President Biden signed an Executive Order on “Reducing Gun Violence and Making Communities Safer” this week and delivered prepared remarks to those gathered in Monterrey Park, California, to witness the event. The Order itself promises the American people more “reports” and “plans” that largely repeat what the laws already on the books allow or require. His public remarks added nothing new to the “reduce gun violence” debate, even as he reiterated a favorite gun-control lie to the American people.
In other words, the much-heralded event was more of the same – plans, reports, and lies.
First, the Big Lie.
A major component of this administration’s narrative to “reduce gun violence” has been to shift blame from failures by prosecutors to enforce gun laws already on the books, to businesses that lawfully sell firearms and to the firearms industry more broadly. To market this blame-shifting, Biden and the previous Democrat administration of which he was a part, routinely claim that the “gun industry” is immune from being sued.
Yesterday, for example, Biden declared that the “gun industry” is “the only outfit you can’t sue these days.” This is a flat out lie, but, as with other falsehoods by government officials, the more it is repeated the more likely it is to be believed by the American public and to serve as the basis for more gun control measures.
Biden traveled to Monterey Park, CA to announce new executive actions on gun control. 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.https://t.co/5iLLtHzE2m— John R Lott Jr. (@JohnRLottJr) March 15, 2023
In fact, the 2005 “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,’’ does not shield firearms businesses from being sued for the negligent manufacture of a firearm, nor does it immunize them from being held legally liable if they sell or transfer a gun knowing or having reason to believe it will be used unlawfully. This is the same standard that applies, and that should apply, to all products that can be abused or that are produced negligently and cause harm.
The plain language of the law routinely is cast aside by gun control advocates, including this president, in favor of demonizing the firearms industry and turning Americans against it.
Far easier is it to blame the thousands of licensed and heavily regulated federal firearms dealers, than to do the heavy lifting of investigating, charging, and consistently prosecuting violators of laws already on the books. Easier also is it to revoke licenses of federal firearms licensees for minor paperwork errors, which the administration has been doing to great fanfare over the past year; and which it promises to continue pursuant to this latest executive order.
The actual text of Biden’s latest “gun violence” executive action follows a laughable and self-serving “list” of “21 Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence” published last July. This month’s contribution is a monotonous rehash of laws and executive branch powers already available, and a call for the Congress to “do more,” gussied up as something new and bold.
In addition to the demonization of lawful “firearms dealers” as somehow responsible for the acts of deranged murderers such as Huu Can Tran, who shot and killed 11 innocent victims at a dance hall in Monterey Park on January 21st, Biden just for good measure blasted “MAGA Republican[s]” and congressional Republicans more generally.
Biden’s order calls on the Attorney General and heads of other departments and agencies variously to prepare “plans,” “proposals,” “principles,” and “reports” on various matters already codified in laws currently available to the administration.
Notwithstanding the executive order’s promises to direct federal agencies to do what they already can do, there is real danger to law-abiding citizens and firearms businesses lurking in Biden’s written and spoken words.
Constantly attacking lawful firearms dealers (the number of which has dropped significantly since 1992) will raise the costs of compliance with federal laws and regulations, will likely push more sales into the non-regulated market, and will needlessly increase tensions between ATF and the industry.
Even more troubling is the clear threat that the administration is considering regulation of firearms industry advertising, a course of action raising not only Second Amendment concerns but First Amendment issues as well.
During his remarks in Monterey Park, Biden referred to the fantasy-comedy film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (which just won the Oscar for best picture). This pointless gesture actually captures the fantasy-comical, yet serious, nature of what this president is doing to the firearms industry and to the Second Amendment.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.