President Joe Biden ran for office on a gun control platform. While it didn’t come up much during the general election, it sure did during the primary, and he took a firm stance. He wasn’t the most gun control candidate on the ballot, but he was close.
In the year-plus he’s been in office, though, he hasn’t gotten much accomplished, and it seems that some are less than thrilled.
Chris Murphy has tried to be patient with the White House.
But the Democratic senator from Connecticut, who has dedicated much of his career since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to fighting for passage of gun control laws, has had enough.
“It’s time for more urgency from the administration as the gun violence epidemic gets worse by the day,” Murphy said in an interview this week. “A lot of us know that the president’s heart is in the right place and we’ve been really patient with his team.”
Murphy is leading a brigade of lawmakers and advocates pressing Biden to take unilateral action on guns. In a March 25 letter, previously unreported, Murphy and 127 other Democratic lawmakers demanded that Biden move expeditiously on three fronts:
— Issue new executive orders on federal gun licensing requirements and create a centralized task force to address gun violence.
— And name a new nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
— Finalize a regulation to crack down on so-called ghost guns before Democrats potentially lose control of Congress.
It’s been a year to the day since Biden gave his first White House address on gun violence prevention, announcing what is viewed as his most significant executive action to date on guns from the Rose Garden. But a year later, the ATF regulation he unveiled, which would impose background checks and new requirements for online sales of “ghost guns” — untraceable firearms that lack serial numbers and are constructed from online kits — hasn’t been finalized.
Of course, Biden will be pushing ghost gun rules later today, and he’ll give nominating a new head of the ATF another go, so on those, Murphy can just chill.
However, Murphy’s out of his mind if he thinks all three of these items will have any meaningful impact on violent crime.
With “ghost guns,” let’s remember that criminals weren’t exactly having difficulty getting guns before these were really a thing. In fact, based on violent crime rates in the 1990s – well before making your own gun was a huge pastime – I’d say this regulation will do precisely two things with regard to the violent crime rate. “Jack” and “squat.”
Yet the big thing is how exasperated Democrats are with Biden in the first place. He rode into office in part on the promise of gun control. He claimed he was the only candidate to have beaten the NRA and that he could do it again. A year into his administration, he hasn’t delivered on that promise.
Mostly because it was a BS promise, to begin with. Yes, he was part of the 1994 assault weapon ban – a big part – but the NRA was willing to give a little in order to minimize the impact. It’s why there was a sunset provision included, for example. Without that, especially in this day and age, he was unlikely to get any of that done.
And thank God, because the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 didn’t do anything. It didn’t even effectively ban so-called assault weapons for crying out loud. It just meant not including too many evil features.
Later today, Biden is expected to deliver on at least two of these points that Murphy is so upset about, but the truth is that the exasperation with Biden is only beginning, particularly if the nominee – former federal prosecutor Steve Dettlebach – gets nuked as David Chipman did.