Why Biden's New Eviction Moratorium Should Worry Gun Owners

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

For weeks now, Joe Biden has been saying that any extension to the moratorium on evictions originally put in place by the Centers for Disease Control was going to have to come from Congress. Heck, the Supreme Court told the Biden administration that was the case. And for weeks, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer ignored the impending demise of the eviction moratorium, choosing to focus instead on infrastructure and trying to vilify the GOP for their refusal to go along with a sweeping elections bill that’s stuck in the Senate.

That lack of urgency on the part of congressional Democrats led to the moratorium expiring, which in turn led to Joe Biden deciding on Tuesday to go ahead with allowing the CDC to issue a new, slightly different moratorium despite having been told that it’s unconstitutional. As Charles Cook writes at National Review:

President Biden knows that the CDC’s eviction moratorium is illegal, having, per Gene Sperling, “not only kicked the tires,” but “double, triple, quadruple checked.” He also knows that the Supreme Court has ruled that it is illegal, and that the majority of the legal scholars he has consulted think that the Court is correct.

And yet, because a bunch of progressives have spent the day complaining, Biden announced just now that he intends to violate his oath and reissue the order anyway. “The bulk of the constitutional scholars,” Biden admitted at his press conference just now, “say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.” Then he said that he was prepared to try his luck anyway.

Biden admitted that the Supreme Court is likely going to strike down this order, but it will take some time for the court system to catch up with the executive branch actions. In other words, he’s willing to ignore the Constitution in favor of the possibility of short-term political gain. And if Biden’s willing to do that when it comes to the issue of evictions, why wouldn’t he embrace that same strategy when it comes to our Second Amendment rights?

The administration is already stretching the limits of executive authority with a pair of proposed rules from the ATF that would impose backdoor bans on homemade firearms and AR-style pistols with braces, but Biden’s latest move on evictions is evidence that the White House could try to implement even more of the president’s anti-gun agenda by trying to go around the legislative branch.

This new moratorium isn’t a “law,” but that seems to be a distinction without a difference to many reporters… not to mention the administration itself. I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I do remember my Schoolhouse Rock, and laws start as bills in the legislative branch before becoming law once a president has put pen to paper. There’s no bill involved in this eviction moratorium, and Biden himself has left it up to CDC to impose these new restrictions on landlords, complete with criminal penalties.

Now imagine a scenario a few months into the future, when ATF Director David Chipman decides that, thanks to the ATF’s newly expanded definitions of “frame”, “receiver”, and “readily convertible,” the agency has the power to declare that modern sporting rifles are readily converted to fully-automatic machine guns and should therefore be regulated under the National Firearms Act.

If that sounds crazy, keep in mind that gun control groups are already laying the groundwork for that power grab with several recent lawsuits filed in California.

Brady alleges that Smith & Wesson “knowingly violated” federal law regarding sales of machine guns to the general public, even though the gun that was used by the attacker was a semi-automatic firearm. Brady’s making the claim that Smith & Wesson knowingly manufactured a gun that could be “readily converted” to fully-automatic fire in violation of the National Firearms Act (the gun used in the Poway shooting wasn’t modified to shoot full-auto, but that’s of no importance to Brady’s argument).

We also know that Chipman himself has said that AR-15s should be treated like machine guns, and Biden’s own gun ban plan calls for AR-15s to be turned in or registered under the NFA. There’s no chance that Biden’s ban is going to pass through the Senate (at least with the filibuster in place), but as long as the administration is willing to play fast and loose with the Constitution they could try to impose that ban through the executive branch’s rule-making authority.

I’d like to believe that if the administration was bold enough to try this scheme, the courts would quickly shut down their plans, but there’s no guarantee of that happening. And now that Biden himself has demonstrated that pandering to the Democratic base is more important than safeguarding the Constitution, I’d say the odds of his administration trying at some point to put his gun ban into effect without a vote in Congress just went up considerably.

Sep 28, 2021 2:30 PM ET