President Joe Biden (D.) doubled down on his calls upon Congress to pass major gun-control legislation Tuesday night.
During his first State of the Union address, the President explicitly directed Congress to pass several of his preferred gun control policies. He called for a ban on “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines as well as the repeal of civil liability protections for gun makers.
“And I will keep doing everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns you can buy online and make at home—they have no serial numbers and can’t be traced,” President Biden said. “I ask Congress to pass proven measures to reduce gun violence. Pass universal background checks. Why should anyone on a terrorist list be able to purchase a weapon?”
The President’s remarks come as gun control advocates have become increasingly vocal in their discontent as of late. Frustrated by what they see as Biden’s “failure to deliver” on meaningful gun control, prominent advocacy groups have launched a concerted effort to pressure Mr. Biden to eschew Congress in order to take unilateral actions on gun policy. The President’s remarks are notable in that they largely reiterated statements he has made routinely on the subject, and made no reference toward taking any new unilateral executive actions on guns in the future.
A primary example of this came when the President called for a new assault weapon ban. He questioned their necessity by posing his preferred hypothetical whereby he imagined using them to hunt deer wearing bulletproof vests.
“And folks, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold up to 100 rounds,” he said. “You think the deer are wearing kevlar vests?”
The President also requested a repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act while falsely claiming that gun manufacturers are the only industry in America that cannot be sued.
“Repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can’t be sued,” Mr. Biden said. “Imagine had we done that with the tobacco manufacturers?”
He declared that each of these proposals would be entirely Constitutional if taken up by Congress.
“These laws don’t infringe on the Second Amendment,” he said. “They save lives.”
His remarks, and the specific policies he identified for Congress to enact, are nearly identical to statements he made just two weeks ago on the four-year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting.
“Congress must do much more — beginning with requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers,” he said at the time.
His remarks failed to note the unilateral actions he did take during his first year in office.
He spearheaded the proposal to expand the ATF’s power significantly in redefining what constitutes a firearm as part of his attempt to go after “ghost gun” kit makers. He is also trying to re-classify guns equipped with popular pistol braces as items that need to be destroyed, turned in, or registered with the ATF under the National Firearms Act.
Those actions alone could impact millions of gun owners, potentially subjecting them to federal felony offenses if they are implemented without significant changes. Those rules are currently being reviewed and are expected to be finalized this summer–right before the midterm elections.