Gun Control: What Biden Is Up Against

Thursday night, June 2, President Joe Biden delivered a televised address to the American public speaking about gun violence and asking for support for some new federal gun laws.  His proposals include a ban on military-style assault weapons (which was in effect before, passed when Biden was in the Senate), tougher background check requirements for purchasers of firearms, “red flag” laws that would make it easier to identify potential killers, a repeal of certain types of immunity to lawsuits for gun manufacturers, and more funding for mental health services for the youth.

Biden is not likely to get any restrictions at all on firearm ownership passed by Congress.  Even if all of the Democrats agree on a law, it needs to be remembered that it takes 60 votes to pass most legislation in the Senate, which would mean all 50 Democrats plus 10 Republicans.  This is not likely to happen.  Although a majority of the public nationwide favor some gun ownership restrictions, Republicans in the House or Senate tend to have constituencies that are uncompromisingly against gun control, and they’re the people who will vote for or against candidates according to their positions on guns.

What’s behind this is that members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and others of similar persuasion do not believe that gun control is about preventing mass shootings and other gun violence.  Rather, they regard any kind of gun control at all as part of a larger plan to totally ban private ownership of guns.  In fact, many of them will go so far as to say that the real reason why liberals favor gun control is that they want to disarm the populace in order to control them, to establish a socialistic dictatorship, because an unarmed populace is easier to enslave.

Closely related is the interpretation of the Second Amendment.  There is already Supreme Court precedent for understanding the Second Amendment as applying to the individual citizen’s right to bear arms; the NRA crowd interprets it as guaranteeing the individual’s right, not just to own some kind of firearm, but to own any and every kind of firearm, including assault weapons, with no restrictions whatsoever.

With only 50 Democrats in the Senate, the president’s proposals don’t have a realistic chance of passing, no matter how many Americans think they should.

Biden’s speech:  President Biden Address to Nation on Mass Shootings | C-SPAN.org

Article in Politico, June 2, 2022:  Biden demands action on guns: ‘How much more carnage are we willing to accept?’ – POLITICO

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