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Hunter Biden – An Unexpected Hero for the Right to Bear Arms?

The Second Amendment may have a new champion.

Hunter Biden, the son of one of the most anti-gun presidents in recent history, now finds himself in the ironic position of Second Amendment champion. How ever did it come to this? The first son was convicted Tuesday, June 11, of three felony firearm charges, coming on the very day his own father gave a speech pushing for more gun control. Now, to avoid potential prison time and the lifelong label of “felon,” the younger Biden’s legal appeal must rely on an interpretation of the Second Amendment that’s very different from the president’s. In an ironic twist of fate, Hunter Biden has become an unlikely champion of the uninfringed right to keep and bear arms.

Grounds for Appeal

In Tuesday’s conviction, the 54-year-old son of the president was found guilty of lying about his drug use on a federal gun background form, lying to the federally licensed dealer, and illegally possessing the firearm for 11 days afterward. The defense team already made the argument that Biden shouldn’t have been asked about his history of drug use to begin with, saying that prohibiting people who used or were addicted to drugs from buying guns violates their Second Amendment rights.

Why, what a novel idea!

To be clear, for the first 179 years after the Constitution took effect on March 9, 1789, there were no “prohibited persons” in federal firearm regulation. Not until the Gun Control Act of 1968 – so for just the last 56 of this nation’s history – has it been a felony crime for “prohibited persons” like drug users, convicted felons, and those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military or renounced their citizenship to buy a gun. For that matter, there were no federal restrictions on who could own what type of arms before the National Firearm Act of 1934. Prior to that, someone in Hunter Biden’s shoes could own a machine gun and be just fine, legally.

And, of course, from the founding of the nation to this very day, anyone – even felons and drug addicts – were and are allowed to own cannons, never mind Joe Biden’s insistence to the contrary.

The right to keep and bear arms applies to far more than just firearms (think swords, knives, and, of course, those pesky cannons). As protected by the Second Amendment, it comes from an older idea that had previously been articulated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The right to keep and bear arms is necessary to protect the right to life or liberty – without it, that so-called right is little more than pretty words on fancy paper. As such, suppressing this right for “prohibited persons” is suppressing their right to adequate self-defense, thus relegating them to a class that falls somewhere short of actual personhood.

Should Hunter’s appeal fail, he will be a convicted felon as well as a former addict. That won’t make it legal for someone else to execute him or lock him up in a cage somewhere; he’ll still have the right to not be attacked or unlawfully imprisoned. Yet the current law of the nation, while recognizing this, declares he does not have the right to arm himself adequately to protect his life or liberty from violent criminals hoping to do him harm.

Is Hunter Biden Making the 2A Case?

A win for Hunter Biden on Second Amendment grounds would be a serious blow to the legitimacy of laws like the Gun Control Act of 1968 – and he actually does have a strong chance of success, especially after the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, Superintendent of New York State Police, et al., and especially if the Court also rules in favor of Zackey Rahimi in US v. Rahimi.

The Bruen ruling requires all gun control laws be held to a strict historical standard, rendering unconstitutional any that don’t line up with how the right to keep and bear arms was interpreted historically. Both Hunter Biden (former drug addict and now felon) and Zackey Rahimi (who possessed a firearm while under a domestic violence protective order) would have been allowed to purchase and own a firearm throughout most of America’s history. As such, they claim that they still should be allowed that right today – and there’s a good argument to be made that a win for either would bolster the other’s case.

If either or both win their cases, perhaps it means that there can be no prohibited persons moving forward. Then again, maybe the ultimate ruling will just mean drug addicts and people under restraining orders won’t fall into that category anymore. Whatever the eventual outcome, the right to keep and bear arms is once again being examined for groups of people who have had their right to self-defense – indeed, their very personhood – oppressed for half a century.

Read More From James Fite

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