Biden’s gun control agenda looks ambitious- while gun control activists rejoice, gun owners see their right to self-defense at risk.
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Since he is already in office, Biden now has to reveal more details on his gun control agenda, and judging by the comments so far, we believe it will be very ambitious.
For instance, unidentified sources claim that a month into his term, the Democratic chief executive is considering requiring purchasers of homemade firearms that lack serial numbers to undergo background checks.
A White House official told Politico that the president is looking at “every tool at our disposal, including executive actions.”
While the former President generally supported gun ownership rights, Biden’s outlook on the Second Amendment is significantly different from that.
Trump declined proposals to restrict the magazine capacity, ban the sale of popular rifles, impose federal licensing requirements for law-abiding gun owners, and mandate the registration of ammunition.
He also opposed frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and bureaucratic harassment of firearms dealers and supported the successful repeal of a law that demanded the Social Security Administration to provide mental health information to a national background check system.
The ban of bump stocks and the support for red flag laws while resisting the vast majority of the gun control movement’s proposals enraged some people.
Red flag laws allow petitioning a state court to remove firearms from someone a judge may determine is a danger to himself or others.
Yet, Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America (GOA), Biden’s agenda, banning popular AR-15 rifles, banning 3-D printing of guns, and mandating often unreliable “smart” guns, is “as extreme as you can get.”
“First of all, he wants to ban the most popular guns in America, the semiautomatics, AR-15s, and guns like that, which is probably unconstitutional..
Second of all, he wants to do this universal background check, which in fact is a universal gun registry, and once they have the names of everyone who owns a gun, and once they know where they live, then they can stage a midnight raid under red flag gun confiscation and actually take the guns.
And of course the third element of his agenda is he is going to encourage municipalities and counties from very, very liberal jurisdictions to sue gun manufacturers and gun dealers to put them out of business in the same way that they almost put cigarette companies out of business.”
On the other hand, Biden supports some of the more heavy-handed gun control proposals like banning the manufacture and sale of military-style firearms and high-capacity magazines, and regulating the possession of existing so-called assault weapons.
His goal is to limit individuals to the purchase of one firearm per month and to ban all internet-based sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.
He also supports extending the background check period from the current 3 days to 10 days, and mandating background checks for all gun sales, including those that take place at gun shows and online.
He intends to reverse the Trump-backed repeal of the law that required the Social Security Administration to inform people and to urge more states to adopt red flag laws.
He wants all guns sold to be so-called “smart guns,” which need an owner’s fingerprint to operate.
Both Connecticut senators urge the President to take decisive action.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said:
“My view is the bigger and bolder the better on gun violence prevention because we have a unique window of opportunity.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, also a Democrat, said his plan is to reintroduce his universal background check bill in the next weeks.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), vice chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in Congress told McClatchy earlier this month that the gun-control cause “is not going away”:
“I would just say to any elected official that you ignore this issue at your peril. You have to make sure you’re addressing this because the tide turned a long time ago.”
The efforts of Biden are supported by some pro-gun control activist groups as well.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety “ said:
“This administration is what, three weeks old, [but] it’s the strongest gun safety administration in history, whether you’re talking about the president or the vice president or the cabinet. We’ve got full confidence they’re going to govern like it.”
Christian Hayne, vice president of policy for Brady, formerly the National Council to Control Handguns stated:
“We have changed state legislatures. We have passed voter referendums. We have seen for the first time [a] Democratic primary where every single candidate was trying to outdo themselves on how much they care about this issue.
We do anticipate the momentum will continue to build until we get the change that we desperately need.”
Nevertheless, all these proposals are doomed to fail in Congress.
Firearms are already one of the most heavily regulated consumer goods in America, and people who own firearms won’t embrace Biden’s plans.
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In August 2020, David Harsanyi reported at National Review that about 30 percent of Americans own firearms, and 43 percent live in a household where guns are kept.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and estimated based on FBI background check data, more than 12 million guns were bought in the first seven months of last year while civil unrest engulfed much of the nation. That figure is 70 percent higher than for the corresponding period the previous year.
“This number is likely to include nearly 5 million first-time gun owners so far this year. That is probably the biggest surge in gun ownership in American history.”
On Feb. 14, or the third anniversary of the killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, or the deadliest high school mass shooting in American history, Biden promised that his administration would “do better” in its quest to strengthen gun control laws. He stated:
“Over these three years, the Parkland families have taught all of us something profound. Time and again, they have shown us how we can turn our grief into purpose—to march, organize, and build a strong, inclusive, and durable movement for change.
This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer.”
A week after this massacre, President Donald Trump wrote:
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher, or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R), the then- Florida’s governor, called the attack “absolutely pure evil.”
This year, on Jan.8., on the 10th anniversary of the shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, Biden pledged on Twitter that he would “defeat the NRA and end our epidemic of gun violence.”
During the attack, Giffords suffered a severe brain injury, so she resigned from Congress. Her husband, Mark Kelly, was sworn in as the junior senator from Arizona in December after winning a special election. Together, the couple founded an eponymous gun control advocacy and research organization called Giffords.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a civil rights organization with 5.5 million members. On Jan. 15, the group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection six months after New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, stated that its leadership had misappropriated funds.
The pro-Second Amendment group answered Biden with a tweet of its own asking gun owners to “stay vigilant” in defending their constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms during his administration.
GOA’s Hammond insisted that Biden supports red flag laws, but reduced Trump’s endorsement of them, characterizing his move as “flirting” with the idea as he didn’t actually pursue their implementation.
He said that Biden is “apparently quite serious about implementing” such laws, and it doesn’t help that “there was a time some Republicans were saying this is gun control that we can agree with.”
“It’s among the nastier aspects of gun control to say that based on unsubstantiated allegations, a judge, without listening to you, can nevertheless order secret raids on your house in the middle of the night, and if you resist, as some people have, you’ll be shot to death.”
Civil libertarians expressed their concerns due to red flag laws as, they say, in some states those laws offer little or no due process protections, allowing a police officer, member of the family, or a member of the community, sometimes anonymously, to report a gun owner whose behavior suggests he may be a danger to others or himself.
Under red flag laws, also known as risk-based gun-control laws, a judge determines if the gun owner is a threat to public safety based on his statements and actions.
Sometimes, without the gun owner even being aware of it, a hearing can take place. In case the judge believes the individual’s a risk, the person’s guns can be seized provisionally pending further judicial proceedings. These taken guns are returned to the person unless a judge orders an extension of the period of confiscation.
Giffords claim that nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently have red flag laws, and 12 of them and D.C. let family or household members as well as law enforcement petition for a confiscation order, which in some places is called an extreme risk protection order.
Maryland and D.C. let mental health providers petition, New York allows school administrators to file petitions, while Hawaii allows medical professionals, co-workers, and teachers to file petitions.
According to Giffords:
“Extreme risk protection orders provide a proactive way to temporarily restrict a person showing clear warning signs of violence from accessing firearms.”
The laws authorizing the orders provide “lifesaving tools that can prevent gun tragedies before they occur.”
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