To be fair, there isn’t much that doesn’t baffle ol’ Joe these days.
When it overturned California’s 10-round magazine limit last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit emphasized what Americans commonly do when they exercise their constitutional right to armed self-defense. Joe Biden, by contrast, thinks the relevant question is how many shells Americans are allowed to have in their shotguns when they hunt migratory birds.
Those two approaches represent the difference between judges who take the Second Amendment seriously and politicians who only pay lip service to it. Biden’s presidential campaign, which promises a raft of new gun restrictions while barely nodding toward the Constitution, shows the extent to which the right to keep and bear arms has become a partisan issue, a development that does not bode well for civil liberties.
The Biden campaign’s website mentions the Second Amendment just once, saying, “It’s within our grasp to end our gun violence epidemic and respect the Second Amendment, which is limited.” Even that grudging acknowledgment is more than the Democratic Party’s platform offers.
After promising to respect the Second Amendment in 2004, 2008, and 2012, the Democrats erased the constitutional provision from their 2016 platform, although they did mention “the rights of responsible gun owners.” This year’s platform omits that phrase as well.
”I respect the Second Amendment,” Biden insisted last March while arguing with a Detroit autoworker about gun control. But the evidence he offered was not exactly reassuring.
”I have a shotgun,” Biden said. “My sons hunt.” He notably omitted any mention of the right to self-defense, which the Supreme Court has recognized as the Second Amendment’s “central component,” or of handguns, which the justices described as the “quintessential self-defense weapon.”
In explaining his plan to ban “high-capacity magazines,” Biden also talks about hunting. “Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun,” his campaign says. “That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children.”
– Jacob Sullum in Joe Biden just doesn’t understand the Second Amendment