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Tipsheet

State AGs Put Biden on Notice Over Call for 'Unconstitutional' Gun Ban

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

More than one dozen state attorneys general put President Joe Biden on notice Wednesday with a letter slamming his State of the Union call for an "unconstitutional" ban on "assault weapons," led by Montana AG Austin Knudsen. 

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Knudsen — along with attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming — slammed Biden for his "irresponsible and unconstitutional demand that Congress ban firearms commonly used by law-abiding Americans for self-defense."

The attorneys general put Biden on notice that, "with every tool at our disposal, we will oppose your attempt to trample on Americans’ fundamental right to defend themselves with guns."

The AG's letter notes that:

Anti-gun politicians like [Biden] use the misleading label of "assault weapon" to scare Americans—expecting us to endorse your efforts to criminalize law-abiding gun owners. We also know that your personal definition of “assault weapons” is staggeringly broad—encompassing all semiautomatic weapons—which are the most common and effective self-defense weapons in use today, employed by over 100 million Americans to defend their homes and families...

According to estimates by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are at least 100 million semiautomatic handguns in theUnited States, the vast majority of which are lawfully possessed by law-abidingAmericans exercising their God-given right of self-defense. A semi-automatic pistol is the self-defense weapon of choice for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding gun owners. Moreover, Americans possess an estimated 45 million lawfully owned semiautomatic rifles in the United States. Thus, when Americans hear that you plan to come after our so-called “assault weapons,” we brace ourselves for an attack on ordinary, safe, and highly effective weapons commonly used for self and home defense by over 100 million Americans...

According to your own CDC, Americans use guns to protect themselves and their families up to 3 million times per year, if not more—far more often than guns are used in crimes, and far, far more often than guns injure people.

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What's more, the attorneys general also debunked Biden's frequent claim that the 1994 federal "assault weapon" ban he supported while in the U.S. Senate reduced mass shootings. Their letter notes that "two different studies commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice—during the Clinton and Bush Administrations—found no discernible effect on violent crime from that legislation."

"The right to keep and bear arms is one of the most fundamental and deeply rooted liberties in our constitutional tradition," the attorneys general remind President Biden. "It guards and protects the most basic of all rights, the right to life, and it stands as a constant bulwark against tyranny. We stand ready to oppose any attempt by your Administration to trample on this fundamental constitutional right," the letter warns.

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