The administration of U.S. president Joe Biden is contemplating a host of executive actions on gun control in the aftermath of a pair of mass shooting incidents – a spa shooting rampage allegedly targeting Asian-Americans in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, 2021 and a grocery store shooting in Boulder, Colorado five days later.
The Boulder shooting was allegedly perpetrated by a Muslim gunman upset over anti-Islamic bias … a narrative I don’t suspect will get much play in the mainstream media (not that any underlying motivation for a mass shooting is any better or worse than another, obviously).
Anyway, these two incidents have spurred Biden into action … while also sparking a sweeping repudiation of his administration from Second Amendment advocates (like me) who believe he is about to embark on a massive federal gun grab.
In fairness to Biden, though, this is exactly what he said he was going to do a year ago while campaigning for the White House …
More on that in a moment … first, let’s look at the current lay of the land when it comes to this fundamental freedom.
“As president I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe,” Biden said earlier this week in response to the two mass shootings.
Never mind that lawful gun ownership is the most effective means by which Americans can keep themselves safe.
Specifically, Biden called on members of the U.S. congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines – and to tighten background checks and close loopholes in existing federal law.
“I got that done when I was a senator,” Biden said, referring to the assault weapons ban. “It was a law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again. We can close loopholes in our background check system, close the Charleston loophole. That’s one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.”
The “Charleston loophole” is a reference to the acquisition of the firearm used in the “Holy City Massacre” – which saw avowed white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof murder nine black parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME church in downtown Charleston on June 17, 2015.
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Roof’s February 2015 arrest on drug charges – first obtained by this news outlet – should have prevented him from purchasing the .45 caliber semi-automatic Glock handgun he used in the shooting. Unfortunately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – which administers the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) – couldn’t obtain the record of Roof’s arrest within a three-day window after April 11, 2015, when he first attempted to purchase the firearm.
Accordingly, Roof was able to legally purchase the weapon when he returned to the same West Columbia, S.C. gun store on April 14 (federal law permits stores to sell weapons if the FBI doesn’t explicitly bar them from doing so after a three-day period).
“In other words the government system broke down,” I wrote in a 2015 post on this subject.
Indeed it did … and in 2019 a federal judge ruled that victims of the “Holy City Massacre” could sue the federal government for its failure.
In the meantime, though … should law-abiding gun owners (or would-be gun owners) be penalized because the FBI dropped the ball in the Roof case?
I don’t think so …
Nonetheless, Biden wants to extend this three-day waiting period to ten days … which sounds reasonable enough on the surface. Of course, there’s a problem with that logic. What happens the next time the FBI drops the ball? And then decides to shift the blame by christening a new “loophole?”
Will the feds then extend the waiting period indefinitely?
In addition to advocating on behalf of new weapons bans and fresh restrictions on gun purchases via the legislative process, Biden is also planning to use his executive authority to impose new restrictions on gun rights – with his spokeswoman Jen Psaki indicating this week that all options were on the table in this area.
“There’s lots of leverage you can take, obviously, as president and vice president,” Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.
Pressuring Biden to take aggressive executive action is Everytown – the left-leaning group which has been behind a host of extra-legal attempted gun grabs at the municipal level (and which, until recently, employed a “Republican” lobbying firm in our home state of South Carolina).
Prior to the shootings, this group called Biden and vice president Kamala Harris “the strongest gun safety administration in American history” – and now its leaders are pushing them to prove it.
Again, no one should be surprised that Biden – an ostensible “centrist” – is veering hard left on the issue of guns. As I noted in an editorial last March, Biden is not a moderate – on guns or anything else. But especially not on guns.
“Nowhere is the evolution of Biden into a fringe liberal more evident than in his views on guns,” I wrote at the time.
“If I’m elected, I’m coming for you,” Biden warned gun manufacturers just four days before his “First in the South” presidential primary win.
He also made it clear at the time that he supported the new bans and background checks he is pushing for presently …
Again, most Americans have been conditioned to support those policies – so Biden is on fairly comfortable ground politically when it comes to advocating on their behalf (especially in the aftermath of a pair of high-profile shootings). But it is the specter of aggressive executive action which troubles me – especially if such orders work around congress to impose new restrictions on the ability of law-abiding individuals merely looking to protect themselves in an increasingly dangerous, dystopian world.
Obviously, I can certainly see some justification for reasonable firearm regulations – but it bears repeating that any attempt to disarm the populace runs counter to the Second Amendment, a vital expression of one of our nation’s most indispensable and (I thought) unassailable liberties.
Meaning we should watch Biden’s executive orders very closely …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading.
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