Now that another failed impeachment is out of the way, the Biden administration and members of Democrat-controlled Congress are seeking ways to crack down on legal gun owners and enact strict gun control measures to “end our epidemic of gun violence.”
President Joe Biden led the charge on Sunday, releasing a statement citing incidents such as the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, three years ago and the “historic increase in homicides across America” as the main reasons to ban certain rifles such as AR-15s (semi-automatic guns commonly mislabeled as “assault weapons”), prohibit the sale and use of “high-capacity magazines,” create a universal background check system, and make gun manufacturers “who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets” susceptible to punishment.
“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” he said in a statement, calling for Congress to “enact commonsense gun law reforms.” “We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”
Three years ago today, a lone gunman took the lives of 14 students and three educators in Parkland, Florida. In seconds, the lives of dozens of families were changed forever. As we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence. pic.twitter.com/k050oDHXIi
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 14, 2021
While one gun-control activist is flirting with creating a pillow company to rival Fox News advertiser MyPillow, multiple anti-gun groups hailed Biden’s demands as necessary, praising the president for promoting “these vital measures.” Pro-gun organizations, on the other hand, warned against the dangers of these sweeping suggestions.
“President Joe Biden’s call for his gun control agenda is not working to address the shared American goal of reducing criminal misuse of firearms,” National Shooting Sports Foundation public affairs Director Mark Oliva said in a statement. “His demand that Congress ban the modern sporting rifle (MSR), which he knowingly mislabels an ‘assault rifle’ and ‘weapon of war,’ denies the reality that more murders are committed with knives, fists, and clubs than all rifles combined. Over 20 million MSRs are in circulation today, used daily for lawful purposes.”
Oliva also noted that Biden’s call to hold gun manufacturers accountable for crimes committed with guns they produced widely contradicts the bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
“Rolling it back would be akin to allowing activist lawyers to sue Ford for the wrongful deaths caused by drunk drivers,” he said. “The criminal responsible for the horrors thrust on Parkland, and the nation, must be held accountable for his crimes. Anything less is a whitewash of the failures of local, state, and federal authorities to act on any of the 45 instances of warnings, tips, and police responses prior to his final terrible crimes.”
The National Rifle Association also spoke out against Biden’s demands, noting that his proposals would “ban commonly owned firearms (AR-15s) and 10+ round mags, criminalize private firearm transfers, and run firearm manufacturers & dealers out of business.”
Despite polling that indicates support for stricter U.S. gun laws is at its lowest level since 2016, Biden’s call to action elicited promises from congressional members such as Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut to introduce background check legislation “in the upcoming weeks.”
“President Biden and his administration are clearly committed to signing commonsense gun violence prevention legislation into law and taking executive action to save lives and make our communities safer. Two years ago, we got pretty darn close to striking a bipartisan deal to expand background checks that I believe would have passed on the floor if [then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell put it up for a vote,” Murphy said.
Other members such as Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island are gearing up to reintroduce legislation banning “assault weapons” such as semi-automatic rifles and pistols that previously failed to receive votes in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the same congresswoman who incorrectly claimed AR-15 rifles require .50 caliber ammunition and are “as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving,” already introduced one piece of legislation targeting the gun industry and legal firearm users with the hopes of enacting sweeping gun control measures. While the “Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act” seeks to outlaw ammunition of .50 caliber or greater and require gun owners to pay for insurance, take a government training course, federally register their firearms, and obtain several licenses to merely display an antique firearm in their home, the bill currently has no sponsors and does not appear to have gained traction with any of the congresswoman’s Democratic colleagues.