Joe Biden hasn’t exactly been the picture of consistency on the campaign trail this year. He pledged to end fossil fuels during the Democratic primary, but was all “Drill, baby, drill” during his recent speech in Pittsburgh. He wasn’t going to go to Kenosha, Wisconsin after riots erupted in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, until he showed up a day after Donald Trump visited the city.
Asked to respond to the governors who had appreciated President Trump’s more targeted coronavirus approach, which gave more authority to the states, Biden said, “Well, I hope you could trust the governors.
“But here’s the deal, the federal government — there’s a constitutional issue whether federal government could issue such a mandate. I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate.”
Note, by the way, that Biden didn’t acknowledge ever calling for a national mask mandate. Nor did he tell his audience when, exactly, he realized that there are constitutional concerns over the federal government attempting to impose a mandate. He’s simply pretending that this has always been his position, despite the headlines from mid-August declaring his support for a federal order requiring Americans to wear masks.
As long as Joe Biden is paying lip service to the idea of governmental power being restricted by the Constitution, he should take another look at his gun control agenda, which suffers from the same constitutional defects and practical problems of enforcement that doomed his mask mandate to failure.
Take the centerpiece of Biden’s anti-gun platform: a ban on the sale and possession of so-called “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines,” which are both pliable terms that can be most accurately defined as “guns and magazines I want to ban.”
The modern sporting rifles that Biden wants to ban are the most commonly sold rifles in the United States, and the magazines that Biden would make illegal under federal law may comprise more than half of all the ammunition magazines in the country, as Judge Kenneth Lee stated in the recent Ninth Circuit opinion that upheld a federal court’s decision that California’s ban on so-called large capacity magazines violates the Second Amendment rights of Californians.
These are items in common use by tens of millions of Americans for a variety of lawful purposes, but Joe Biden says they’re outside the scope of the Second Amendment, which his campaign website describes as “limited” in scope. Of course Biden offers no evidence to support his position, nor does he bother to explain to voters what a “limited” Second Amendment looks like, though the new (and laughable) Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Biden describes a right to keep and bear arms that is limited to hunting and sporting, with no mention at all of the right to defend yourself with a firearm.
I suspect that no matter how many flip-flops we see from Joe Biden over the next two months, his support for inventing new non-violent crimes out of thin air will remain remarkably consistent, even though his gun control agenda is completely at odds with the Democratic campaign platform that calls for a “top to bottom” overhaul of the entire criminal justice system.
That statement alone suggests that the Left should reject the old-school model of gun violence prevention by imposing new gun control laws (particularly non-violent possessory offenses), but so far the Democrats aren’t willing to confront the inherent contradiction in “re-imagining policing” while putting even more gun control laws in place. Joe Biden doesn’t see the constitutional concerns with his anti-gun agenda, and he doesn’t want to admit that his gun control plans can’t sit comfortably alongside his calls to reduce incarceration at both the federal and state level.
If we had a press corps that dared to ask a skeptical question of the Democratic candidate, he might be forced to try to square that circle. Since that won’t happen, we can only hope that Donald Trump raises the issue when the two candidates square off in their first debate later this month. If Trump really wants to make Joe Biden look like a babbling fool, he should ask him directly how his gun control laws can be enforced without putting more Americans in prison for a crime that Biden and the Democrats will have created out of what used to be the Second Amendment.