No doubt feeling the pressure from the more progressive side of the Democratic Party, President Biden – ever a staunch anti-gun advocate himself – took to the Rose Garden to announce six executive actions to address the so-called gun violence epidemic. Some seemed like real action, such as directing the DOJ to come up with a rule on pistol braces and “ghost guns.” Others carried the stench of mere virtue signaling – instructing the DOJ to craft model red flag laws, for instance, or asking for new annual reporting on firearms trafficking.
But through all the executive action and executive posturing rang out the executive call to arms. Biden wants another “assault weapons” ban. He wants to ban “high capacity” magazines, shut down online orders of firearms, parts, and ammunition, require universal background checks for everything gun-related, and suspend due process across the board with a national red flag law. But he wants Congress to pass that legislation on to him so he can sign it into law. Biden must know he owns the House of Representatives, so his call to Congress was aimed directly at the Senate. But will it fall on deaf ears – even amongst some in his own party?
Playing the Wild Cards
The Second Amendment is clear:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
Contrary to popular belief, not every Democrat in the country is blind to this message. As Liberty Nation’s Jeff Charles wrote, “Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) might just be the luckiest man in Washington, D.C. Indeed, over the next two years, he probably won’t have to pay for a single meal because his colleagues from both sides of the aisle will be clamoring to buy him dinner and drinks.”
Manchin and fellow wild card Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) – along with, perhaps, a few others – hold a special place of power right now. With the Democrats enjoying a comfortably progressive hold over the House and the anti-gun Biden leading the White House, these few Democrats who seem to vote their beliefs rather than simply toe the party line could be all that stands between the power-mad majority and what’s left of the minority’s ability to influence legislation. Manchin, specifically, was a Democrats for Life candidate who stood against abortion and for the right to keep and bear arms – and he has been rated “A” by the NRA for his efforts.
No Unity for Dems
With just a couple of exceptions, the GOP isn’t going to buy into Biden’s call for unity against liberty. In the House, this won’t really be a problem. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) gushing praise of Biden’s ideas represents the overall feel in the lower chamber. She said:
“The gun violence crisis demands immediate, effective and strong action – which is why, as House Speaker, I strongly support the gun violence prevention actions taken today by President Biden. These steps will save lives: stopping the spread of so-called ‘ghost guns,’ helping ensure that dangerous people cannot access firearms and leading an evidence-based, whole-of-government initiative to reduce community violence.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also appreciates Biden’s actions, though he says they’re not enough. But it isn’t Schumer who holds the power, here. As LN’s Andrew Moran explained, “[t]he U.S. Senate now has a couple of wild cards on both sides of the aisle. At any moment, Manchin and Sinema could side with the Republicans. At the same time, Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) could join forces with the Democrats.”
Even if the Dems, in general, are willing to nuke or just work around the filibuster, there’s a good chance Manchin and Sinema will tank any attempt at bull-rushing gun control right through the GOP resistance. Will all 50 Democrats answer Biden’s call and do what must be done to pass the legislation desired by the president, or will one or two stand up for the Constitution?
Read more from James Fite.