On Feb. 14, President Joe Biden made the usual call for “common sense” gun control that Democrats make when they get into power. Like other leaders who wish to impose more restrictions on gun ownership, he conjured images of mass shootings at schools and other incidents to promote his effort to ban certain types of firearms and generally make it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to protect themselves.
Also, as Democrats are wont to do, he brought black Americans into the conversation because of soaring gun violence rates in areas with high African American populations. But like his anti-gun comrades, Biden is using the black community only as a platform from which to virtue-signal.
The Biden Call for Common Sense
The president released a statement on the anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, calling on Congress to implement “common sense” gun law reforms. He vowed that his administration would take a proactive approach to the problem of Americans owning guns, declaring he “will not wait for the next mass shooting” to take action.
The Biden administration’s gun agenda is slightly more aggressive than what Democrats have proposed in the past. These “reforms” include banning assault weapons, requiring background checks for all firearm sales, prohibiting high-capacity magazines, and removing immunity for gun manufacturers “who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
Biden Cites Black Gun Homicide Rates
But aside from the usual “guns are bad” folderol, the president’s statement also brought up gun violence in predominantly black areas. He referenced the unfortunate increase in homicides in major U.S. cities in 2020, “including the gun violence disproportionately devastating Black and Brown individuals in our city.” He wrote, “we mourn for all those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.”
On the surface, it appears that Biden is genuinely concerned about the impact of gun homicides on black Americans. But one does not need to dig much deeper to see his overture for what it is: meaningless virtue-signaling and pandering.
A vast majority of gun homicides – especially in cities with heavily African American populations – are committed using handguns, not the so-called “assault weapons” that Biden’s agenda plans to target. Even if the president were to get his way on firearms, it would have a negligible effect on decreasing gun homicides.
A Pew Research survey found that, overall, handguns are most commonly used to commit homicides:
“In 2017, handguns were involved in the majority (64%) of the 10,982 U.S. gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters for which data is available, according to the FBI. Rifles – the category that includes many guns that are sometimes referred to as ‘assault weapons’– were involved in 4%. Shotguns were involved in 2%. The remainder of gun homicides and non-negligent manslaughters (30%) involved firearms that were classified as ‘other guns or type not stated.’”
To add more nuance to the conversation, another study revealed that in 80% of incidents involving gun violence, the perpetrator obtained the firearm illegally, which means Biden’s proposal would do very little to decrease gun violence in black neighborhoods. Indeed, it could make it more difficult for law-abiding black Americans living in these areas to protect themselves.
Over the past year, the rate of black gun ownership has climbed considerably. This increase is partly due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide civil unrest that broke out last year. Nevertheless, it is clear that black Americans are embracing their Second Amendment rights more than ever before.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration is seeking to make it more difficult for all Americans to defend themselves, and it has no qualms with trotting out black America when it suits this purpose.
Read more from Jeff Charles.