HomeUSABiden's Whole-of-Gov't Gun Control Crusade Confronts Reality

Biden’s Whole-of-Gov’t Gun Control Crusade Confronts Reality

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By Larry Keane

President Joe Biden’s relentless rebukes of the firearm industry and law-abiding gun owners isn’t just an infringement on our Second Amendment rights – it’s a calculated and well-financed attack on the fabric of American liberty. President Biden calls the firearm industry “the enemy” and his administration is systematically attempting to dismantle the industry and pander to the whims of radical gun control lobbyists. The evidence is clear, and the statistics damning.

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently finalized a rule that made a 90-day firearm export “pause” permanent policy and created burdensome regulatory requirements. Sold under the guise of national security, this policy will hamstring the U.S. firearm industry’s competitiveness and cost thousands of good-paying jobs by impeding a critical revenue source. The economic impact is staggering, with estimates far exceeding $250 million – a devastating blow to an industry already reeling from government overreach.

Data Doesn’t Lie

Recent polling data reveals the extent of public disapproval of President Biden’s anti-gun crusade. Fifty-four percent of Americans now disapprove of his handling of firearm issues – a seven-point increase since February. This widespread discontent spans all demographics, with only five percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Independents expressing approval. Even within his own party, nearly a quarter of Democrats disapprove of his gun control agenda.

But it’s not just public opinion that condemns President Biden’s assault on the firearm industry – the facts speak for themselves. Despite his claims to the contrary, licensed firearm dealers are not the source of firearm-related crime. In fact, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) report shows that only 1.6 percent of all investigations involved dealers over the past five years – a minuscule fraction of 9,700 cases launched by the agency. To put that into perspective, there were 134,516 federal firearms licensees (FFLs) at the end of 2021. That equates to just 0.1 percent of all federal firearms licensees (FFLs) being implicated in allegedly illegal firearm trafficking before President Biden initiated his federal crackdown on the firearm industry.

Meanwhile, private sales that do not adhere to the relevant laws and regulations, along with straw purchases, account for 80 percent of cases of illegally trafficked firearms – an inconvenient truth that President Biden conveniently ignores. Through NSSF, the firearm industry partners with the ATF to prevent illegal straw purchases through the Don’t Lie for the Other GuyTM campaign. Even ATF Director Steven Dettelbach has personally participated in the press events kicking off these campaigns in U.S. cities to raise awareness that lying on ATF background checks to buy a gun for someone who can’t do it themselves is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

President Biden’s zero-tolerance policy towards firearm retailers simply operating a lawful business is nothing short of draconian. Minor paperwork errors are met with the revocation of licenses, the destruction of livelihoods, and the punishment of law-abiding citizens. Yet, the Biden administration is conspicuously absent when it comes to enforcing existing laws. His own son, Hunter Biden, admitted to lying on a federal background check – Form 4473 – regarding frequent illicit drug use, which is a felony offense. Meanwhile, FFLs are hounded for minor infractions and actual criminals roam free – a gross miscarriage of justice that exposes President Biden’s blatant hypocrisy.

Election Year

As the presidential campaign heats up, voters are watching what’s happening around them. In numerous major cities across the country, crime is still high, with Americans from all backgrounds and across all demographics continuing to exercise their Second Amendment rights. For example, Jewish Americans have purchased firearms in large numbers as antisemitic threats and attacks have picked up, especially in the months since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. African American women are also exercising their Second Amendment Rights at higher rates amid crime concerns. Though these constituencies, like most other minority groups, have historically largely voted for Democrats, they are recognizing that responsible firearm ownership is essential to protect themselves and their families.

Moreover, President Biden’s fixation on repealing and circumventing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is another continual barrage on the Second Amendment. Despite bipartisan support for this crucial protection against public nuisance lawsuits, President Biden’s determination to undermine it knows no bounds. He has sought to allow individuals to evade the PLCAA by urging state legislatures to pass laws that allow lawsuits against the firearm industry for criminal acts that involved a gun, akin to allowing someone to sue Chevrolet and Anheuser-Busch for a drunk driving accident.

But President Biden’s whole-of-government assault on freedom doesn’t end there. His administration’s cozy relationship with special-interest gun control donors is evident in every policy decision, from executive orders targeting the firearm industry to his administration’s refusal to enforce existing laws. President Biden’s disdain for the Second Amendment is matched only by his contempt for the will of the American people – a dangerous combination that threatens to erode the very foundations of our constitutional republic.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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