While every election has elements of divisiveness and contention, the 2020 election was beyond what we have seen in previous years. Accusations of racism flew from the left. Suspicions of voter fraud volleyed from the right. There was no end to the amount of heat. During most election cycles, guns and gun rights are hot button issues. However, the craziness surrounding the Coronavirus, Black Lives Matter, and the character of Trump placed a lot of other issues on the back burner. But this temporary drawback in focus did not actually lower the dangers the 2nd Amendment may face.
What Are Biden’s Plans?
Joe Biden’s campaign website lays out a number of proposed infringements on the second amendment. The most notable of these comes in the often-discussed ban on assault rifles. Gun owners understand that rifles like the AR-15 are easy to use, effective, and convenient. They are useful for a variety of purposes ranging from hunting to self-defense. However, this proposed ban and one on “high-capacity” (i.e., standard-capacity) magazines aim at eliminating these firearms from civilian use.
Their plans do not involve simply grandfathering in already purchased rifles. For one thing, a Biden administration would like to have them registered under the NFA. They would also like to carry out a gun buyback program.
There are also proposed changes to the background check system. The primary aim is to close the supposed “gun show loophole” and the similar “loophole” for all private sales without background checks.
Another proposal has the potential to limit mental healthcare access in the U.S. by taking away 2nd Amendment rights from the mentally ill. There are undoubtedly cases where one’s mental health can deteriorate to the point where allowing them to own firearms is ill advised. Sometimes people lose the ability to think clearly or act responsibly. However, in this case there is a slippery slope ripe for abusein designating people as dangers to themselves and others.
Many people who are of sound mind find themselves struggling with a range of mental illnesses. It is tragic when these mental illnesses severely dampen or impair people’s abilities to live happy lives, but this does not mean they are not sane or that they do not deserve their constitutional rights. This sort of policy likely would make many unlikely to seek the help of therapists and psychiatrists for fear of risking their Second Amendment rights. For those who do attend treatment, they may be unlikely to be as open as they need to be which could lead to receiving inadequate care.
What Will He Be Able to Accomplish?
A popular notion among political cynics is that ideal government is when Congress and the Executive branch are split between the parties. Essentially, if there is no unity between the law-making branches of government, they won’t get anything done, which may be better than empowering a single party to have its way unimpeded.
Ironically, the safety that can come from divided government may be leaving us shortly. With Biden in the Presidency and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the Senate remains as the only Republican majority element of Congress. The Judicial branch comes into play as well, but we’ll touch on that shortly.
Currently there are 51 out of 100 Republican Senators. While the general election is over, the two senate races in Georgia were close enough that they are heading to a run-off election. Georgia’s Presidential race was incredibly close, and in the end, it went blue for the first time since 1992. It is uncertain what will happen in the upcoming run-off election. Democratic leaders like Stacy Abrams are campaigning hard to get Democrats to show up and vote, and Republican leaders from across the country are working as hard for their party as well.
There is still the question of the Supreme Court. It currently houses 6 relatively conservative judges and 3 liberal judges giving conservatives a practical super majority. There have been talks by democrats to “pack the court” by adding justice positions which would be filled by Biden appointees. While one might expect something as stable as the number of supreme court justices to be dictated by the constitution, it is not. Simply passing a bill through Congress could add justices to the Supreme Court. Of course, if this occurrs during a Biden administration the court would become packed with liberal judges.
In fairness, not all Democrats are on board with this, including the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself. The primary issue with upping the number of Supreme Court Justices willy nilly is that it sets a precedent that any time a party has the political power to do so, it can and should—and therefore will. This would create a cycle of each party upping the number judges when returning to power. The other major issue is that it could turn the Supreme Court into more of a biased partisan system than it is meant to be. While Justices do lean liberal or conservative, their role is to uphold the constitution as they see it. Turning the Supreme Court into a fluid and routinely biased branch of government would defeat its purpose.
How Biden’s gun control policy plays out will depend on the run-off election in Georgia. If the Supreme Court remains in its current form, they may be able to invalidate the most egregious gun laws presented to it. But there are a lot of bad proposals that could make their way through Congress over the next few years if the progressives take full control.
—Jay Chambers is a Texas archer, shooter, survivalist and business owner at Minuteman Review. He believes in free speech, resiliency and self-sufficiency in an increasingly unpredictable world.