NBC News Mischaracterizes Gun Laws To Undermine...Biden?

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to announce his candidacy for president later this week. Due to his status as Obama’s vice president, he almost has to be considered something of a frontrunner. This despite Biden’s historically weak performance in national campaigns.

Then again, the same could be said of Hillary Clinton, and some think she’d win the nomination a second time, so who knows.

With a crowded 2020 field for the Democrats, there are more names than anyone can shake a stick at. They range from Kamala “Executive Order” Harris and Eric “Nuke ’em All” Swalwell to Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam.

Well, it seems the media is ready to start helping to winnow down the candidates. To do that, it decided to go after Biden for working on pro-gun legislation, also blatantly mischaracterizing it.

As Biden prepares to launch his 2020 presidential run on Thursday, guns are an area of his decades-long record in public life in which the former vice president has been consistently in line with the values of today’s Democratic Party.

But still, potential political dangers lurk, even on his signature issue — and that’s a vote in favor of a 1986 bill that the NRA has called “the law that saved gun rights” in America.

The Firearm Owners Protection Act, which passed Congress overwhelmingly, overturned six Supreme Court rulings and numerous regulations, leaving a lasting legacy as both one of the most consequential gun laws of the past century and as a key political boost for the burgeoning gun rights movement.

The measure allowed dealers to sell rifles, shotguns and ammunition through the mail, and, eventually, the Internet. It limited federal inspections of firearms dealers while allowing them to sell guns at gun shows, which helped them grow in size and popularity. And it made it easier for private collectors to sell guns without obtaining a federal dealers’ license, which would play a role in what later became known as the “gun show loophole.” (It also banned machine guns, thanks to an amendment slipped in by House Democrats at the last minute.)

Now, the post does go on to say the world was different then and guns weren’t such a divisive issue, but that doesn’t excuse the blatantly misreporting we see here in that last paragraph.

First, there’s no mention of how dealers can sell through the mail and Internet, that they still have to ship it to someone with a federal firearms license and the buyer is still required to undergo a background check. It doesn’t mention that when dealers sell at gun shows, they’re still required to carry out a background check.

And don’t even get me started on the bizarre claim that allowing someone to liquidate their collection without applying for an expensive and difficult license somehow led to a loophole that doesn’t exist.

Frankly, I’m not thrilled to be defending Biden here, but the 1986 bill wasn’t at all what they’re representing here. They’re pretending that the law created a world where guns aren’t regulated when nothing of the sort is true. It still requires background checks and everything of the sort. It loosened a few regulations that were idiotic considering everything else that was in place.

I don’t like Joe Biden and don’t want the man in the Oval Office without a visitor’s pass, but I really don’t like biased reporting that misrepresents gun laws and pretends they’re somehow laxer than they are.

Apr 09, 2021 5:00 PM ET