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Biden Targets Guns


A new ATF nominee and added regulations won’t do a thing to reduce crime

Not yet three months into his only presidential term, last April Joe Biden announced six incremental executive orders to infringe upon the Second Amendment. For the second year in a row, just ahead of our Patriots’ Day commemoration of the battle of Lexington and Concord and the “shot heard ‘round the world,” he’s at it again with two announcements: a new ATF nominee and more gun regulations.

Biden pulled his nomination of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives last September, complaining that “Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to use gun crime as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it.” The truth is Chipman is what Thomas Gallatin called an anti-gun fox who has no business guarding the hen house of Americans’ Second Amendment rights, and he couldn’t garner the necessary Senate support for confirmation.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Biden announced Monday that he’s nominating Steve Dettelbach, former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, to head the ATF — or the “AFT,” as Biden persistently referred to it yesterday. Dettelbach, endorsed by Michael Bloomberg’s gun-grabbing group Everytown for Gun Safety, certainly sounded Biden’s preferred note about “gun violence.”

“As we emerge from this pandemic, we’ve got to recognize that many Americans still face fear and isolation, not because of a virus but because of an epidemic of firearms violence,” Dettelbach declared. “It’s not a new problem, and it has many causes. That’s why it’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck partnership approach to address that issue and the ATF will be there.”

Blaming guns for violence means he’s exactly the wrong guy for the job. Fortunately, he faces the same long odds that all but one ATF nominee (in 2013) has faced since 2006, when the position became one requiring Senate confirmation.

That brings us to the scary specter of “ghost guns.” That term is, of course, a totally fabricated name designed to trigger fear, not to accurately describe anything. Try to contain your surprise that a party constantly hand-wringing about “assault weapons” would deliberately misname something for political gain.

So-called “ghost guns” are simply guns composed of parts, often 3D printed, that can be legally made or purchased and assembled by the maker or buyer. Buying a lower receiver requires a background check, and any functional gun requires a lower receiver.

Biden plans to regulate these guns by expanding the definition of a “gun” to include more of the unfinished parts, which he says must now include serial numbers and background checks for buyers. He called for “outright banning the sale and possession of un-serialized guns,” right after he reiterated his tired demand that Congress once again “ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” and right before he demanded that gun manufacturers be stripped of any liability protection.

“These guns are weapons of choice for many criminals,” Biden tells us, leaving unexplained why so many criminals are on the loose making and buying gun parts. Hint: They’re primarily gang bangers in Democrat urban centers, and they’re often released from prison by lax Democrat prosecutors. And just like the Democrats’ phony “assault weapons” ban back in 1994, banning so-called “ghost guns” won’t do anything to reduce crime among these Democrat constituents because guns have little to do with the source of the crime.

It’s not as if murder is legal, and it’s not as if a career criminal is going to be thwarted when he suddenly realizes he forgot to stamp his 3D gun barrel with a serial number.

There are basically two ways to stop crime. First is enforcement of laws already on the books, not creating new laws about specific parts of things. Second is getting out of the way of an armed citizenry — law-abiding folks ready to defend themselves and others against criminal violence.

Biden talks a good game now about police. “The answer is not to defund the police,” he said Monday. “It’s to fund the police and give them the tools and training to support.” But he and his party did a lot of damage, primarily in 2020 after George Floyd’s death, that has crime soaring. Trotting out old gun control ideas isn’t going to do anything but serve as another unconstitutional power grab at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

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