It certainly is ironic that the son of the man who currently occupies the White House as leader of a staunchly anti-Second Amendment party is facing gun charges. Hunter Biden is accused of lying on a background check form he filled in to purchase a pistol, as well as possession of a firearm while being a user of an illegal drug. He is to appear in a federal courthouse in Wilmington, DE, on Oct. 3 for a hearing.
Hunter’s lawyers tried to keep him out of court by arguing that logistical problems prevented him from traveling to downtown Wilmington. Apparently, one’s physical presence in court is optional if one is a Biden. US District Judge Maryellen Noreika didn’t see it that way, though, and rejected Hunter’s request to appear via video.
Special Counsel David Weiss, who brought the gun charges against Biden, argued that forcing him to appear would boost the “public’s confidence that the defendant is being treated consistently with other defendants.” As it is, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is under enormous pressure to prove that it has not been weaponized to go after Joe Biden’s political opponents while protecting the First Family from allegations of corruption.
Already, Judge Noreika has pushed back the hearing to accommodate a request from Hunter’s attorney. It was originally scheduled for Sept. 26.
Hunter had attempted to avoid the firearms charges by agreeing to enroll in a counseling and treatment program. That proposal was part of what some Republicans have described as a “sweetheart deal” with the DOJ. The deal was thrown out by Noreika because it contained very broad – in fact, seemingly unlimited – immunity from any future charges. The immunity section was so ill-defined that it could practically have been interpreted as a permanent get-out-of-jail-free card for Hunter, who is still embroiled in the corruption investigation surrounding his family.
Hunter Biden and Gun Rights
No doubt, Hunter’s indictment on gun charges will be watched very closely not only by Republicans but also by gun-rights groups. Under Joe Biden, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – commonly known as the ATF – has been hard at work cracking down on firearms retailers and gun owners.
While it is true that few people are prosecuted for making a false statement on a background check form – the ATF form 4473 – the penalty for doing so is steep. It is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. So, the reality is that this law is barely enforced at all.
The problem is, if a user of illegal drugs answers “no” to the question about it on the Firearm Transaction Record, it is quite difficult, in most cases, for the DOJ to prove they lied. How does one prove that an individual uses drugs without expending significant resources on an investigation? This is why almost no convictions – or even criminal charges – arise from answering the drug question falsely. So, in fairness, one could ask whether this question should be included in the background check for gun purchases at all – and should Biden Junior even have been indicted?
Hunter has admitted – in his 2021 memoir – that he was using crack cocaine at the time he purchased his gun in late 2018. So he has publicly acknowledged committing a firearms-related felony. Under this decidedly anti-gun administration, how will it look if Hunter escapes punishment – or even gets off with a relatively light fine? Will it appear that Joe Biden’s DOJ is not taking gun laws seriously or that Hunter got a pass because he’s the president’s son? Neither is a good outcome for the already beleaguered attorney general or an even more heavily scrutinized commander-in-chief.