By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
As we all know, President Joe Biden gave a speech and announced some executive orders which are purported to combat gun violence.
And there was much applause, and even more squinting as he strained to look at the teleprompter. Biden starts speaking about 3:30 in.
And a lot of it comes from the back end of a bull.
Now, it’s one thing to propose regulations that have something to do with an actual problem, but it’s another to regulate something that isn’t a problem just for the sake of regulating something.
So let’s go over what he got wrong.
For starters, he offers the justification that constitutional amendments don’t confer unlimited rights, and also that certain people were prohibited from owning guns from the very enactment of the US constitution.
The former is true (we have a Supreme Court, and they do set boundaries) but the latter is not necessarily a justification that one would want to rest on.
Early restrictions on firearms ownership had nothing to do with what kind of guns one could own (high-capacity muskets?!) nor how they were purchased or what ammunition was used, but who could own one. And the laws about who could own one mostly had to do with keeping guns away from black people.
One hates to go there, but the racist origins of many gun control laws shouldn’t be news to anyone. Even FBI data shows black people are arrested far more often for gun offenses than white people.
Resting on a “tradition” of firearm regulation isn’t, at least on that basis, the best position to take, but so much for that.
We then come to “ghost guns.”
It’s true that ghost guns are being used in crimes. We could discuss the idea that most people that are buying 80 percent lowers or using 3D printers or desktop CNC mills are lawful gun owners, even if there’s scant data about them.
However, here’s the part that Biden isn’t acknowledging, and the BATFE probably doesn’t want to talk about:
The cat’s already out of the bag.
Once something is democratized, there’s very little that can be done to prevent its use.
Examples from history abound; William Tyndale, the first person to translate the Bible into English, was strangled to death and his body burnt at the stake for daring to defy Catholic doctrine in 1536. Three years later, the Church of England started using an English-language bible in an official capacity. By 1611, you get the KJV.
When it comes to use of a 3D printer or a desktop CNC mill, all you can hope to do is catch someone after-the-fact. Fine, make someone get a background check. But the CAD files – or specifications needed to make them – are already out there.
Another minor talking point is online sales and background checks.
Folks, the only way a person raises an eyebrow about guns bought online is when they have never bought a gun, basically ever. As we all know, the seller – the site you buy the gun from – doesn’t conduct a background check. That much is true.
But the thing is that firearms have to ship to a Federal Firearms License holder to be transferred to the buyer and they do conduct a background check!
Now, outside of some very specific and arcane circumstances, it doesn’t make any difference if the background check is done by the gun store you buy the gun from or the FFL/gun store you pick the gun up from.
Again, it’s one thing to enact regulations that actually have something to do with an actual problem. It’s another when the person or persons doing the regulating don’t know how things actually work.
Nothing is more darkly comical than when the federal government doesn’t even know how its own laws work.
President Biden claims that a stabilizing brace makes an AR pistol more accurate and therefore more lethal, “effectively turning it into a short barreled rifle.”
A brace only enables faster follow-up shots; it does not increase lethality or accuracy. Does it make it easier to stabilize the gun? Yes.
Does a brace on a Century Draco or PSA pistol mean that William Raymond Steven Raymond William Robert Hogwallop will be more accurate when he mag-dumps Wolf steel case into the berm?
Or when Chesterton Brantley Skippingham III puts one magazine through his SP5 at 5 yards at the gun club, firing only 1 round per second because the place is run by total Fudds?
Not in the least.
A person who trains with their braced pistol is going to be accurate and effective. A person who trains with their SBR will be accurate and effective. Does a brace make that slightly easier? Yes, but it doesn’t turn a 10 MOA AR pistol into a 2 MOA pistol.
Then we have “red flag laws,” or more accurately, Extreme Risk Protection Orders. ERPOs are a good idea in principle. Potentially, there could be a reduction in suicides and a reduction in certain types of murders or violent acts such as intimate partner violence.
However, what’s very concerning about them is the potential abuse of due process and of the legal system in general.
Remember, a woman in New Mexico asked for a restraining order against late night talk show host David Letterman because he was sending her secret messages over the airwaves, which caused her bankruptcy and other ill effects – AND GOT IT.
Sure, it was quashed, but she still got the restraining order to begin with.
In other words, there needs to be restraint on ERPOs so that a confiscation order isn’t granted for frivolous or unsubstantiated reasons.
Then we have the ominous “gun show loophole.” The “gun show loophole” is often billed as a way of “buying a gun without a background check,” but it isn’t really that simple.
Again, anyone who actually knows anything understands that it only applies to private sales that happen to take place at gun shows which is just as true outside a gun show as it is in one.
At last, we come now to the potential of a renewed Assault Weapons Ban.
The evidence in favor of renewing or passing a new version of the Clinton AWB is very, very mixed.
There is some evidence that suggests mass shootings involve slightly fewer people killed when a semi-automatic rifle isn’t involved, but also bear in mind that some of the deadliest mass shootings didn’t involve a rifle at all. The weapon itself is almost immaterial.
Nevermind that it’s disturbing for any government to tell anyone what they do or don’t “need.”
Nevermind that the AR-15 design is the right arm of our armed forces and it makes sense for a soldier to buy a rifle of their own to gain more proficiency. Nevermind that an AR-15 is probably the best long gun for home defense in the balance of things.
Or that “the militia” is every able-bodied person between 18 and infirmity and it makes sense for “the militia” to have access to arms that would actually be useful in some sort of national security catastrophe.
Granted, the odds of a “Red Dawn” -type scenario would or could ever take place are beyond laughable, but it’s written into the Constitution for a reason.
The other problem?
Once again, the cat is out of the bag. There are hundreds of millions of AR-15s, of AK-47/AKM/AK-74-style rifles out there. And millions more magazines to go with them.
If the Clinton assault weapon ban was re-enacted literally right this second, there are enough of them to supply the secondary market for years to come.
And more than enough lowers, uppers, barrels and so on to build many, many more.
In other words, yes, the dreaded black rifles have been used to some of the most terrible things imaginable. Things that defy description. Acts of the most senseless evil.
But there is little evidence that making it impossible for anyone to have one will make evil people stop doing those evil things.
Another talking point that President Biden touched on was gun violence in the inner cities.
Now he’s absolutely right that the inner cities are where most gun violence takes place. Are reclassifying braced pistols as SBRs going to do anything? Are red flag laws going to stop a lot of that violence? Requiring a background check for 80 percent frames or lowers?
Probably not. Most of the gun violence in the inner cities is not committed with braced pistols, Polymer 80 guns or ARs with home-milled lowers, or AKs made from Romanian build kits.
It tends to be handguns, possessed by someone who is prohibited from possessing firearms to begin with, and got them on the black market if not stole them. By the time a gun gets to the streets in Chicago, it’s a third-, fourth-, or fifth-hand sale.
Now, in fairness he did mention that the ATF was going to address trafficking. And that is a real problem.
At some point, if we’re going to be serious as a society in reducing gun violence, we have to start being more serious about the people who commit it, and the circumstances that make it possible.
Violent crime is a disease of poverty. That isn’t new. Even if every single gun was taken out of circulation, there would still be violent crime in the inner cities.
Outside of some vague promise of jobs from “investment in infrastructure,” the Biden administration is much more concerned with the tool used in violent crime than they are about why it takes place to begin with.
So to sum up.
Yes, it’s true. The United States has more gun crime and more deaths by gunshot than any other Western/G20/pick your favorite term for “the countries with more money.” But Biden’s executive orders aimed at curbing it have basically nothing to do with it at all.
But what do they have to do with?
Making people who don’t know anything about anything happy.
Hooray. Another administration that’s basically useless for anything except trying to score brownie points. Lucky us!
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.