In the wake of Hunter Biden’s most recent indictment, several pro-guno organizations have taken the stance that while the law he’s charged with violating may be constitutionally suspect, it should still apply equally to all… even the well-connected son of the sitting president.
Frankly, that’s pretty close to my own view of Biden’s legal troubles, and I’m not sure why Politico seems so surprised by that position, but reporter Andrew Zhang sure seems to think it’s curious, writing that “while staunch gun advocates oppose any control, they still don’t like the Biden family.”
Pro-gun groups that oppose firearm restrictions say they have no problem with Hunter Biden’s indictment on Thursday, on charges stemming from his purchase of a pistol during a period when he has admitted to using drugs.
They may not like the laws. But it’s only fair, they say, that the president’s son get punished just like anyone else.
“Gun Owners of America opposes all gun control, but so long as this President continues to use every tool at his disposal to harass and criminalize guns, gun owners and gun dealers, his son should be receiving the same treatment and scrutiny as all of us,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president of the organization, said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement from Gun Owners of America, one of the largest gun rights groups in the country, suggests how firearm advocates will be threading a needle when discussing the indictment against the president’s son — whom conservatives have been targeting in political attacks in the run-up to the 2024 election. The NRA issued a similar line on how Hunter Biden should be treated.
“Laws should be applied equally against all criminals,” NRA spokesperson Billy McLaughlin told POLITICO in a brief statement.
Is this really “threading the needle”, or just a common sense take on enforcing the laws that are on the books? Why wouldn’t we expect that if the law barring unlawful users of drugs from possessing or purchasing a firearm is going to be enforced, it would be equally enforced, whether its the president’s son or a guy caught with pot and a pistol in his car? Contrary to the claims of Biden defenders that these charges are never brought, there are several cases like the one involving Patrick Darnell Daniels.
Joe, there are multiple Second Amendment cases proceeding in the circuit courts right now concerning people charged with possessing guns while being drug users, including drugs as mild as just marijuana. https://t.co/f01u5SkzJZ
— Kostas Moros (@MorosKostas) September 15, 2023
I’d be perfectly happy to see 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(3) repealed by Congress or overturned by the courts, but so far that hasn’t happened (although the Daniels case I referenced in the preceding paragraph could serve as a vehicle for the Supreme Court to take that step). Given that DOJ is actively prosecuting individuals for the same crime that Hunter Biden’s accused of committing, of course Biden should be charged as well.
Based on what I’ve read in the briefs in the Daniels case, it looks like there aren’t any historical analogues to the modern prohibition on gun ownership for drug users. Instead, the DOJ has cited laws and ordinances that ban the possession of a firearm while intoxicated. That’s a very different proposition than what’s currently in place, though even if that standard were adopted Hunter might still find himself in legal trouble. After all, he’s accused of purchasing a gun at a time when he’s admitted to smoking crack “every fifteen minutes”, which is a pretty good indication that he was holding on to a gun while he was high as a kite.
By the time Biden’s case moves to trial the Supreme Court may very well have thrown out § 922(g)(3), and I don’t have a problem at all with his attorneys arguing that the statute is unconstitutional under Bruen in the meantime. It would be dumb not to make that case. They’re trying to keep their client out of prison, and based on the evidence against him, disputing the constitutionality of the statute in question is probably the strongest argument they can make.