Biden's Gun Control Plan Burden On Poor Americans

Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden tend to like to present themselves as champions of the poor. They support programs that they argue give economically disadvantaged Americans a leg up, even if it doesn’t actually work out that way. If we take people like Biden at their word about wanting to help the poor, though, it would seem that these are a case of good intentions, bad outcomes.

However, I don’t think Joe Biden gives a damn about anyone who isn’t at least middle class. He just likes to give lip service to caring about the poor because that’s what gets him elected.

Yet his gun control plan proves just how much of a lie that really is.

Former congressman Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, may have pulled the most attention with his brash anti-gun rhetoric during the primaries, but Biden’s less ambitious plan still offers plenty of cause for alarm for firearm owners. Alongside a raft of more common-sense measures (and a confusing aside about “smart gun technology”), its centerpiece is a ban on the manufacture and sale of what are known as “assault weapons,” with a proposal to bring their regulation under the National Firearms Act. This 1934 law currently applies to “machine guns” (i.e., fully automatic firearms), silencers and short-barreled rifles, but Biden’s plan would extend it to apply to what he characterizes as “assault weapons,” meaning semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns with interchangeable magazines that fire intermediate cartridges (the most notorious of which is the AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle) as well as “high capacity magazines” (generally understood under the 1994 bill to be those that can hold more than 10 bullets). Individuals who already own these items would be required to either participate in a federal buyback program or register each of their qualifying firearms and magazines under the NFA — which comes with a $200 price tag (on top of extra fees incurred during the registration process). When it was first enacted in 1934, that $200 fee was intended to be prohibitively expensive; now, inflation aside, it still is for many people.

Given how costly some firearms can be, that registration fee may not sound like too much of an added burden, but for a person who has already bought and paid for multiple qualifying firearms and magazines (or inherited them), that amount will add up quickly. Those who violate the NFA will also face up to 10 years in federal prison, and a potential $10,000 fine. Biden also wants to end the online sale of firearms and ammunition, including gun parts and parts kits that some people use to manufacture their own low-cost DIY firearms (known as ghost guns) further limiting accessibility.

Regardless of one’s opinion on guns and gun control, it is obvious that this proposal will disproportionately affect poor and working-class communities. Those within those communities who already own firearms would be robbed of their ability to protect themselves and their loved ones, while their wealthier counterparts would skate by on their ready piles of cash. Stephen Paddock perpetrated one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history and could afford dozens of high-powered weapons and a plush Las Vegas hotel suite; this plan would have no effect on someone like him. In effect, Biden’s plan sets in motion a “war on guns,” the same way his predecessors declared wars on “poverty,” “crime” and “terror” — wars in which it was inevitably black and brown people who were the real targets.

The writer, Kim Kelly, isn’t wrong here.

Among those most likely to be affected are retired individuals, people who bought guns when they were working, then they retired and are now on a more fixed income.

However, it’s not just them that will feel the brunt of this. As of right now, we have a ton of people who aren’t working due to COVID-19. While the government threw money around like it was going out of style in an attempt to keep businesses open, a lot of people are still going to be out of work. These are people who may have purchased guns when times were good and would then face Biden’s gun control plans when they’re not.

That’s a problem.

Meanwhile, a 2014 study found that 48 percent–the largest percentage recorded–of mass shootings are carried out with handguns, not the so-called “assault rifle.” In non-mass shooting murders, more Americans were killed with hands and feet as well as knives than with rifles of any kind.

In other words, Biden’s jihad against the AR-15 and similar weapons is nothing more than an attempt at misdirection, a way to signal that he’s worried about the right things, regardless of whether those “right things” will actually make an appreciable difference in much of anything.

Except, it will.

You see, Biden’s plan actually does account for the poor. You see, you don’t have to pay the $200 tax stamp. You can just sell them to Uncle Sam in the “buyback.” Then the poor won’t have to worry.

Of course, they’ll just have to worry about something else. After all, without those weapons, they’re more likely to be unable to defend themselves from multiple attackers–and we’ve seen cases where that’s been a factor. Poor neighborhoods are often synonymous with rough neighborhoods, meaning those poor may well need those guns.

Not that Biden cares about them. He just cares about the poor he can buffalo into voting for him.