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.