5 Proposed Changes to 2A Rights under President Biden
5 Proposed Changes to 2A Rights under President Biden
As if 2020 wasn’t turbulent enough on its own, it was also a presidential election year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this was one of the most contentious elections in American history. While this was due to a number of factors, the issue of gun rights was certainly a major contributing issue.
Without getting into the political weeds, you’d have to be genuinely unaware of Joe Biden’s gun positions to think that a Biden administration wouldn’t result in changes for the gun world. Both he and his running mate are well documented in their positions regarding guns — or more specifically, their positions on efforts at gun control. It’s no secret that both members of the Biden ticket are in favor of stricter legislation regarding firearms.
So what exactly does life look like for the gun owner during a Biden administration? Without engaging in hyperbole, it may change quite a bit. While no president is ever going to get their full wish list thanks to D.C. dysfunction, the Biden campaign has planned for that in advance because not all its proposals are based in legislation. Some are through executive action.
A quick disclaimer: All of this information comes straight from the Biden campaign. It can be easy to fall into he said/she said when discussing political positions, so every effort is being made here to avoid that. All of this information is from stated positions easily found through official Biden campaign sources.
Eliminate the AR
This one should come as no surprise to anyone, as Biden has repeatedly been on record stating this. He even publicly stated that he would bring former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke in to lead these efforts. Beto himself famously proclaimed during his brief run for president, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.”
Under a Biden Administration, ownership of the AR-15 may cease to be legally permitted. Biden has proposed an outright ban of these firearms similar to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. In addition, he has proposed banning their manufacture and not allowing them to be made or imported.
Biden has proposed forcing people who already own these firearms to sell them to the government through what he calls a “mandatory buyback” program. For any of these types of firearms that might remain out there legally after all these efforts, Biden proposes regulation through the National Firearms Act. This would require a $200 tax for each AR already owned and require them to be registered with the ATF. Failure to do so would result in 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine per firearm violation.
Moreover, the standard magazine that comes with the AR when you purchase it in most cases would be deemed “high capacity” and also subject to the same $200 tax per magazine for those allowed to keep them after the proposed bans and buybacks. Failure to do so would result in 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if caught in violation.
Require Background Checks for All Sales
Under a Biden administration, all firearms sales would be federally regulated. His plan calls for the mandating of a background check for every single firearm purchase. That means if you have a friend or a family member who you want to sell your gun to, you can't do so without going to a Federal Firearms Licensee to perform a background check. It doesn’t matter how well you know the person — you’re not allowed to sell them your firearm without checking a government database first.
There is an important point to address with this legislation that is often overlooked. Many disregard this as a simple inconvenience. However, there is no way to police this kind of legislation without some kind of federal registration of every firearm. Without that, it’s impossible to know who owns what. So, as a result, the burden that this places on individual citizens and law enforcement is much greater than the way the current system exists. While there are background checks now, this would still represent a major change that impacts every gun owner.
The Biden plan would also expand the records checked to include mental health records and the no-fly list. As neither group is limited to criminals, there are many non-criminals with who would be prohibited from owning a firearm.
Another interesting intrusion is the limitation on how much, and where, you're allowed to buy. Under the Biden plan, purchasers would be permitted by federal mandate to purchase no more than one gun per month.
In their official campaign literature, the Biden camp states this is to reduce stockpiling. However, you can still buy multiple firearms; you just have to wait until the next calendar month to do so. Also, this would require a tracking system of some kind beyond running the background check, which again points to a federal database of firearms or at least of purchases in order to verify who bought what and when.
Additionally, the Biden team also proposes completely eliminating the sale of anything gun related online. No online gun purchases, no ammunition and no gun parts. The Biden-stated position is that all types of online purchases should cease, and the legislative proposals are reflective of that.
According to the Biden team’s website, this is an effort to end online loopholes, but it’s debatable whether this position has merit. Guns sold online can only be shipped to official FFL dealers and online ammunition purchases do not violate federal regulations. The gun parts sold online do not constitute firearms according to the legal definitions and as such, aren’t illegal for anyone to have. As you can see, it’s unclear exactly what loopholes would be addressed here.
Liability for Manufacturers
This one is particularly interesting for a number of reasons. The Biden administration wants to hold the manufacturers of guns responsible for their use.
Under tort law, anyone who has been injured by a firearm may sue the person who fired it for recovery. Under Biden-proposed changes, the wounded party could also sue the gun manufacturer for being seriously injured by the use of its product as it was intended.
Further still, if the injured party doesn’t survive, his or her family could sue the manufacturer for the death. The Biden campaign compares this to the ability to sue a car manufacturer over a death in their vehicle.
Enact Nationwide Red Flag Laws
Red flag laws are laws that allow the separation of a person from their firearms if that person raises “red flags.” If someone believes a person is going to commit a crime or an act of terrorism, either they, or their guns, can be seized temporarily until it’s determined that the person is no longer a threat.
This one has been a talking point for quite some time with regard to gun laws. It’s quite often labeled as a step toward common sense gun laws by gun control advocates and the politicians who support it — on both sides of the aisle. There are actually a number of states that have laws of this sort already in the books, but the Biden campaign has proposed a federal solution that would standardize this on a national level.
There are concerns about these types of laws with respect to their constitutionality, not only as it pertains to the Second Amendment, but with respect to Fourteenth Amendment considerations about due process, as well.
These are just some of the proposed changes to the way the Second Amendment would work in this country under a Biden administration. It’s worth mentioning that not only are there many other additional proposals listed on the official campaign website, the ones mentioned here are just those that constitute legislation the administration wants to see enacted. Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have repeatedly stated their intent to use executive orders and ATF reclassifications to achieve the same goals if they are unable to do so legislatively.
Whether you agree with the Biden team on these or not, it’s important to understand exactly what gun ownership under President Joe Biden may look like. The likelihood is that it may look radically different.