Biden Pushes For Further Gun Control Measures Despite Current Agenda Facing Legal, Congressional Pushback

Bronson Winslow 

  • President Joe Biden continues to push for restrictive gun control measures, but many of his initiatives are tied up in court, subject to congressional review or widely opposed by Republican lawmakers.
  • Biden, who has already implemented extensive background checks, red flag law funding, pistol stabilizer rules, ghost gun rules and a “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers, plans to introduce further gun control measures Tuesday.
  • “Biden has always had an anti-gun agenda and on this important constitutional issue has never let the courts, public opinion or the Bill of Rights get in his way,” Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

President Joe Biden has ushered in a litany of restrictive gun control measures since taking office in 2021, but many of his initiatives are now tied up in court, subject to congressional review or widely opposed by lawmakers.

Through both the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the administration’s three-letter agencies, Biden has implemented extensive background checks, red flag law funding, pistol stabilizer rulesghost gun rules and a “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers; however, much of his work is now subject to congressional review and numerous lawsuits. Amidst legal battles over his current gun agenda, Biden is expected to announce additional gun regulations through Executive Order Tuesday, at the location of a mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, in January.

“Biden has always had an anti-gun agenda and on this important constitutional issue has never let the courts, public opinion or the Bill of Rights get in his way,” Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Biden, in collaboration with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF), has imposed a series of gun restrictions on law-abiding Americans, Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders and gun manufacturers since taking office. In April 2022, the Biden administration, ATF and Department of Justice (DOJ) implemented a final rule for the “frame and receiver” of ghost guns aimed at tracking custom, unserialized firearms.

In November, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that the ATF could no longer enforce the ghost gun rule on firearm kit maker Defense Distributed. O’Connor issued a preliminary injunction against the rule, saying it is likely unconstitutional and causes an undue burden on the parts maker, according to the ruling.

“Enforcement efforts upset decades of ATF regulatory precedent against a public that has relied on that historic posture,” O’Connor wrote. “The liberty interests of law-abiding citizens wishing to engage in historically lawful conduct outweighs the Government’s competing interest in preventing prohibited persons from unlawfully possessing firearms.”

In February 2023, following the the ATF’s announcement of the pistol brace final rule, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Second Amendment advocacy group Gun Owners Of America (GOA) filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and ATF saying the rule is “dangerous” and “unconstitutional,” according to a release.

“This is yet another attempt by the Biden administration to create a workaround to the U.S. Constitution and expand gun registration in America,” Paxton said. “There is absolutely no legal basis for ATF’s haphazard decision to try to change the long-standing classification for stabilizing braces, force registration on Americans, and then throw them in jail for ten years if they don’t quickly comply.”

In March, Paxton filed a motion for temporary injunction against the rule.

Since taking office, Biden has instructed the ATF to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers, leading FFL revocations to hit a 16-year high in 2022. The increase in license revocations, 92 in 2022 alone, is due to the new policy and the updated procedure that the ATF follows, as they no longer always go through a multi-step process, often opting to pull licenses for a multitude of “willful” violations.

“That’s not how regulatory agencies are supposed to work in the sector that they’re supposed to regulate. They are supposed to help the companies, they’re supposed to ensure compliance but they’re not supposed to punish and destroy an entire industry based on just political opposition or political distaste,” Gun Owners of America Director of Federal Affairs Aidan Johnston told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

In response to the ATF’s ghost gun rule, pistol stabilizer rule and “zero tolerance” policy, Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Thomas Massie requested ATF Director Stephen Dettelbach testify before Congress in April.

“Just last year, the United States Supreme Court held in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency that under the major questions doctrine, ‘given both separation of powers principles and a practical understanding of legislative intent, the agency must point to ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the authority it claims,’” the Reps wrote.

“This ruling raises serious doubts about ATF’s ability to regulate pistol braces absent a clear mandate from Congress,” they added.

Though Biden has not been able to implement a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” it has not stopped his administration from pushing for one. Biden has made the call at multiple events and following several mass shootings in the early months of 2023.

Biden’s repetitive call for so-called “assault weapon” bans has left many Republican lawmakers uneasy, as a coalition of 15 Republican attorneys general sent a letter in February calling Biden out and opposing his plan to target gun rights.

The coalition questioned Biden’s definition of so-called “assault weapons,” further saying that his call for Congress to ban “assault weapons” is both “irresponsible and unconstitutional,” according to the letter. The coalition referred to Biden’s calls for an assault weapon ban “astonishing,” as there are over 100 million semi-automatic handguns and 45 million semi-automatic rifles in the United States possessed by law-abiding Americans.

Though many of Biden’s initiatives are now tied up in court, subject to congressional review or widely opposed by lawmakers, The president is set to announce a new list of gun control executive orders Tuesday at the location of the Monterey Park, California, mass shooting.

“This is just another chapter in Joe Biden’s war on gun rights. It is a diversion to the Democrat failure to keep Americans safe from violent criminals who are released without bail and are free to prey on us all,” Gottlieb told the DCNF.

Other state legislatures have been fighting Biden’s federal war on guns though different means. Missouri and Montana have opposed Biden’s gun agenda by implementing laws that prevent state governments from assisting with the enforcement of any federal gun laws.

Missouri is currently appealing an Obama appointed judge’s decision to strike down the law. The law will remain intact while the state appeals.

In Texas, Republican state Rep. Bryan Slaton had some “fun” with the federal government in February after introducing a House Committee Resolution that informed the federal government that all of the guns in many of Texas’s counties had been tragically lost in a series of alleged boating accidents. The resolution further notified the Biden administration, and any further administration, that any attempt to “buyback, confiscate or register” the firearms, will not be possible or necessary.

“There’s different ways to respond to federal overreach. And, you know, natural emotion, people get upset, angry, but at some point, my thoughts is, if they’re going to be disrespectful, maybe we should have fun with them,” Slaton told the DCNF. “In a day and time where people can claim to be anything they want and don’t need facts, well okay, fine. We had a series of alleged boating accidents.”

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