It's not just the Department of Justice coming after guns

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The animosity between gun owners and the ATF goes back for decades. After all, the ATF enforces gun laws that, per the whole “shall not be infringed” thing are universally unconstitutional, at least as many gun owners see it. We like our guns and we don’t like the idea of a federal agency deciding unilaterally to declare us all felons.

Which, based on the pistol brace ruling, it’s exactly unfounded.

Then we had the FBI forcing people to sign away their Second Amendment rights. That’s not exactly something most of us will just shrug off. Then there were other law-enforcement agencies looking to do the same thing.

Yet the Biden administration isn’t content to just use the Department of Justice to infringe on our rights. Oh no, he’ll use the totality of the United States government.

Ambitious gun control advocates have long sought a “whole of government approach” to stamping out the right to keep and bear arms. This involves weaponizing not just the ATF and FBI against gun owners and the industries that support them but a roster of less obvious agencies as well. Recently, firearm prohibitionists have refocused their attention on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the latest conscript in their war on firearm-related freedoms. How they plan to do so provides an enlightening case study on the politicization of government for partisan and ideological ends.

As is typical of the agencies whose function it is to enforce the statutes passed by the political branches of government, the FTC describes its mission in vague and benign terms. Its website claims its dedicated to “[p]rotecting the public from deceptive or unfair business practices and from unfair methods of competition through law enforcement, advocacy, research, and education.” This includes, among other things, policing what the agency considers “unfair or deceptive advertising in any medium.”

Stated simply, this means “advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers.” And most would likely agree that a company which intentionally misleads the public about its products should be answerable for any harms that result. But to a gun control activist, the FTC’s authority to control what sort of advertising reaches the public suggests it could be a powerful tool in censorship and propaganda.

And, frankly, that’s a terrifying thought.

The marketing of guns does contain certain kinds of imagery and rhetoric that I can understand they find concerning. They aren’t us and don’t understand that yes, we want guns that will to bad things to bad people. That’s kind of why we’re shopping for a firearm and the gun companies know this.

But their argument is that this marketing somehow inspires mass shooters.

In fact, several states have passed laws allowing lawsuits against firearm manufacturers and their marketing of guns. What’s troubling is that there’s no requirement to even show that the killers ever saw any such marketing in the first place.

So you can claim they were inspired by marketing they never saw?

Sure. That makes perfect sense.

Then you have the Biden administration and the FTC, which wants to nerf that same marketing, probably in such a way that it’ll make it more difficult for consumers to understand which products are most effective for self-defense usage.

This isn’t a bug, either. I suspect it’s a feature, something the Biden administration is hoping for. After all, they don’t really value self-defense all that much. Unless, of course, you use a shotgun to blast a hole through your door, which Biden has previously endorsed as a home defense tactic.

I also expect to see the IRS come into the fight, assuming they’re not already scouring gun companies’ filings for anything that looks like a discrepancy, as well as any other agency they can think of.

You don’t have to ban guns if there are no companies left to sell them in the first place, and I honestly think that’s the goal here.

It’s up to us to prevent it.