AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Former Vice-President Joe Biden recently penned an op/ed (or more likely, someone penned it for him) claiming that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban actually worked to reduce crime, and that a bigger, badder ban needs to be re-instituted. Clay Turner, former editor of America’s First Freedom magazine, says Biden’s got his gun ban all wrong.
For example: Biden claims, “We have a huge problem with guns.” Of course, you will find no reports of guns stalking women, invading homes or engaging in turf shootouts. People do these things. In academic circles, Biden’s claim is called anthropomorphism, or ascribing human characteristics to inanimate objects. It’s a literary device, not fact.
Data is not on Biden’s side, either. Research is often mind-numbing, but an entertaining article by BJ Campbell confirms, “There is no clear correlation whatsoever between gun ownership rate and gun homicide rate. Not within the U.S. Not regionally. Not internationally.” It’s worth the read, but if you’re not inclined to do so, consider that the U.S. gun homicide rates have been falling since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, domestic gun sales have skyrocketed (especially during the Obama/Biden administration). Correlate that, Joe.
It’s also worth noting that the modern “school shooting era” began in 1996, during the Clinton/Biden Gun Ban. The murders at Columbine High School, which have inspired so many others, took place in 1999, five years after the passage of the ban and five years before it would sunset. Clearly a semi-auto ban won’t stop these types of atrocities.
Compare Biden’s statement that we have a huge problem with guns to President Trump’s comment over the weekend that people pull the trigger, not the gun that pulls the trigger. Those two positions are basically the two sides of the gun control debate distilled down to their philosophical essences. On the one hand, the idea that we can ban our way to safety. If there are no guns, then there can be no gun crime! On the other hand, the idea that you have to deal with the individuals driving or responsible for gun-related violence, or else you can’t hope to dramatically reduce it.
But as Turner points out, Biden’s not interested in dealing with individuals. After all, he’s been accused of being an architect of mass incarceration. You think he wants to talk about putting the most violent offenders in prison? He’d rather talk about Bill Clinton’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein than bring up targeted enforcement efforts and tougher sentences for violent criminals. If nothing else, his political instincts keep him focused on banning the most commonly sold rifle in America today.
Biden also asserts that “Assault weapons — military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly — are a threat to our national security.” His description is deliberately meant to confuse AR-15s with machine guns, which they are not. They work identically to your grandfather’s semi-auto pheasant gun: One trigger pull = one round fired. It will surprise those not well-acquainted with firearms that not one U.S. mass killing has been perpetrated with a machine gun — not even Las Vegas.
Biden’s usage of “military-style” wording sounds ominous, but he stops short of claiming AR-15s are military guns. In truth, no organized military in the world goes to war equipped with AR-15s precisely because they are not machine guns. Yet Biden is unashamed when he hypes them as “weapons of war.”
How does the AR-15, the most popular rifle in America, constitute “a threat to our national security?” Best estimates place about 16 million AR-15s in the hands of U.S. civilians, yet their use in homicide is so rare that the FBI doesn’t even track them. Instead, FBI data lumps them in with all other types of rifles — which are used in less than 4% of U.S. gun homicides.
Turner touches on an important point that I’ll exploring in greater depth soon here on Bearing Arms; Joe Biden (and gun control groups more generally) wants you to be afraid. Not you, the gun owner, though he does want you to fear a gun ban enough to comply with it. No, he and gun control groups want voters to be afraid. They’ve discovered fear is an excellent motivator, even better than anger, and they’re pushing hard with rhetoric designed to make Americans terrified to leave their home for fear they’ll fall victim to a mass shooting.
Ultimately, it’s all about politics for Biden. This quote by Turner sums it up nicely.
My father once told me to beware of taking advice from someone with something to sell. With this propaganda, Biden is selling us — Biden, for President. Seen in this light, the half-truth in his headline is clear: “Banning Assault Weapons Works”—Not to make us any safer, but perhaps to get Biden nominated.
As front runner, Biden can choose to adopt and co-opt policies from other candidates and try to make them non-issues in the larger primary fight. Biden knows you can’t run for president as a Democrat in this cycle unless you’re in full support of a semi-auto ban. Don’t be surprised if he calls for a ‘buyback” before long as well, especially if Beto O’Rourke gains any ground in polling after his “reset” last week to a campaign centered around gun control. Joe knows politics, and that’s unfortunately what this is all about.