When it overturned California’s 10-round magazine limit last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit emphasized what Americans commonly do when they exercise their constitutional right to armed self-defense. Joe Biden, by contrast, thinks the relevant question is how many shells Americans are allowed to have in their shotguns when they hunt migratory birds.
Those two approaches represent the difference between judges who take the Second Amendment seriously and politicians who only pay lip service to it. Biden’s presidential campaign, which promises a raft of new gun restrictions while barely nodding toward the Constitution, shows the extent to which the right to keep and bear arms has become a partisan issue, a development that does not bode well for civil liberties.
The Biden campaign’s website mentions the Second Amendment just once, saying, “It’s within our grasp to end our gun violence epidemic and respect the Second Amendment, which is limited.” Even that grudging acknowledgment is more than the Democratic Party’s platform offers.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has done something unprecedented with his pick of Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) as his running mate: put a candidate on the presidential ticket who publicly supports gun confiscation.
During her failed primary campaign, Harris was one of only a handful of candidates to explicitly advocate for the confiscation of what she estimated to be tens of millions of legally owned firearms.
“We have to have a buyback program and I support a mandatory gun buyback program,” she said during an October policy forum hosted by the gun-control group March for Our Lives. “It’s got to be smart. We’ve got to do it the right way but there are five million [assault weapons] at least, some estimate as many as 10 million, and we’re going to have to have smart public policy that’s about taking those off the streets but doing it the right way.”
While Hillary Clinton advocated for a sales ban and even the reversal of the Supreme Court precedent overturning Washington, D.C.’s total ban on handgun ownership during her 2016 campaign, she never expressed support for any form of direct firearms confiscation. And though Joe Biden has advocated for even more stringent gun-control policies than Clinton—including a ban on all guns without “smart” features—he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last year there is “no legal way” to confiscate guns Americans already own.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.