Advocacy Groups Unhappy with Biden’s Approach to Gun Laws

President Joe Biden
Image of President Joe Biden by Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia

On the fourth anniversary of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed seventeen people, President Joe Biden spoke about gun violence and his desire to implement tougher gun laws.

Fox 4 reported the President advised cities to dive into their COVID-19 relief dollars to aid the movement of managing gun violence.

Per the New York Post, Biden has attempted to stop the manufacture of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms with no serial number that are sometimes purchased with no background check, and pushed Congress to go after gun dealers who pedal them.

“Congress must do much more,” Biden asserted, “beginning with requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers.”

He stated, “Out of the heartbreak of Parkland a new generation of Americans all across the country marched for our lives and towards a better, safer America for us all. Together, this extraordinary movement is making sure that the voices of victims and survivors and responsible gun owners are louder than the voices of gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association (NRA).”

The NRA and other similar groups in favor of the Second Amendment reiterate that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” with emphasis on “shall not be infringed.”

After Biden’s talk, the NRA mentioned remarks the President had previously made at the Gun Violence Task Force meeting in New York City on February 3.

During his speech, he stated, “When the Second Amendment was passed, it didn’t say anybody can own a gun and any kind of gun and any kind of weapon. You couldn’t buy a cannon [when that] amendment was passed.”

The Washington Post, the NRA, and America’s 1st Freedom fact-checked and debunked Biden’s claim, saying citizens could and did own cannons at the time.

The association claims the President’s interpretation of the amendment (or the Constitution as a whole) is fundamentally flawed.

“What the Second Amendment says is that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,’” the organization wrote in the article published to its site. “In other words, it doesn’t qualify who ‘the people’ are, and it doesn’t explain to what types of ‘Arms’ it refers. It makes no reference to what ‘the people’ can do, but it spells out what the government cannot do; it says the right ‘shall not be infringed.’”

“What Biden does not seem to comprehend is the fact that the Constitution spells out our government’s power, including limits to that power—in other words, what it can and cannot do. It does not describe what the government may allow the people to do, as Biden seems to imply,” the organization continued.

The NRA maintains that allowing citizens to possess firearms has not resulted in increased violence, arguing that the correlation is actually the opposite.

Previously, in September 2018, Biden spoke about a change in law that allowed Texas residents to legally carry weapons into places of worship. 

The President summarized: “It is irrational, with all due respect to the Governor of Texas, irrational what they’re doing. And we’re talking about loosening access to have guns, [being] able to take them into places of worship.”

The following year, in White Settlement, Texas, a man entered a church and shot two people with a shotgun. He was fatally shot in return by a man named Jack Wilson, a firearms instructor and former reserve deputy sheriff, who was serving as a volunteer security team member for the church.

America’s 1st Freedom claims the Biden Administration has misrepresented responsible gun owners and law abiding citizens.

“In this story of contemporary America, the good are bad, and the bad, if not good, are just misunderstood,” the group expressed

Meanwhile, many anti-gun citizens and advocacy groups have been vocal about wanting tougher gun laws. Some advocates claim that the gun control laws Biden promised to implement within his first year of office have been put on the back burner.

On the morning of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting’s fourth anniversary, the father of one of the victims allegedly climbed a crane to protest Biden’s failure to make any meaningful changes to gun policy. The man, Manuel Oliver, tweeted a video of himself apparently atop the crane as he unfurled a large poster of his son, Joaquin, and criticized the President’s approach to gun laws.

“The whole world will listen to Joaquin today. He has a very important message,” Oliver said, per CNBC. “I asked for a meeting with Joe Biden a month ago, never got that meeting.”

Not long after, anti-gun activists rallied outside the White House, promoting a website that tracks statistics of gun-related injuries and deaths since Biden became President. The site has a built-in tweet function that allows users to share the statistics and demand action from the Biden administration.

Among the groups present was the youth-led March For Our Lives, Guns Down America, and Change the Ref. The latter group was founded by Manuel Oliver.

Per CNN, the coalition is pushing Biden to “establish a national office of gun violence prevention,” “invest in community violence intervention programs,” and “hold the gun industry accountable.”

“We’re not asking for magical things. This is the bare minimum for what a champion of gun violence prevention should be doing, and thus far the President hasn’t,” said Igor Volsky, the founder and executive director of Guns Down America.

The groups claim that Biden has inched toward gun control, but not made any of the sweeping moves he spoke of in his campaign promises.

“He’s made small steps but it’s not enough. The President hasn’t been receptive to our demands,” said David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting and founder of March for Our Lives.

“As a candidate, Joe Biden promised to prioritize gun violence prevention. As president, Joe Biden has not,” Volsky said, adding, “[Biden and Harris] ran on one of the most comprehensive plans to reduce gun violence. The fact that they haven’t done everything in their power is absolutely unacceptable.”

Note: This article was updated on February 25 at 12:17 a.m. to include additional information.

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