A Biden Administration Isn’t the Threat You Think It Is
By Jeff Folloder
This column is being written just a few hours after it was broadly announced that Joe Biden would be the 46th President of the United States. The thoughts expressed here may or may not prove accurate. A few months delay from being written to being published may prove prescient or embarrassing! That said …
My phone and voice mail have been blowing up since “the call” of winning and before. To be sure, the official pronouncement is likely to be days, weeks or maybe months away. There is certain to be conflict and legal wrangling, so it may be a very long time before the call becomes official. Everyone is asking what all of this will mean to gun owners, in general and to NFA enthusiasts, specifically. The short answer is: probably not much. Let’s look to the past as a guide.
It is almost universally acknowledged that the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was the greatest firearms salesman of all time. His presidency ushered in panic-buying, the likes of which had never been seen before. His reelection was a repeat. Obama promised gun control. He railed at the ineptitude of Congress and vowed that if Congress would not do anything by legislation, he would do it by Executive Order (EO). Of course, there were several EOs issued during his presidency that really did not amount to much. A divided and inept Congress all but insured that there would be no meaningful changes to firearms freedom. So, what do things look like for a Biden Administration?
With most of the votes counted, it looks like the Democrats will retain control of a fractious House of Representatives. That control is somewhat lessened by, what looks like, a small gain in Republican seats. The Senate balance of power will be retained by Democrats. The Supreme Court, with the untimely demise of Ginsburg, tipped firmly in favor of Conservative ideology with the confirmation of Elizabeth Coney Barrett as her replacement. Once again, the United States is facing at least 2 years of radical agenda and possibly 2 more of paralysis. Legislation cannot become law without the assent of both Houses and the president. Meaningful gun control is likely to face a very rough road under these conditions, and the composition of the Supreme Court is much more likely to encourage legal challenges to legislation and regulation given the perceived inclination of the partisan court.
“Biden will restrict NFA!” He may want to, but that is a job for the current Congress. “Biden will make ‘AR-14s’ illegal and confiscate them!” Again, he may want to, but there is going to be an awfully ugly road to just getting that idea moving. Expect legal challenges aplenty. “There’s going to be shortages of guns and ammo!” That is likely very true, but it will not be caused by Biden. Those shortages will likely be caused by prolonged panic buying of the United States’ firearms community. “Biden is going to tax the crap out of guns and ammo!” This is an intriguing possibility. It’s certainly possible that this could become a plan of the Biden Administration. Some combination of increased federal excise taxes (FET) on manufacturing of guns and ammo, combined with increased end-user taxes, could certainly be a part of Biden’s plan for gun control. Of course, such a plan would grossly and unfairly affect lower income consumers, and that could easily raise the specter of legal challenges on constitutional grounds supported by such unlikely organizations as the ACLU! “Biden is going to restrict firearms imports!” This, unfortunately, is one of the most likely things that could happen. This power does not fall exclusively on Congress, and history has shown that presidents can, and are allowed to, exercise this authority, albeit on a temporary basis. It could be awhile until certain imports are opened up again.
The net, net? We are going to have an uncomfortable time. It’s not going to be great for the firearms community, but it is not going to be as bad as many are currently lamenting. Ultimately, all of this is because there were not enough of us to get out and vote for things that are important. That has to change. A huge number of people cast ballots in the 2020 election. The next election needs to be even more. Every election needs to see more and more people voting to confirm and support the inviolate nature of the Second Amendment. The responsibility is squarely upon our shoulders.
The NFATCA board and leadership have worked through a variety of political administrations with a variety of intentions and objectives. We have always remained true to our goal of making more NFA opportunities available to more people, more often. We work with legislators and regulators to expand NFA opportunities for everyone, regardless of the politics in charge. We thank you for your continued support. Thank you and don’t forget to sign up or renew your membership today at nfatca.org/join.htm.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V25N2 (February 2021)|