Joe Biden rolled out his gun-grabbing plan at a press conference on Thursday, calling gun violence a “public health crisis,” which should send a chill up the spine of every gun owner in America.
Quoth he: “But I also — today, we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis. Nothing — nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment. They’re phony, arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about.”
Later in the remarks, Biden added, “For a fraction of the cost of gun violence, we can save lives, create safe and healthy communities, and build economies that work for all of us, and save billions of American dollars.”
After what our country has been through over the last year with the endless COVID-19 lockdown orders, the words “public health crisis” are very ominous indeed. Tin-pot dictators in governors’ mansions across the county have used those words to impose the most draconian–not to mention unconstitutional and extra-legislative–regulations our nation has ever seen.
In Ohio, for example, Gov. Mike DeWine, who calls himself a Republican, had used an obscure bit of the Ohio Revised Code to close schools, order masks and lockdowns, shutter private businesses, and change the rules for the primary election on the fly. DeWine has defended his actions, saying that state law allows the department of health to have “supervision of all matters relating to the preservation of the life and health of the people and have ultimate authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.” (Aside: the Ohio legislature recently revised the language in the ORC and clipped DeWine’s wings to some extent, but the governor still has rather broad power to mandate all sorts of policies.)
While Ohio has thus far only used the broad health department authority to deal with the pandemic, what’s to stop DeWine (who was a Senate co-sponsor of a bill reestablishing the so-called “assault weapons” ban with Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer in 2004) from declaring a public health emergency on guns, citing the health department’s mandate to “[preserve] the life and health of the people”? Other gun-grabbing governors could do the same, and God only knows what kind of powers the Biden administration might dig up in the kajillion-page federal code.
Conservatives have been warning about the slippery slope that could result from these declarations of public health emergencies. Government tyrants have been getting away with using powers not granted to them by the legislature to impose whatever mandates their authoritarian hearts desire–sometimes, as in the case of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home order, with deadly consequences. The courts, unfortunately, have been slow to step in and inconsistent in their rulings, allowing the unconstitutional government orders to continue apace.
I fear it’s only a matter of time before someone gets the idea to regulate gun ownership by declaring a public health emergency. Is that what Biden’s up to with the language above? Time will tell, but don’t be surprised if whoever is running the show at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue tries to make an end-run around Congress to push through emergency orders to confiscate guns from those deemed a “health risk,” beginning with anyone who attended the Trump rally on Jan. 6. My firearms were, unfortunately, lost in a tragic boating accident, so I don’t have to worry about it, but you definitely should.