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September 19, 2023

Congressional Gun Control Activists Still Wishing For a Presidential Miracle

By Larry Keane

Wish they may, wish they might – gun control Democrats in Congress are still holding out hope President Joe Biden will deliver their biggest wish. What they shouldn’t hold is their breath.

More than 60 antigun Democrats from the U.S. House and U.S. Senate sent a scathing letter to the president imploring him to “leverage the full power of the executive branch” and implement more gun control.

The problem is Pres. Biden already conceded he’s powerless to go it alone.

‘He Better Understand’

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Abagail Spanberger (D-Va.) and more than 55 additional Members of Congress signed their names to the letter, which the president’s administration cooly said they’re “reviewing.”

“With Republicans in Congress refusing to act, the American people are relying on your Administration to ensure that they can move through their daily lives without fear of firearms on the streets, in public establishments, and in their homes,” the letter states, according to CNN. “We also believe you can exercise your executive authority to take additional action to address gun violence without congressional action.”

If the signatories weren’t aware, their pleas are likely falling on deaf ears and are in stark contrast with what President Biden previously told media and gun control activists. “I have gone the full extent of my executive authority to do, on my own, anything about guns,” the president said earlier this year. The New York Times described those comments as “stark” and a “surprising statement” by the president, “who essentially threw up his hands…”

Asked by media about signing the letter and if the president “understands the urgency” of unilaterally doing more, Rep. Spanberger shot back, “I mean, he better.”

Past is Present

Frustrations with the president among gun control activists have been simmering for a while. No action is good enough and there is always clamoring for more restrictions on law-abiding Americans rather than pushing for stricter enforcement of laws on the books or harsher penalties for the criminals causing the violence. When the president uttered his infamous comments back in March, CNN reported it “frustrated many in his own party.”

National gun control groups have repeatedly made their displeasure with the administration known. “He hasn’t really been a leader,” was the sentiment from March for Our Lives. Giffords gun control has said, “We would like to see more from the Biden administration.” Gun control activist Fred Guttenberg previously put the administration on notice regarding their powers of executive action, saying “They’ve done probably, through executive action, not everything they can do…”

The lawmakers now are hoping maybe one more nudge will get the president to budge, despite the fact that gun control Democrats held majorities in Congress for two years of President Biden’s term.

Kitchen Sink Demands

The letter from antigun lawmakers to the president is a laundry list of demands that might not be typical gun control wishes but would still do little to hold criminals accountable or punish soft-on-crime prosecutors who fail to keep their communities safe.

They specifically request that President Biden require firearm manufacturers with Defense Department contracts to adopt a “code of conduct,” which could include declining to sell “military-grade firearms” to civilians. What they mean is implementing a ban on the sale of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) to civilians. MSRs, as the administration repeatedly lies about, are not military firearms, not automatic “weapons of war” and are instead semiautomatic rifles, like the AR-15, that are the most popular selling semiautomatic rifles in the country. MSRs operate on the same one-trigger-pull-one-fire technology that has been in existence for more than a century and that is common among numerous varieties of handguns and shotguns. Industry data shows that commonly-owned MSRs now number more than 24.4 million, making them more common than Ford F-150 pickup trucks on the road.

Other demands of the president urge him to re-evaluate the “sporting purposes” exception for firearm imports and undo the U.S. Munitions List to Commerce Control List (USML-CCL) reforms to transfer export authority from the Commerce Department back to the State Department. This proposal was originally started during former President Barack Obama’s presidency – with then-Vice President Joe Biden – and was later completed by former President Donald Trump.

They even push the president to press the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to restrict First Amendment rights by banning firearm advertising under “unfair and deceptive” practices and also undo Tiahrt Amendment protections for sensitive firearm trace data that would jeopardize law enforcement investigations and malign firearm manufacturers and retailers.

The president has received plenty of justifiable criticism, even from Congressional Democrats, when he has acted to impose unilateral restrictions on the Second Amendment and gets cute with misinterpreting law to pursue backdoor gun control.

Congress is refusing to pursue gun control activists’ agenda towards more Constitutional restrictions because the American people don’t want them to. In this case, these lawmakers would do well to listen to the president.

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