Jurors Show Range of Second Amendment Opinion in Hunter Biden Trial

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Jury selection has now wrapped up in Hunter Biden's federal trial on gun charges, with both prosecution and defense taking close note of how the potential jurors feel about the right to keep and bear arms and drug addiction. At least two gun owners will be on the jury, along with several jurors who detailed their own experiences with family members who've battled drug and alcohol addiction. Surprisingly, at least one ardent gun control supporter was culled from the pool after telling the judge she's in favor of banning guns altogether. 

Be sure to follow Townhall's continuing coverage of the trial, with reporter Mia Cathell on the ground in Wilmington. As Cathell reports, the first potential juror was struck down with cause for his belief that gun ownership is a "God-given right", adding that he didn't know if he could be impartial during the trial. Shortly thereafter, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika allowed a woman who hinted at her support for gun control to remain in the pool, though several other potential jurors have been axed with cause; apparently because of their negative view of the Second Amendment. 

Potential juror #24 was excused after saying she had heard a lot about the case from “everything that’s been on the news.” She said she watches CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the evening news and other sources of news and added that she has strong feelings about who should have guns. She said she does not believe that everyone should be allowed to own assault-style rifles, for example. 

Potential juror #40 was excused for cause. She said she had strong feelings about guns and that she would like to make it harder for people to buy guns that “kill children in schools.” 

“I’d ban them altogether, to be honest,” she said. 

She also donated to various Democratic candidates across the country in the 2022 midterms and joined a “resistance” group after Trump’s 2016 election.

Asked if she thinks Hunter Biden is being prosecuted because his father is the president, she said, "I think it was a very strong factor."

“Other people might’ve done similar things and not had it brought to the same level of scrutiny," she added. 

Potential juror #51 was excused for a lack of impartiality, saying he had heard of the witnesses on social media and follows President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Instagram.

He said be believed “not everybody should have that right to own a gun,” and said he wasn't sure he could be fair and impartial.

According to NBC News, at least four gun owners (two of them with concealed carry licenses) were in the pool of potential jurors, with two of them surviving voir dire on Monday afternoon. One of them is Juror #26. 

Potential juror #26 was placed into the jury pool. He's a middle-aged Black man who has a concealed carry permit in Delaware and Florida. He said he owns several firearms and has owned more than six over his lifetime.

"I believe our Second Amendment is very important," he said.

The second gun-owning juror is, according to NBC News, a "middle-aged, nonwhite woman" who owns a firearm purchased a gun store in Pennsylvania. 

Judge Noreika appears to be allowing for a wide range of opinions regarding the right to keep and bear arms among the potential jurors. One who expressed skepticism at the current federal statute regarding drug use and gun ownership was also included in the twelve seated jurors. 

Potential juror #19 was qualified. She said she doesn’t think that people who smoke marijuana shouldn’t be allowed to own guns.

“Weed to me isn’t as bad as other drugs,” she said, giving heroin as an example.

There's an art to jury selection, but at some point the attorneys on both sides are rolling the dice when it comes to jurors like this. You could make a case that having her seated on the jury would be good news for either side. The fact that she has problems with the status quo could be seen as a good sign for Biden's attorneys, but prosecutors may also like the fact that she differentiated between marijuana and harder drugs. Hunter Biden's not accused of possessing a gun while he was smoking blunts. He's charged with lying about his cocaine addiction on the Form 4473 that was submitted when he purchased a revolver at a Delaware gun store. 

Democrats are likely to complain about Judge Noreika's supposed favoritism towards the prosecution because she was appointed to the bench by Donald Trump, but so far I haven't seen any sign that Noreika is helping the prosecution during jury selection. The pool of potential jurors included folks on both sides of the gun control debate, as well as multiple individuals who have first-hand experience dealing with a loved one and their addiction. Some potential jurors were excluded because of their acquaintance with Hunter Biden, medical issues, or admitted biases, but so long as a potential juror says they can judge the case on the merits Noreika seems inclined to let them serve. 

Opening arguments will take place tomorrow morning, and besides the two jurors who say they're gun owners there are several others who have close family members who own firearms. One bad sign for Biden? The jury also includes one individual who said he doesn't think drug addicts should be allowed to own firearms. Like several other jurors, he has a family member (in his case, a brother) who has battled drug addiction for years. I'm surprised that Lowell didn't use one of his challenges so Juror #39 could be excluded, but either Lowell thought there were even worse jurors to contend with or some of the juror's other comments made Lowell feel better about his ability to be impartial. 

We'll have more coverage throughout the week here at Bearing Arms, but again, be sure to follow Townhall's Mia Cathell as she reports from Wilmington. Your VIP membership helps us cover the news where it happens, and thanks again for all your support.