Say what you will about President Joe Biden–and I have, trust me–he was absolutely upfront over where he stood on guns. He said he was going to push for gun control and that’s a campaign promise he kept.
In the wake of two deadly mass shootings just days apart from one another in California, one might think it would be a time to pause and reflect a bit. After all, these happened in the most gun-controlled state in the nation. Maybe gun control itself should be re-examined.
Biden didn’t, though. Instead, as John Lott pointed out recently in an op-ed, he’s pushing the same failed policies for the entire nation.
President Biden traveled to Monterey Park, California, the site of a mass public shooting that left 11 dead in January, to announce new executive actions on gun control. He touts the proposals as necessary “to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.” But California already has all the gun control laws that Biden put forward, and yet it has a higher per capita rate of mass public shootings than the rest of the country.
Measures already in place include background checks on all transfers of firearms, “red flag” gun confiscation laws, and an assault weapon ban. Even if Biden’s ideal background check law had been in effect and perfectly enforced, it wouldn’t have stopped one mass public shooting this century.
Biden exaggerated the support for his background check proposals. The surveys he cites compress long, complicated proposals into one-sentence summaries. But when people are told that these laws would turn someone into a felon just for temporarily lending a handgun to a woman who is being threatened by a stalker, survey respondents answer that they oppose the regulation.
I won’t copy and paste the whole thing for obvious reasons, but I suggest you go and read the whole thing yourself. However, I do have to say that I’ve noted the issues with the surveys as well. It’s easy to get support for very broad, one-sentence policy suggestions. What tends to happen is that when the rubber meets the road, people start getting twitchy with the details.
It’s why universal background checks supposedly have such broad support yet fail when they’re up for a vote as they have in numerous states. As noted, people like the overall idea, but not the details.
Lott basically rips Biden’s proposals apart in a far more general sense as well.
However, it wasn’t just about universal background checks. Of particular interest is this bit here:
But Biden has another goal. Despite federal law explicitly forbidding a national gun registry, the President has begun putting together a national database on gun ownership. By the beginning of last year, there were almost a billion entries.
Forcing gun transfers to go through licensed dealers will help create a more complete registry. And that’s about all it will do, since gun licensing and registration doesn’t solve any crime. The bottom line is to drive up the price of guns for law-abiding citizens and therefore stop gun sales altogether. In other countries, and even in parts of the United States, registration is consistently used to eventually take away people’s guns, and given Biden’s constant call to ban all semi-automatic weapons, which make up about 85% of all guns sold in the U.S., that is a real concern here.
I’ve argued for a long time that the whole Form 4473 process, coupled with universal background checks, would in fact become a de facto gun registry since every firearm purchase would trackable. I’m happy to see that Lott and I are in agreement here.
In light of Biden’s repeated calls for a semi-automatic ban, despite most handguns being semi-automatic, such a registry is indeed troubling, to say the least.
The truth is that pretty much every policy being pushed has nothing to do with mass shootings and it never has. Mass shootings are just the pretext. They’re something so shocking that anti-gun lawmakers can use them to try and leverage public support into new gun control regulations.
It’s absolutely amazing how rarely those policies reflect what actually happened. Even when they do sort of look like they’re addressing the issue, there are still profound issues, and either we know they don’t work as advertised or we find that evidence later.
What failed in California isn’t something the rest of the nation should embrace.