President Biden made a speech on Wednesday laying out his new crime control agenda which of course focused on punishing innocent gun owners rather than the criminals who actually commit the crimes he’s talking about. There was no commitment to fully fund police departments or ensure criminals serve their full sentences. Instead, the president engaged in some eye-roll-inducing distortions of simple facts and history.
President Biden Wants to Control Guns and Cops, Not Criminals
“If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons,” the president said.
This is a very common line of argument for those who advocate for the disarming of the law-abiding public. In truth, this line of argument is proof of the opposite. If the Second Amendment was intended to serve as a restraint against a powerful and despotic government, then the claim that the military could easily defeat a rebellion against it is an argument for the public to be better armed, not disarmed.
It is a bizarre statement for the president to imply the government would use nuclear weapons in response to some imagined future rebellion. During the Civil War, there were many citizens in the Southern States who remained loyal to the Union. Some states, like Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia, were pretty evenly split between Secessionists and Unionists. President Lincoln was very careful to instruct his generals not to molest the property or persons of Union loyalists in the Southern States.
The notion alluded to by President Biden that the government would nuke a state killing millions of civilians including those inclined to be on their side, is just crazy talk.
Did the Second Amendment Impose Gun Control on Day One?
Biden went on to claim that there had always been limits on what kinds of weapons people could possess: “The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”
None of that is even remotely true. When the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, not only could you buy a cannon, you could buy your own private warship with as many as 30 cannons and make war on America’s enemies yourself with the express approval of Congress.
At the very start of the War of 1812, Congress recognized that a naval war with Great Brittain was an exercise in futility. The Royal Navy was the largest in the world possessing some 900 ships of all types with thousands of cannons. No doubt the British government also believed it was so militarily powerful no one could resist it. So Congress decided that privateering would be its main naval strategy while trying to create a small navy within the means of the treasury.
Privateers had privately owned ships that were converted to warships with as many as 30 cannons. They raided British shipping and wreaked havoc on their economy. By the end of the war, this “Militia of the Sea” consisted of 525 privately owned warships with thousands of cannons that had taken thousands of British vessels and banked millions in prize money for the cargoes they had seized. The Letters of Marque issued to these ships (and not to their captains) did not authorize them to buy cannons, which they already had aboard, but they did authorize attacks against America’s enemies under the color of law. The Letter of Marque entitled a captured privateering ship’s crew to be treated as prisoners of war. Without one, they would be treated as pirates and hung. To repeat, the Letter of Marque didn’t authorize the purchase and equipping of cannons, but authorized the privateer to shoot them at the ships of another country on the high seas.
President Biden has no historical basis for the claim that gun control laws existed from the moment the Second Amendment was passed in 1791. The first federal gun control law wasn’t passed until June 26, 1934, by Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. It was intended to curb gangland activity. That’s 143 years after the fact, not, “from the day it was passed” as the president claims. Given that we are still trying to pass gun control laws that will stop gang activity 87 years after the National Firearms Act of 1934, maybe it’s obvious that gun control laws don’t deliver on their promises of ending gun crimes.
Gun Control Laws Have Been One Failure Built On Another
President Biden also stated that “The point is that there has always been the ability to limit, rationally limit, the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it.”
That isn’t true either. The gun law passed in 1934 was full of Constitutional problems that were litigated endlessly in the courts on Second Amendment grounds. Congress tried to fix the mess it had caused by passing a new Federal Firearms Act in 1938 which required gun makers, importers, and dealers to have a license, while it defined certain classes of people who could not have guns including felons and persons with mental illnesses.
This law created its own problems and Congress repealed it just a year later. In the United States v. Miller case, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could regulate the sale of short-barreled shotguns because the weapon was not common to military use and that guns in private hands should be of the type common and useful to the purpose of a “militia.” Readers may note here that gun-control advocates now want to ban possession of the AR weapon platform, which is a gun that is exactly “of the type common and useful to the purpose of a ‘militia.'”
Then in 1968, Congress once again repealed the law and replaced it for the fourth time with the Gun Control Act of 1968. This law restricted possession of destructive devices like bombs, mines, mortars, bazookas, and grenades. The bill tried to ban firearms that had no sporting purpose, which contradicted the common “militia use” of United States v. Miller.
This law was supposed to be the decisive gun control law, placing age restrictions on gun owners, felons, the mentally ill, and drug and alcohol abusers. It also required all guns to have serial numbers and ratcheted down on the regulations affecting dealer and gun manufacturers.
Here we are 52 years later with President Biden proposing new gun control laws without any acknowledgment that the sweeping gun control laws Congress has been passing, repealing, and rewriting since 1934 have all been failures at what they promised to do… end gun crime.
How Serious Should We Take President Biden on Guns and Crime?
How serious is the president in making these new proposals? Probably not very serious at all.
Consider this statement by President Biden:
“If you willfully sell a gun to someone who is prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully fail to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record, if you willfully fail to cooperate with the tracing requests or inspections, my message to you is this… ‘We’ll find you and we’ll seek your license to sell guns.'”
That’s it? If you are a licensed dealer and you willfully sell a gun to a felon, not run background checks or falsify records, you will lose your license to sell guns? All of those things are criminal felonies a dealer should be going to jail for. The wrist-slap that the president is talking about here is not making gun law tougher, but weaker. Those of us who lawfully possess firearms for self-defense and sport want people who sell guns to felons put in prison along with the felon who tried to buy the gun.
“Background checks for purchasing a firearm are important… the ban on assault weapons at high-capacity magazines. No one needs to have a weapon that can fire up to 100 rounds unless you think the deer are wearing Kevlar vests or something,” the president added.
I do agree that background checks for gun purchases are important, as I’ve written about previously here, but that system leaks like a sieve. It’s underfunded and millions of serious crimes and adjudications of mental incompetence are not recorded in it. This all but assures that the wrong people will be able to get guns, (including the president’s own son).
As for a ban on “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines, the president accidentally and fatally undermined his own point about the overwhelming military might of the federal government. Does a government that would use F15s strike fighters and nuclear weapons to quell a rebellion by its own citizens have anything to fear from a 20 round magazine? Does President Biden think an AR15 can shoot down an F15 dropping bombs on a rebellious Defuniak Springs Florida? Can the AR stop a 17,000mph Minuteman missile targeting Rifle, Colorado?
Crime is a serious matter in this country. Dealing with it requires a clear-headed and accurate understanding of the country’s history and laws. And this speech by President Biden suggests he has no understanding of these things, which would put solving a crime problem in the U.S. completely out of his reach.
SOFREP is pretty firmly behind the Second Amendment and private gun ownership.
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