Biden’s Gun Control Distraction

President Joe Biden has unveiled executive actions to address what his administration is calling “the gun violence public health epidemic.”

“Today, we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis,” he announced from the Rose Garden.

Biden also rattled off a litany of claims to accompany his executive orders. The gun manufacturing industry, he said, is the only industry exempt from legal liability. Anyone can go to a gun show and buy whatever they want without a background check. Americans should universally embrace things like red flag laws because, he said, we’ve “seen a reduction in the number of suicides” in the states that have them. 

Of course, all of that is either untrue or misleading. Even CNN reported Biden’s statements as such: gun manufacturers can be sued, and purchases at gun shows are not exempt from background checks. Regarding red flag laws, CNN noted, against Biden, that research into their effect on suicide is “limited,” and that “some of the available research data is mixed, and suicide rates have increased around the U.S. in the 21st century.” Nevertheless, Biden has issued an order for the drafting of a national red-flag model.

The arguments on which the other executive orders rest are just as bad. Stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Colorado shooter, would come under the National Firearms Act, transforming what are considered pistols into AR-15-style rifles. But “pistol” or not, FBI data show you are more likely to be killed by a club, a foot, or a knife than AR-15-style rifles.

“The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of ‘ghost guns,’” a White House statement reads. “Ghost guns” are really just guns assembled by users out of parts. Any action taken against so-called “ghost guns” raises the question of also banning or regulating commonly owned parts.

A Wild Ride on the Border

So, why guns, and why now? Being the victim of a mass shooting, after all, is just about as unlikely as being struck by lightning, according to Jaclyn Schildkraut, associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Oswego. Apart from ideological considerations—they really do want to take your guns—Biden is likely accelerating the gun control agenda to divert attention away from the real crises at the border and elsewhere in the United States.

Thursday—the day after Biden announced his war on guns—was a wild ride on the border that Biden would rather you didn’t notice. 

Customs and Border Protection announced that March recorded the highest number of migrant children crossing the border in history. According to the Daily Mail, Arizona’s Republican attorney general also said Thursday that Kamala Harris has not responded to his requests to visit the crisis-hit border. And on Friday, Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s border czar, announced her resignation. 

“One specialist in the region who is close to the administration confirmed that the border czar appointment was always going to be temporary but said making the announcement now ‘sends a bad message,’” the Los Angeles Times reported. “It comes as large numbers of unaccompanied minors are reaching the southern U.S. border, giving political ammunition to Republicans and other critics who blame Biden for what they call a crisis, leading to intense scrutiny and finger-pointing.”

Soft-on-Crime in Baltimore

But there’s trouble in the country’s interior, too, where the murder rate is surging in the streets of American cities. “Last year, the United States tallied more than 20,000 murders—the highest total since 1995 and 4,000 more than in 2019,” writes Jason Johnson. 

Johnson served as deputy police commissioner for Baltimore from 2016 to 2018, is currently the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. He notes preliminary FBI data for 2020 shows a staggering 25 percent increase in murders—“the largest single year increase since the agency began publishing uniform data in 1960.” 

It’s not just that people are killing each other more frequently—we are also prosecuting them less. Sean Kennedy, a visiting fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, points to Baltimore, where the city’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby is conducting a social experiment that the Democratic Party wants to bring to a neighborhood near you.

Under Mosby’s soft-on-crime regime, violent crime has skyrocketed. “While she publicly claims an astounding 93 percent felony conviction rate—85 percent for homicide, 91 percent for gun crimes, and 98 percent for narcotics—she fails to mention that those numbers exclude cases that she dismissed while claiming credit for convictions on a lesser charge, including in homicide cases,” Kennedy writes. 

Mosby drops or loses more than 40 percent of her felony cases and fails to prosecute and imprison gun offenders. “Shockingly, in 2018, Mosby secured convictions for only 18 percent of ‘felon in possession of a firearm’ cases—a known precursor offense to violence.” And the few she does convict don’t sit in prison for long, despite Maryland’s statutory five-year minimum sentence. “An analysis by the Baltimore Sun showed that 43 percent received less than a year in jail and 13 percent got no jail time at all,” Kennedy concludes.

Pretend Not to Notice the Real Crisis

The irony of Biden’s gun control measures is that they would primarily affect law-abiding, middle- and lower-income Americans who may want to protect themselves from Mosby’s violent criminals. Wealthy people could absorb the cost of whatever regulations imposed by Biden on property they already own, while criminals wouldn’t care. 

Whit Jones, a Texas rancher, told “Fox and Friends” on Thursday that bodies of migrants have been appearing on his and other nearby properties for some time now. He tends to find about two to three bodies a year, but a neighbor of his has been discovering close to 10 a year over the past decade, dotting the landscape like trash. 

“There is a sense of fear that exists down here all the time,” Jones told host Brian Kilmeade. “It’s a terrible situation.” 

Even more terrible would be for Americans to notice.

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About Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez is associate editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He publishes the weekly Contra newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @emeriticus.

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

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