O’Rourke.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.