President Joe Biden has long been a fan of gun control. He’s quite proud of his work on the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban that accomplished absolutely nothing, for example. He doesn’t like the American people having certain firearms that he finds too scary for civilian hands, and he’s more than willing to do everything he can to strip those guns from those hands.
Yet there’s a lot of things he can also do to make life difficult for gun owners well shy of a new assault weapon ban, and it seems Biden is considering all of them. As we recently reported, some of Biden’s top domestic advisors, including Susan Rice, recently met with gun control activists, and they not only talked about Biden’s gun ban, but about the possible executive actions he might take as well.
Second Amendment advocates say Biden doesn’t have the authority to ban assault weapons or magazine capacity by executive order but could use regulatory authority to restrict guns without Congress’ input.
“I think that President Biden will try to get away with as much as he can with executive orders,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News, adding that his organization is “very prepared to go to court” if Biden oversteps.
“What we’re expecting him to do is anything with foreign commerce — if the firearm is being imported in or magazine or ammo is being imported in — he could by executive order try to do something in that nature,” Gottlieb continued.
Gottlieb said Biden could use the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to tighten regulations he says are “beyond the scope of what Congress has given him the authority to do,” in which case he says the foundation is prepared to sue. But the White House has yet to nominate a leader for the ATF.
He also said the administration could slow walk the background check process, which is overloaded as gun sales are on the rise. The growth has been attributed to anticipation that Biden will act on gun control and fear and uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest, amplified by concerns of a cutdown on police presence.
Gun control advocates say the White House could take executive action to expand the background check system by redefining who is in the business of selling guns. They say they want to see the administration reclassify what is considered a gun in an effort to shut down the “ghost gun” market. Ghost guns are not subject to serial numbers or background checks because they are assembled from kits that include one unfinished piece, typically the receiver.
The problem is that there will never be a point that homebuilt firearms aren’t a thing. With 3D printers now available for the private market, people can build any number of firearms without ever having to get a background check if they want to. Further, even if Congress did intervene and ban the practice of building your own firearm, it’s going to be impossible to actually stop.
You can’t stop the signal.
However, it’s very likely that Biden will use executive action to stymie gun owners in any way he can imagine. He doesn’t like people buying guns from private parties without asking the government for permission, so don’t be surprised if he changes who is considered a dealer and who isn’t.
Also, don’t think we know all the ways he can find to screw us over. He’s got smart people working at the White House, some of which may come up with new and interesting infringements on our Second Amendment rights, so get ready for whatever comes our way.