Friday, August 27, 2021

Washington: A Life -------from Armed Citizens Network


Washington: A LifeWash Bio

By Ron Chernow
928 pages paperback, Sept. 2011 by Penguin Books
ISBN-13: 978-0143119968

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

For my Independence Day reading about our nation’s founders, the book I chose was a whopping 900+ page biography of our nation’s first president written by Ron Chernow. In Washington: A Life, the biographer replaces the image of a remote, austere commander in chief suggested by paintings and history books with a very human but determined individual who vowed not to be ruled by his temper or his social reticence. Of course, that Washington had flaws is not surprising; I was not aware of characteristics the book describes and came away feeling I knew more about the person he was.

Born to a Virginia landowner, the future president was only a boy when his father died. Lacking formal education, Washington hoped to join England’s royal navy, but his domineering mother prohibited it. Instead, he earned recognition in the Virginia Regiment during the Indian Wars. There, under the command of British Major General Braddock, he “acquired a powerful storehouse of grievances that would fuel his later rage with England,” the biographer notes.

When England tried to recoup the expense of the Indian Wars by taxing essential commodities, the colonials revolted. Washington, serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses, was reluctant to foment rebellion and discouraged early acts of insurrection. “Washington knew how indomitable the British military machine was and how quixotic a full-scale revolution would be,” observes Chernow. By 1774, even Washington was fed up. He supported bans on imports of English goods and travelled to Philadelphia as a delegate to the First Continental Congress.

Washington was uncomfortable among the other delegates. “Taciturn Washington, at forty-two, found himself in an assembly of splendid talkers who knew how to pontificate on every subject.” His silent demeanour inspired confidence, and his military prowess was well-known. Patriots looked to him for leadership even as he hoped to avoid “the horrors of civil discord.” Nonetheless, bowing to public pressure, Washington accepted command of four companies of militiamen whom he encouraged to train and study military science.

When British frigates disgorged soldiers onto American soil, Washington agreed to command the Continental Army. Worried about appearing to exploit the revolution for personal gain, he refused a salary. His preoccupation with his reputation is a repeating theme throughout this biography. He probably shouldn’t have worried; congress failed to pay its army or the officers more often than not, and even when the army disbanded in the fall of 1783, there was no money in the federal treasury to pay its officers and Washington, never good with his own budget, was near personal bankruptcy.

Washington’s war councils reveal character traits I’d not read about before. His was a consultive leadership style, and he was slow to make decisions without hearing all sides. Once he made up his mind, though, Washington was nearly impossible to dissuade.

From fighting for England during the Indian Wars, Washington knew the British Army could throw nearly endless men and munitions into the fray. By contrast, the Continental Army fought the entire war with severe food shortages, were poorly clothed and sheltered, sometimes armed only with spears and arrows when there was not enough gunpowder. His soldiers were committed to only a year’s service. When the army went unpaid, Washington had endless difficulty keeping troops. “For Washington, the failure to create a permanent army early in the war was the original sin from which the patriots rarely recovered,” the biographer writes. This influenced Washington’s later preference for a strong central government.

Telling of Washington’s experiences during famous Revolutionary War battles, Chernow portrays American troops numbering only several thousand battling tens of thousands of English soldiers and mercenaries. If the British army’s superior numbers and better armament didn’t kill you, the camps' lack of sanitation and disease likely would. By mid-August of 1775, over a quarter of Washington’s troops were sick and outnumbered 4:1, the biographer observes. Conditions at Valley Forge, the battle for Long Island, and the Siege of Yorktown, to name only a few, made the eventual victory truly remarkable.

Out of economic necessity, American farmers sold produce to the better-funded British army. Washington deplored wartime plundering of livestock and supplies from citizens and punished his starving men when they stole food. When the French were finally persuaded to join the fight, the dreadful condition of Washington’s army dismayed the new ally. The French treated Washington disrespectfully but loaned much-needed money and temporarily dispatched part of their West Indies fleet, making the Yorktown victory one of the war’s most decisive.

If the French maltreated Washington, backstabbing was worse among Americans vying for top military positions, and subordinates sabotaged him. Several colonists remained loyal to England; others aimed to profit from the war by backing the presumptive winner. Who can forget the story of the spy Benedict Arnold? Chernow writes an interesting chapter that tells how Arnold’s wife deceived Washington, Lafayette and Hamilton to assure her traitorous husband’s escape.

Washington feared “massive desertion or even full-blown defection to the British”, who lured American soldiers to abandon the revolution. Without funds for food and supplies, the cause seemed doomed. Providentially, the Americans began to win in the South, but an empty treasury made Washington anxious that the revolution would fizzle out before winning independence.

Finally, on November 1, 1783, word reached Washington of the treaty that ended the war. He resigned his commission and spent several years working his plantation and other lands before bowing to pressure to lead the Virginia delegation at the Constitutional Convention in 1786. Shays’ Rebellion demonstrated that without substantial reforms, a civil war was likely. He went to Philadelphia, where, with Ben Franklin too sick to serve, he reluctantly assumed leadership of the convention. The non-partisan role fit Washington’s “discreet nature” well, and Chernow writes that Washington’s leadership “reassured Americans that the delegates were striving for the public good” despite considerable suspicion. Outside the convention hall, he shrugged off the role of impartial arbiter, conversing in tea rooms and taverns with the other delegates and the locals.

After the constitution was ratified, Washington’s name arose as the natural choice for president. He was conflicted but felt he dared not seek advice for fear of appearing to campaign for election. Lafayette, Hamilton and others endorsed him, and the public liked the idea because he had no children to create a dynastic monarchy. Chernow writes that accepting the presidency was Washington’s most painful decision. He estimated that he could serve two years, then hand off the presidency to another; little did he know eight years of “arduous service” would follow the electoral college’s unanimous vote for him.

Washington’s presidency relied on numerous advisors – Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Jay and others. “The hallmark of his administration would be an openness to conflicting ideas,” Chernow writes. He appointed strong, intelligent men to his cabinet and was unafraid to ask for guidance from them. His administration was a “model of smooth efficiency,” although he demanded much of his subordinates. “Washington encouraged the free, creative interplay of ideas, setting a cordial tone of collegiality. He prized efficiency and close attention to detail.” Washington wrote, “Much was to be done by prudence, much by conciliation, much by firmness.” He preferred deliberation to fast decisions, valued silence over speech and hated boasting.

Taxation to pay the government’s debts caused the first big row in the cabinet. Chernow details additional growing pains the new nation faced, including great distress over slavery, relocating the capital, creating a federal treasury, bloodshed with the Indians over land, and foreign policy, to name only a few. Washington aspired to operate above backbiting and political power-mongering, seeing his leadership role as “surmounting partisan interests,” but was sorely challenged to meet that ideal.

A “venomous split” between the Federalists and the Republicans pressured the 60-year-old Washington to stay on for a second term, a period complicated by war between the English and the French. Despite a masterful neutrality proclamation, Washington’s cabinet fell prey to manipulation, especially the French foreign minister. The European war reminded the risks new nation faced due to a weak army and nonexistent navy. Funds were authorized for ships and soldiers, but that alarmed those who feared “an oppressive military establishment that might be directed against homegrown dissidents.”

That threat manifested in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791-94, which Washington viewed as a test of the constitution, saying it would show if a few citizens could dictate to the entire nation. “He faulted the insurgents for failing to recognize that the excise law was not a fiat, issued by an autocratic government, but a tax voted by their lawful representatives.” When it was over, he gave clemency to all but two of the rebellion’s leaders, but his actions further alienated him from Madison and Jefferson who condemned Washington’s speech against “societies” acting against the government. They said he had abandoned his nonpartisan ideals and joined the Federalists. Was the outcome that bad? “Given the giant scale of the protest and the governmental response, there had been remarkably few deaths … showing it [the government] could contain large-scale disorder without sacrificing constitutional niceties,” Chernow writes.

By 1797, Washington was truly ready to retire to his beloved Mount Vernon. Instead of addressing Congress, he submitted his farewell speech directly to the American citizens, printed first in the Philadelphia newspapers. In his message, he challenged Americans to be better citizens, support the Union, and endorse a strong central government. “For opponents who had spent eight years harping on Washington’s supposed monarchical obsessions, his decision to step down could only have left them in a dazed state of speechless confusion,” Chernow writes.

The first president’s remarkable “catalogue of accomplishments” is crowned by showing “a disbelieving world that republican government could prosper without being spineless or disorderly or reverting to authoritarian rule. In surrendering the presidency after two terms and overseeing a smooth transition of power, Washington had demonstrated that the president was merely the servant of the people,” the biographer concludes.

Several chapters about Washington’s return to Mount Vernon and his later life debunk some of the myths that have risen up around our first president. Chernow writes of Washington’s largely unsuccessful attempt to distance himself from politics, continued budgetary problems on his properties, and his evolving relationship with Jefferson, Hamilton, Knox and others.

I learned many new details about the Father of our Country in this long biography and gained a new appreciation for his sacrifices and determination.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Homeowner Shoots And Kills Armed Intruder Who Kicked Down Door ---------from NRA


Authorities said that a California homeowner fatally shot an armed intruder who kicked down his door Tuesday while he and his wife were eating breakfast.

The Fairfield Police Department in California received a call around 8:30 a.m. from a resident about a home invasion.

According to police, the married couple in their 60s were having breakfast when they heard a knock at the door. Suddenly, a 27-year-old male from Suisun City attempted to kick down the door.

“The husband, fearing for his and his wife’s safety, obtained his legally owned firearm to defend them,” Fairfield Police said. The intruder finally managed to kick the door in and entered the home. The husband then fired at the intruder, according to police.

The homeowner immediately called the police and reported that he shot the intruder, who fled the scene. (RELATED: ‘This Is My House’: Naked Man Breaks Into California Mansion, Kills Pets And Swims In Pool)

Police checked on the couple and then located the intruder across the street. Authorities said they found a loaded semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine in the intruder’s possession. Officers began performing life-saving measures, but the suspect was pronounced dead around 9:00 a.m.

Police said the intruder had been on parole for a violent crime out of Alameda County.

According to the Stanislaus Sheriff's Office, a similar incident unfolded in nearby Modesto days earlier when a man broke into a home Friday and was fatally shot and killed by the homeowner in a gunfire battle.

According to the Stanislaus Sheriff's Office, authorities are also investigating another incident in which elderly homeowners fatally shot a woman attempting to break into their home using a fire extinguisher.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021




BELLEVUE, WA – While the legacy media is quick to sensationalize every incident involving misuse of firearms, they just as quickly downplay or completely dismiss reports of lawful self-defence with firearms, and the Second Amendment Foundation is openly challenging the establishment press to explain why.

“Why are the gun prohibition lobby and their bought and paid for politicians and media mouthpieces ignoring stories like this,” wondered SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, after learning of a 12-year-old Louisiana boy’s recent heroic defence of his mother by using a hunting rifle to fatally shoot an armed intruder who was attacking her.

Gottlieb, who co-authored “Good Guys with Guns,” “Right to Carry”, and “America Fights Back,” said cases of armed self-defence seem to vanish from the headlines. However, let a tragedy involving a firearm occur. It becomes the launchpad for on-air interviews with gun control proponents, lengthy newspaper articles about past incidents and editorials demanding additional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

“We’ve seen the media celebrate the heroics of private citizens who pull people out of crashed cars or burning buildings,” Gottlieb observed, “but if an armed citizen stops a restaurant gunman or kills a dangerous home invader, or even saves the life of a law enforcement officer, that story vanishes from the headlines quicker than coherency from a Joe Biden speech.

“We know from experience the gun prohibition lobby suddenly develops lockjaw every time a private citizen successfully uses a gun to save a life,” he continued, “and anti-gun politicians invariably dismiss such cases as ‘isolated incidents.’ But as municipal police agencies see their budgets cut, their morale sinking, and their officers leaving, private citizens will increasingly be taking care of themselves and others. Eventually, the media and politicians will no longer downplay, dismiss or simply ignore such cases.

“Armed private citizen heroes, regardless of age, may not fit the media narrative,” Gottlieb concluded, “but they fit the American mould. Instead of sweeping such stories under the nearest rug, we should celebrate that fact that such courage exists, along with the fundamental right to keep and bear arms that allows people to be victors rather than victims.”

Friday, August 13, 2021

GOA BEATS BLOOMBERG IN COURT from Gun Owners of America


GOA Wins a 2A Sanctuary Victory in Court!

GOA Victory over Everytown

Gun Owners of America (GOA) and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) beat Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety in court this Thursday.

The issue involved a Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance (SASO) passed by Columbia County, Oregon citizens.

Bloomberg’s group tried to torpedo the 2A sanctuary movement by challenging a local 2A sanctuary ordinance.

But GOA, who was joined by the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF), came to the defence of the ordinance. And we are very thankful that the court sided against Everytown.

Over 60 per cent of municipalities in the United States have passed 2A sanctuaries. So this case marks a huge victory for not only gun owners in Columbia County, Oregon but Second Amendment supporters nationwide.

You can read the GOA and OFF brief here and the judge’s decision here.

NRA Joins GOA’s Bump Stock Case

"Enough is enough. The federal courts cannot stand idly by while ATF continues to blatantly evade the statutes Congress wrote through cutesy "Interpretations" of the text..." - Exceprt from GOA/GOF amicus brief

Earlier this week, we reported to you that GOA and GOF have submitted a supplemental brief in our bump stock case before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ours is the only case that has been victorious in getting a court to admit what gun owners already knew — that a bump stock is not a machinegun.

The NRA announced yesterday that it is joining this effort, as they have submitted their own amicus brief.

We are glad to see the NRA join Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners Foundation in our battle to protect the Second Amendment, as the ATF’s Final Rule could force all semi-automatic firearms to be unconstitutionally regulated as machineguns.

Ammoland recently interviewed GOA’s attorney in this case, Rob Olson, who said that:

Congress did not delegate to ATF the authority to define or redefine the term “Machinegun.” This fact is important because the courts have ruled that only Congress has the power to write new federal criminal law.

Olson, who is also one of the attorneys in the 2A Sanctuary case mentioned above, makes the point that giving “deference” to the ATF “will only further embolden ATF’s lawless actions.” As stated by Ammoland:

Many consider the ATF to be out of control. The ATF is trying to use deference to shut down the unfinished firearm frames and pistol-stabilizing brace markets. Many do not believe that the agency has the power to do so because they would be making de facto laws. If GOA is successful in the bump stock case, then it could throw a monkey wrench into the ATF’s future plans.

This is exactly why this case is so important. A win, in this case, can help stymie other lawless attempts by the ATF.

GOA will make oral arguments before the court in October. Please stay tuned!

GOA Reaching Millions Via Traditional and Social Media

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Treat of Road Rage from US Legal Shield


The Threat of Road Rage

As we hit the midpoint of this strange summer, one ever-present danger for gun owners has made its presence felt across the country: road rage. Whether caused by the tensions associated with the post-COVID reopening, the reemergence of heavy traffic or any number of other factors, road rage involving firearms has skyrocketed across the country. Here in Houston alone, police are currently investigating over 100 firearms-related road rage cases. With this spike in road rage incidents, we thought it important to offer a refresher on the topic.

Road rage presents two significant issues for gun owners—one obvious, the other not so obvious.

The obvious issue occurs when the traffic dispute escalates into some form of physical confrontation; e.g., running a car off the road, blocking a vehicle, or one or both drivers getting out of their automobiles. Our members’ experiences with thousands of these incidents have taught us that using a gun in these circumstances is seldom viewed favourably by law enforcement, prosecutors, or jurors. You might say, “But wait, I was in fear for my life.” Maybe, but the use of deadly force is rarely a substitute for simply driving away or letting the other driver do the same.

The less obvious issue involves the gun owner who never uses, displays, or even touches a firearm. We have seen countless times where, after a road rage incident, the other driver calls 911 first and reports our member's innocent (or not so innocent) hand gestures as “The other driver pointed a gun at me.” When the police find our member to investigate, they ask, “Do you have a firearm?” The unsuspecting member's answer is naturally “yes,” and they end up being the ones charged or arrested. 

Given this nationwide trend, it is crucial to stay up to date on the law and firearms in your state. Click here for more vital information from our Independent Program Attorneys on this topic.

Friday, August 6, 2021

BATFE Leadership Push Biden to Target Pistol Stabilizing Braces and Unfinished Receivers from NRA



Just in case anyone needed further proof that much of the federal bureaucracy is more interested in serving themselves. Left-wing political interests than public service, news broke this week that rogue elements of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) have been conspiring with Joe Biden’s transition team to enact gun control executive fiat. At the top of these anti-gun government functionaries’ wish list is executive regulation of commonly-owned pistol stabilizing braces and materials used by individuals to make their own firearms –sometimes referred to as unfinished or “80%” frames or receivers.

On November 10, gun rights activist John Crump published a piece for with details of a leaked BATFE conference call. BATFE Acting Director Regina Lombardo and Associate Deputy Director Marvin Richardson participated. According to the article, “Acting Director Regina Lombardo told those in attendance that the anti-gun Biden transition team has reached out to the ATF to get the agency’s ‘top priorities.’”The item went on to note that “Lombardo told those on the call that her priorities would be pistol braces and 80% lower receivers.”

From Crump’s initial report, it is unclear how Lombardo wants the BATFE to target these items, but under a proper reading of federal law, the agency’s options are limited.

Pistol stabilizing braces are an item that attaches to the rear of many configurations of commonly-owned semi-automatic pistols that helps stabilize the pistol on a shooter’s arm so that they may effectively shoot the firearm with one hand. These items are precious for differently-abled shooters who may not have the use of two hands. BATFE has approved several arm braces for this purpose. At present, Americans own over 4 million of these items.

BATFE already has a fraught history with pistol stabilizing braces. In January 2015, BATFE released an Open Letter on the Redesign of “Stabilizing Braces.” With the letter, BATFE sought to stop individuals from using pistol stabilizing braces in a manner in which they were not designed for –specifically, using a brace to shoulder the pistol.

Federal law defines a “rifle” as “a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.”Further, a “rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length” is categorized as a “short-barreled rifle.”“Short-barreled rifles” are subject to the National Firearms Act and must be registered with the federal government in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. On the other hand, a “handgun” is defined as “a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.”

In the letter, BATFE contended that an individual who shouldered a pistol equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace was creating a short-barreled rifle. 

This reading of the law was patently absurd. The definitions of both “rifle” and “pistol” turn on how a particular firearm is designed and intended to be used. Pistols equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace are designed and intended to be “fired by the use of a single hand.”The object of a pistol stabilizing brace is to facilitate single-handed shooting. 

A person using a firearm equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace in a manner in which it was not designed for, by shouldering it, does not change the fact that the firearm was “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.”Under such tortured logic, someone who attempted to fire a stock Glock 19 by placing it upon his shoulder would be creating a short-barreled rifle. What matters under federal law is what the firearm was designed and intended for, not how any individual user might use it.

In early 2017, BATFE reconsidered its incorrect reading of the law. In a letter to pistol stabilizing brace manufacturer SB Tactical, the agency explained, 

To the extent the January 2015 Open Letter implied or has been construed to hold that incidental, sporadic, or situational ‘use’ of an arm-brace (in its original approved configuration) equipped firearm from a firing position at or near the shoulder was sufficient to constitute ‘redesign,’ such interpretations are incorrect and not consistent with ATF’s interpretation of the statute or how it has historically been enforced. 

For three years, gun owners enjoyed some measure of sanity on the pistol stabilizing brace issue. However, the BATFE - perhaps anticipating a more anti-gun political climate –has begun targeting pistol stabilizing braces again.

In August, the agency sent firearm manufacturer Q LLC a cease & desist letter informing the company that its “Honey Badger” pistol, which is equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace, was in the agency’s view a “short-barreled rifle” subject to the NFA. After grassroots action taken by NRA members and other gun rights supporters in early October, BATFE suspended the cease & desist order for 60 days.

Concerning unfinished frames and receivers, the current federal statute and regulations are clear. Federal law defines a “firearm” to include “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive” and “the frame or receiver of any such weapon.”In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “firearm frame or receiver” is further defined as “That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”

BATFE would likely attempt to broaden the definition of “firearm frame or receiver” in the CFR to target unfinished frames and receivers. Such a change is inadvisable and should at the very least require a formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.

By targeting the materials Americans use to make their own firearms, BATFE is striking at the core of the Second Amendment right in a manner that has no basis in the text, history, and tradition of the right. Since long before the founding, Americans have enjoyed the right to make their own firearms for personal use without government interference.

The interest in regulating these items by executive diktat shows a willingness at BATFE and in a prospective Biden administration to ignore the law. This is not the opinion of NRA-ILA but of the Barack Obama administration.

In late 2015, Obama tasked his White House with doing everything within their lawful authority to pursue gun control through executive action. Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said of Obama’s administrative gun control efforts, “he has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively…The President has made clear he’s not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon.” In remarks announcing the new actions, Obama stated, “we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books….”Further, a press release that accompanied the announcement of these measures stated, “The President and Vice President are committed to using every tool at the Administration’s disposal to reduce gun violence.”

Both pistol stabilizing braces and unfinished frames and receivers existed during the Obama administration’s efforts, yet they were not targeted for prohibition. The fact that BATFE, and possibly the Biden team, believe they could do even more than Obama suggests that they are willing to go beyond what even the anti-gun Obama administration considered a legitimate use of executive authority. 

As BATFE leadership scheme with a potential Biden administration, gun owners must remain vigilant to protect their rights by providing a political counterweight to unwarranted unilateral executive action. Biden has already made clear that he does not recognize the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution and its Second Amendment, so there is no telling the lengths he would go to subvert the law by edict.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Biden’s Gun Control Plan Targets “Rogue Firearms Dealers” from US LAW Shield



Recently, President Biden announced his new strategy to combat the rise of gun violence in the United States. This plan seeks to make federal funds available to local law enforcement, school programs, and programs designed to help former prisoners reintegrate into their communities after serving their sentences. The plan also “implements preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime, and attacks the root causes—including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes” and indicates that the government intends to “[s]tem the flow of firearms used to commit violence, including by holding rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws.” This begs the question: If “rogue firearms dealers” are such a nationwide issue as to warrant being mentioned in the administration’s new strategy to reduce gun violence, why weren’t they already being held accountable?

Biden’s Plan Ignores the Numbers

During his speech, President Biden stated that “90% of illegal guns found at crime scenes were sold by 5% of gun dealers.” According to a U.S. Department of Justice special report released in 2019, only 8.2% of all state and federal prisoners purchased guns from a licensed firearm dealer at a retail source; 1.2% purchased them from private sellers, and 89.9% did not purchase or trade guns at a retail source at all. Using the U.S. Department of Justice’s own data, we can see that the vast majority of criminals are not getting their guns from dealers. Keep in mind that these are just the numbers of guns that end up in possession of criminals, not the number of guns used in actual crimes. If we dig deeper into that same data, it shows us that only 1.3% of the guns used during the commission of a crime were obtained from a retail source. Remember, these are the government’s own numbers. While it is certainly possible that the discrepancy between President Biden’s statement and the Department of Justice’s numbers is simply the result of an honest mistake or lack of clarification on the part of the President, it is also possible that the President purposefully cited numbers from an over 20-year-old study that itself cautioned “traces to a dealer do not necessarily indicate illegal activity by the dealer or its employees,” simply to mislead the American public and bolster support for a plan that is ultimately unlikely to impact a criminal’s ability to obtain an illegal firearm. No matter which reason you choose to believe, such discrepancies undermine the overall credibility of the argument being made.


One of the major points of President Biden’s speech was “accountability.” In this instance, the focus is on holding “rogue firearms dealers” accountable for passing illegal guns presumably used by criminals to commit crimes. A United States Government Accountability Office report dated September 2018 found that of the 25.6 million background checks processed through the NICS system in 2017, 181,000 were denied because the individuals attempting the purchases were prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law. As of June 2018, only 12 out of the 181,000 denied by the NICS system were prosecuted by United States Attorney’s Offices. Put another way, just .007% of the people caught attempting to illegally purchase a gun in 2017 faced federal prosecution. The federal government’s failure to prosecute felons who attempted to purchase firearms was not mentioned in the President’s speech or in the released comprehensive strategy.

An Attack on Gun Owners?

Given the currently available data, it is difficult to see how the measures contained in the President’s strategy will have much, if any, impact on the overall rate of gun violence in this country. The dichotomy between what the data shows versus the message being relayed by certain political figures is a driving factor behind the opinion that law-abiding gun owners are unfairly targeted. Some people found the tone and overall message of the speech particularly demeaning to gun owners, including attorney and gun rights activist Colion Noir, who was quoted saying:

It’s a very sad day in our country’s history when you have a president of the United States basically telling the American people that, ‘hey, look, we’re the government, we can do anything that we want to you and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.’ He’s not talking to us like a group of people. He’s talking to us like we’re an invading force. People don’t want these firearms so we can take over the government. We want these firearms so that we can protect ourselves.

This and other factors, such as the President’s nomination of gun control activist David Chipman to head the ATF, make it appear that despite the data, the President views law-abiding gun owners and legal guns as a significant part of the “problem.”

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