Dems want Biden to use "every possible tool" on gun control

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

President Joe Biden has done more for gun control than any other president since Bill Clinton. There’s also no doubt that he’d like to do more, but a Republican-controlled House and the lack of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate means his options are limited.

He’s done pretty much all he can do with executive orders–and a lot of those haven’t done well in court, it should be noted–but it seems that some people think he hasn’t done enough.

In particular, some Congressional Democrats want the president to do more.

More than 60 Senate and House Democrats are pressing President Joe Biden to leverage “the full power of the executive branch” to combat gun violence in a new letter calling for a number of immediate actions to make the process of purchasing firearms safer and hold firearms dealers accountable.

The letter, signed by a wide coalition of congressional Democrats, has the backing of Senate leadership, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic whip Dick Durbin. The letter outlines steps the Biden administration could take without congressional approval – underscoring that there is no expectation Congress will pass gun-related legislation anytime soon amid deep partisan divides over the issue.

With more than 400 mass shootings already this year, 2023 is set to be one of the deadliest year for mass shootings in American history.

It should be noted that this is the Gun Violence Archive’s number, and as such there actually haven’t been that many actual mass shootings.

Because Gun Violence Archive likes to lie with facts, manipulating the definition of “mass shooting” so as to inflate it and then let the media present it uncritically to push for gun control

Moving on…

“With Republicans in Congress refusing to act, the American people are relying on your Administration to ensure that they can move through their daily lives without fear of firearms on the streets, in public establishments, and in their homes,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter sent to Biden Monday.

That’s a bold request. But let’s take a look at these proposals for a moment.

After all, if they want to push this via executive orders, that’s something we should really talk about.

The proposals put forward would incentivize gun manufacturers to decline to sell military-grade weapons to civilians and only sell to responsible dealers who refuse to proceed with a sale without a completed background check. Some of the most urgent actions proposed by the lawmakers include implementing a code of conduct for manufacturers for procuring taxpayer-funded firearms.

First, you can try to incentivize gun manufacturers not to sell “military-grade weapons” to civilians, but since they sell a hell of a lot more AR-15s to people like me than to law enforcement or the military, that’s going to be very, very hard to do. After all, contrary to what people think, the military isn’t exactly buying AR-15s and never really has.

Granted, they might mean selling “directly” to private citizens, but even then, it has to go to an FFL holder regardless of whose credit card gets run, so if that’s what they mean, they’re displaying their ignorance.

Second, gun manufacturers are legally required to sell to gun stores that conduct background checks. I don’t see how there could be incentives for them to do what they already do.

Finally, any “code of conduct” you want to foist on gun manufacturers will only go so far.

A lot of companies aren’t selling to anyone using federal money to purchase firearms at all, so there’s no reason for them to do any such thing. Then you’ve got the fact that, depending on what this “code of conduct” entails, a lot of them are going to lose money if they follow it. Especially since the Democrats want these companies to stop selling to “civilians.”

It’s not like the states are going to be beholden to this, either. There are a lot of state and local contracts, far more than federal, so it’s not like these companies couldn’t make up the difference.

Yet there’s another thing looming in this request. They want Biden to use “the full power of the executive branch” to deal with so-called gun violence–which is trending down again this year, by the way–in the wake of what’s happening in New Mexico.

Are they trying to slyly suggest that Biden should do something similar at the federal level? I sincerely hope not, but I can’t escape the concern that at least some of them would love to see it.