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Salvo 04.19.2021 5 minutes

Biden Wants Your Guns

Cabela’s store opening – Gainesville, VA

The administration prepares to disarm the population.

Citing a “gun violence public health epidemic,” President Biden has promised both executive and legislative action against firearms rights. Epidemic? Homicides, including gun homicides, trended steadily downward from the early 1990s through 2019. The surge in crime and homicides starting in 2020 coincided with the riots, urban disorder, and defund-the-police activism that roiled America last summer.

But guns—not the actions of leftist politicians, activists, and media operatives—are the real problem, according to Biden. He demanded that Congress, among other things, ban so-called assault weapons, establish a universal background check system for all gun transfers, and pass legislation that would certainly bankrupt the domestic firearms industry. But he also announced forthcoming executive actions, two of which are especially revealing.

The first is Biden’s promise to publish a rule within 60 days to establish that a “stabilizing arm brace” can turn a lawfully owned pistol into a “short-barreled rifle.” Owners of short-barreled rifles must register them with the federal government under threat of heavy fines and imprisonment. Biden claims that an arm brace, like the one on the pistol used by Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa in Boulder last month to murder 10 people, “can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.”

Typically, pistols are concealable. But pistols that benefit from an arm brace are usually based on an AR-15 type of mechanical action, and are big and heavy. The Ruger pistol used by Alissa, for instance, has an action of that type, is about 25 to 28 inches long, and weighs 6.2 pounds; it is classified as a handgun because it is not designed to be fired from the shoulder but from one hand. The very largest handguns suitable for concealed carry are about 8 inches long and weigh a little more than 2 pounds; most concealed carry guns are far smaller. An AR-15 type pistol with an arm brace is concealable on the person in the same way that a table lamp is concealable.

Complaining that a brace can make a firearm “more stable and accurate” is like complaining that a car can be made more fuel-efficient with better handling. When gun control groups argue to ban “military-style assault weapons” like the AR-15 they claim that these guns are designed to “spray fire from the hip,” though in fact they only fire one shot each time the trigger is pulled. But the gist of the accusation is that “spray fire” is inaccurate and endangers bystanders. Thus, if a gun is inaccurate it should be banned, but if it is accurate it should also be banned. All guns must be banned.

A second proposed executive action by Biden is to “stop the proliferation” of “ghost guns” that are made by individuals and which do not have serial numbers. Licensed manufacturers and importers must stamp a serial number on the main part—the “receivers” or frames—of any guns they manufacture or import.

But Americans have always been able to make a gun legally for their own use without marking it with a serial number. Some companies sell “80 percent receivers” that are incomplete and must be modified by drilling, machining, or other operations before they can be used to make a gun. As sold, they can’t function as a receiver and are thus not serialized. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives has specifically approved the sale of many of these 80 percent receivers.

The Biden Administration argues that “when these firearms turn up at crime scenes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number.” But that assumes that tracing guns by serial number leads to solving crimes, which is only very rarely true. The only name associated with a serial number is that of the person who bought the gun from a licensed dealer. But criminals don’t generally get their guns from dealers, because most can’t pass the background check. As studies of prison inmates have shown, they usually get them from friends or relatives, by theft, from “the street,” by purchases made on their behalf by third parties, or by other means that are under the radar. So banning “ghost guns” would have little effect on solving crime.

But if every gun must have a serial number, and there are “universal background checks” as Biden proposes—including for every private transfer of a firearm—then all the pieces are in place for a national firearms registry. The federal government can eventually know who owns every single firearm in the United States—except, of course, those owned by criminals, who won’t comply with universal background checks anyway.

The Biden Administration is clearly preparing the ground for mass disarmament of the law-abiding population, which is more or less what leading Democrats have demanded for years. It is vital, especially now, when crime is rising and police have adopted a reactive posture toward fighting it, that the American people make clear that we will defend our absolute right to possess and bear arms.

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