"You're full of s***... I support the Second Amendment." So exclaimed Joe Biden to a Michigan worker in early March, drawing lots of headlines in the process. But while the coronavirus pandemic quickly drowned out the issue, gun owners don't appear to have forgotten or been assuaged in their concerns. As Biden has risen in the polls, so have gun sales — to a record 1.79 million in this past month alone.
The truth is that gun owners have good reason to be concerned. Despite Biden's declarations, his campaign's so-called “Plan to End Gun Violence” contains several provisions that should give gun owners serious pause about casting their vote for the Democrat.
Perhaps the most troubling of the goals in the Biden plan is the proposed expansion to the definitions in the 1934 National Firearms Act. This proposal would put working-class Americans and their families at a serious disadvantage, essentially taxing the exercise of their Second Amendment rights.
The NFA currently applies to fully automatic weapons, or what most would consider to be machine guns, which are defined as weapons which can fire multiple rounds “by a single function of the trigger.” Under his plan, Biden would expand the NFA to include semi-automatic rifles and “high capacity” handguns, which would make the possession of these common and popular firearms a felony. This radical proposal, if passed into law, would create millions of felons out of law-abiding Americans overnight.
It is important to note here that in D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court specifically protected such firearms “in common use at the time” for “lawful purposes like self-defense.” These very same “common use” weapons for “self-defense” would carry a hefty tax under Biden’s plan. In order to avoid the strict penalties associated with violating the NFA, owners of these guns would be faced with a burdensome choice: they could register their weapons as NFA weapons and pay the $200 “fee,” or they could submit to a government buyback program proposed by Biden’s campaign.
On the face of it, $200 may not sound like an undue burden, especially when the alternative is serious jail time. However, the plan also states that “high-capacity magazines,” generally defined as any magazine with a 10 or more round capacity, would also be subject to the NFA under Biden’s plan — each requiring a $200 tax stamp from the ATF.
Thus, possession of a semi-automatic rifle, or handgun, with two magazines would now require a $600 tax — on top of the cost of the firearm — or be subject to forfeiture under the Biden gun buyback. As a direct result of this policy, working-class American families could be forced to choose between owning a modern weapon for their self-defense or making ends meet with bills and other household expenses.
During this tumultuous period in American history, where people of all colors and creeds have legitimate fears about their safety and the safety of their families, the apparently tone-deaf Biden campaign has decided to release a gun plan that would effectively strip working-class Americans of their fundamental right to self-defense.
And it is abundantly clear now that many Americans — including the more than 2.5 million who have become first-time gun owners this year — sense a need to protect themselves and their families. They have good reason to: a global pandemic foments historic levels of uncertainty, violent protests erupt nationwide, and radical progressives call for the defunding of police forces, the ability for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights is of paramount importance.
As the November elections quickly approach, all lawful gun owners should be well aware of the demonization they would face from Joe Biden and the far-left progressives who will undoubtedly shape his policies and actions should he become president. While Biden may claim to “support” the Second Amendment, his actual proposals show that he’s the one who’s full of it.
Joshua Pinho is the Director of Political Engagement at American Principles Project.