Jan. 8, 2021, was the tenth anniversary of the Tucson shooting that took six innocent lives. The event has often been used by anti-gun advocates to argue for stricter gun control legislation. One of the wounded individuals in the shooting was Joe Biden’s friend, congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Biden has pledged to defeat the NRA.
In a statement released on Jan 8, the president-elect promised to bring about stronger gun laws once in power
“As President, I pledge to continue to work together with Congresswoman Giffords, and with survivors, families, and advocates across the country, to defeat the NRA and end the epidemic of gun violence in America,” he said in a statement.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a 5 million-strong organization that seeks to protect the rights of gun owners. A recently published article warned that gun owners should be “ready for the onslaught” as a Biden administration will try to ban and confiscate commonly used rifles in the country as well as place arbitrary limits on the number of guns people can buy every month.
Biden has a long history with gun regulation. In 1993, he played a critical role in getting Congress to pass the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that established the current background check system on firearms. It was argued that the act will keep guns out of dangerous hands. Ironically, the person who shot Giffords 10 years ago acquired a firearm bypassing the same background checks. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to enact the following gun policies:
- Repeal protection for gun manufacturers that prevents them from being held liable for their products.
- Banning manufacture and sale of assault weapons.
- Cutting down on the stockpiling of weapons.
- Banning online sale of guns and ammunition.
- Incentivizing states to enact gun licensing programs.
Despite the argument that tighter gun laws will bring about less violence in society, the truth is less clear. Places that have outlawed firearms (like Chicago) have greater gun violence than those with open carry. There are a considerable number of instances when guns have saved lives, making it difficult to ban guns. Moreover, possessing a gun as a means to protect oneself has deep roots in American culture due to the Constitution and historical precedents.
Last October, a church attacker was shot by people in the church who had guns. The church-goers argued that if Joe Biden’s gun control measures had been passed, they couldn’t have carried any guns and would have ended up as victims themselves. The law is also said to benefit criminals as they will procure guns through the black market while law-abiding citizens will stop carrying guns to avoid punishment. Biden even criticized the person who shot the attacker and saved people in the church, claiming that he “shouldn’t be carrying” the gun.
In December 2020, the NRA had filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey attorney general, declaring that the state’s law on concealed carry of firearms is extremely restrictive. It violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
“It’s outrageous that law-abiding people are being denied their right to self-defense by arbitrary means… Statistics show that self-defense situations come up quickly and without warning. Time and time again, we hear stories about good people who have saved lives because they were carrying a firearm. The state of New Jersey has no reason to deny law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights,” spokeswoman for the NRA Amy Hunter said in a statement.
A report from November showed that there are around 19.48 million people in the country who have a concealed carry permit. Since 2016, it has risen by 34 percent. In 2019 alone, 820,000 permits were given. In 14 states, over 10 percent of the adult population has received the right to carry arms. According to estimates by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Americans own around 434 million firearms.