The gun control battle in America entered a new chapter Wednesday when Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Biden has been a vocal proponent of restrictive gun control measures in the past, and all signs point to that continuing and in fact increasing as he takes the keys to the White House from Donald Trump. As he assumes the role of Leader of the Free World, Biden looks to take away the basic right to self-defense from millions of Americans. His gun control plan is no secret; his campaign website has an extensive list of action items that he plans to put into effect as president. One of the most popular targets of Democrats is what they call “Assault Weapons”. Biden looks to implement a 1994-style Assault Weapon Ban, except that his ban will go farther.
Assault Weapon Ban
In 1994 Senator Biden and fellow Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein authored the Assault Weapon Ban that President Bill Clinton signed into law. The law was clearly written by people with no actual knowledge of guns because it did nothing to address the lethality of the guns they claim are dangerous. Instead, it limited the number of accessories that could be found on a rifle. Accessories such as bayonet lugs, pistol grips, and extendable buttstocks were limited, but lethality was not. So under the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, a Colt AR-15 was banned, but a Ruger Mini-14 was not. Despite the fact that both guns fired the same caliber of bullet at the same muzzle velocity and the same rate of fire, both guns can accept the exact same 30-round magazines. The AR-15 was banned because it had an extendable buttstock and a bayonet lug. Doesn’t make any sense, does it?
In order to get bipartisan support for the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, Democrats compromised and put in a “sunset” clause, which let the ban expire after a period of 10 years. In 2004, then-President George W. Bush and a Republican majority Congress declined to renew it.
President Biden plans to instruct his Democrat-majority Congress to reintroduce a similar Assault Weapon Ban, and he will sign it into law. It’s unclear if it will have a similar sunset clause in it. With as much partisanship that exists in Washington these days, it’s unlikely.
Executive Order to Ban the Import of “Assault Weapons”
In May of 2019, when Kamala Harris was still in the running for president, she said that if Congress did not act to stop gun violence she would ban the importation of AR-15s to the United States. This is a classic example of people in power who know nothing about guns. With the exception of FN Herstal, a french gunmaker, every single major AR-15 manufacturer is located within the United States already, so banning them from being imported would do nothing.
Joe Biden plans to take Harris’s idea and go one step further, banning the importation of all “assault rifles” into the U.S. That would include AKM variants from around the world like the AK-47, as well as Israeli IWI Tavor and the L85, the UK military’s service rifle.
Depending on the wording of the executive order, his ban could affect hundreds of more firearms manufacturers. If Biden plans to pursue all semi-automatic rifles instead of just “assault-style” rifles, that could potentially ban hundreds of the most common hunting and sporting rifles in the United States right now.
Biden has already issued more executive orders in his first week in office than the five previous presidents combined. It’s unclear when he will get around to the gun control portion of his agenda, but you can be sure that he will get to it.