The Corner

U.S.

Of Course Joe Biden Wants to Take Your Guns Away

Former vice president Joe Biden argues with a worker as he defends his positions on gun control during a campaign stop at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Mack Assembly plant in Detroit, Mich., March 10, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Charles touches on Joe Biden’s heated exchange with a Michigan autoworker whom he accused of being “full of s***” and what it might mean for Democrats.

I think it’s oddly appropriate that within his string of non-sequiturs, Biden, a lawyer, bolsters the argument for his imaginary support of Second Amendment by citing one of the most egregious violations of the First Amendment in our history.

The shouting-fire-in-a-theater analogy — issued by Oliver Wendell Holmes in Schenck v. United States and subsequently repeated by untold numbers of censorship apologists afterwards — allowed the Woodrow Wilson administration to throw a bunch of peaceful socialists into prison for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. The alleged “harm” of these anti-war activists, clearly exercising political expression, was undermining recruitment efforts for World War I.

Wilson was an enthusiast of the Bill of Rights very much in the same way Biden is — both are fine with Americans exercising their rights, as long they adhere to arbitrary limitations concocted by politicians. But the Bill of Rights exists to limit the power of people like Biden and Wilson, not the liberty of an autoworker in Michigan.

Biden, after all, has repeatedly demonstrated that he has zero comprehension of either the purpose or importance of the Second Amendment. Whether your sons are “hunters” or not is completely irrelevant in this conversation. And just as “yelling fire” is protected by the Constitution, so is owning an “AR-14.”

(Let’s also take a moment to note that Biden is such a champion of the Second Amendment that not only can’t he get rudimentary gun facts right, almost everything he says on the matter is fatuous. A few week ago he was telling a cheering crowd that 150 million Americans had been murdered on the streets of the United States by firearms since 2007. This was about week after his silly rant noting that revolutionary AK-47-wielding Americans would be slaughtered by F-15s.)

The man in the video — whose name I wish I knew — is right. Biden supports every single serious national effort to restrict gun rights, all of them part of a concerted effort to incrementally terminate civilian gun ownership in the United States. It’s all right there on his campaign issues page. When CNN asked Biden what he had to say to gun owners who claimed that “a Biden Administration means they’re going to come for my guns,” he answered, “Bingo, you’re right if you have an assault weapon.”

The AR-15 the semi-automatic rifle Biden wants to confiscate — has never been illegal. The rifle was owned by civilians even before the military iteration, M-16, was ever adopted. Today it is the most popular rifle in America, rarely used in any criminal behavior and clearly meeting every criterion of legality laid out in Heller. In some sense it’s even misleading to argue the gun is “legal,” since your rights require no special designation from the state.

I have no idea how this incident will affect Biden’s presidential run. The media has coalesced around the notion that Democrats will be ecstatic about the candidate’s belligerence. He fights! Maybe. But his statement was an incoherent mess.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

Most Popular

Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

The Fragility of the Woke

A TikTok video that recently went viral on social media showed a recent Harvard graduate threatening to stab anyone who said “all lives matter.” In her melodrama, she tried to sound intimidating with her histrionics. She won a huge audience, as she intended. But her video also came to the attention of the ... Read More
Culture

The Fragility of the Woke

A TikTok video that recently went viral on social media showed a recent Harvard graduate threatening to stab anyone who said “all lives matter.” In her melodrama, she tried to sound intimidating with her histrionics. She won a huge audience, as she intended. But her video also came to the attention of the ... Read More
Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More
Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More