President Joe Biden wasted little time calling for gun control following the tragic murders of six innocent Americans by a mentally unstable person who was known to be a threat. Similarly, White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre demanded a litany of gun control in a press briefing following the tragedy in Louisville, Ky., before the basic facts of the incident were known.
Less than two weeks after a transgender student shot her way into The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., the president tweeted his gun control call.
“Congress must ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require safe storage of firearms, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and require background checks for all gun sales, and state officials must do the same,” President Biden said. The Tweet was accompanied by a graphic saying, “Ban Assault Weapons.”
He’s conceded there isn’t much more he can do on his own for gun control.
What’s The Truth?
The president’s desire to ban so-called “assault weapons” is never-ending, even though he runs into resistance from his own party, not to mention a majority of Americans. The data doesn’t support a ban on the more than 24.4 million legally-owned Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs). The president got pushback.
“First define what an ‘Assault Weapon’ is before you demand to ban it,” one Twitter user replied. That’s a good point. The administration has never defined what they mean by “assault weapon.” The president’s first and failed nominee to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman, became flustered in his U.S. Senate nomination hearing when questioned before admitting, “Senator, there’s no way I could define an assault weapon.” Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives also flub firearm terminology when debating gun restrictions on law-abiding Americans. Similarly, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas was unable to define what an “assault weapon” is, even though he supports banning them.
If the president and the incessant gun control groups calling for a ban on MSRs acknowledged what the data shows, they’d see the folly of such an ineffective call. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows more intentional murders are committed by criminals using knives, fists, and blunt objects than by rifles of any kind, not just MSRs like the AR-15.
Another responder pointed out an additional reason why the president’s call isn’t a serious solution, referring to the 42nd president. “Mr. Clinton tried the same thing…didn’t work.” It’s true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined after the 1994 ban expired in 2004, it did not reduce crime, and the impact on gun violence of renewing it would be “too small for reliable measurement.” Reason.com just highlighted what NSSF industry data had shown all along: the number of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) in private circulation has grown exponentially since 1990 while unintentional firearm fatalities have reached record lows and overall crime involving firearms has trended lower.
And, even if there were enough votes in Congress to ban MSRs, such a law would violate the Second Amendment based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Heller and, more recently, in Bruen.
More Pinocchios, Please
In yet another sign demonstrating the president’s continued unseriousness about his plans to hold criminals accountable, he again repeated a lie he’d been called out on several times before. It’s not like the administration doesn’t know their own favored media outlets have told them they’re making false statements. They know – they just keep repeating the lie.
“Eliminate the gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability,” the president said. Here, he’s just flat wrong. It was wrong when he falsely claimed one year ago in The White House Rose Garden, “They [manufacturers] are the only outfit — (applause) — they’re the only outfit in the country that is immune.” Before that, at a “Gun Violence Strategies Partnership” event in New York City, he was joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and remarked, “Imagine had we had a liabil… [sic] they’re the only industry in America that is exempted from being able to be sued by the public. Only one. Why the gun manufacturers?”
It wasn’t true then; it’s not true now. It was a lie then and it’s still a lie. The Washington Post, CNN, PolitiFact, the Associated Press and many more have all rebuked the president on his false claim. “They [firearm manufacturers] are not exempt or immune from being sued,” wrote the AP. “Gun manufacturers can certainly be sued…Biden is wrong to say gun manufacturers are alone,” was the Washington Post’s response.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) protects firearm manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits that seek to blame them for the criminal misuse of legal, non-defective lawfully sold firearms by remote third parties who are beyond the control of manufacturers. Allowing a member of the firearm industry to be sued for the criminal misuse of a firearm would be like allowing Ford to be sued by the victim of a drunk driving accident because a Ford was driven by someone under the influence of alcohol.
The president has received a fair amount of unfriendly fire from would-be allies who believe he isn’t “doing enough” to pass more gun control restrictions. Never mind, his proposals don’t have the support of all Democrats in the U.S. Senate majority. Every firearm sold at retail requires the buyer to pass an FBI National Instant Criminals Background Check System (NICS) verification in order to take the firearm home. Requiring a NICS check on private firearm sales necessitates a national firearm registry in order to work – and that is already outlawed by the 1986 Gun Control Act, the Brady Act of 1993, and an appropriation law funding ATF.
The president’s last demand – “requiring safe storage of firearms” – is unconstitutional as the Supreme Court ruled in its Heller decision in 2008. NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi have testified against both federal and state mandatory storage laws while supporting other safe storage options.
The firearm industry remains committed to the hard work needed to reduce access to firearms by prohibited individuals and those who cannot be trusted with a firearm. It’s something the entire gun-owning community agrees on, and it takes serious and sober discussions about how to best accomplish that critical goal. The president’s repeated pattern of putting empty politics over serious policy proposals shows where his focus is. Not on holding criminals accountable or protecting Americans’ Constitutional rights, but on control and restricting rights.
About The National Shooting Sports Foundation
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org