Second Amendment

Joe Biden Does Not Understand the Second Amendment

The Democratic presidential candidate favors the same magazine limit that a federal appeals court just declared unconstitutional.


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.

After promising to respect the Second Amendment in 2004, 2008, and 2012, the Democrats erased the constitutional provision from their 2016 platform, although they did mention "the rights of responsible gun owners." This year's platform omits that phrase as well.

"I respect the Second Amendment," Biden insisted last March while arguing with a Detroit autoworker about gun control. But the evidence he offered was not exactly reassuring.

"I have a shotgun," Biden said. "My sons hunt." He notably omitted any mention of the right to self-defense, which the Supreme Court has recognized as the Second Amendment's "central component," or of handguns, which the justices described as the "quintessential self-defense weapon."

In explaining his plan to ban "high-capacity magazines," Biden also talks about hunting. "Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun," his campaign says. "That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children."

The three-round limit suggested by that non sequitur would be clearly unconstitutional, effectively banning all semi-automatic firearms and revolvers. But judging from an expired federal law that Biden supported, he would be more generous, allowing magazines with capacities of up to 10 rounds—the same as the limit set by California, which made it a crime to manufacture, transfer, or even possess "large-capacity magazines" (LCMs).

As the 9th Circuit noted, that law covered half of the magazines owned by Americans—115 million out of 230 million, according to one estimate. LCMs come standard with some of the most popular firearms sold in the United States, including "Glocks, Berettas, and other handguns that are staples of self-defense."

Given that context, LCMs clearly are not the sort of "unusual" arms that the Supreme Court has said fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment. To the contrary, they are "in common use" for lawful purposes, the test the Court has set for arms that Americans have a constitutional right to own.

California argued that no one really needs LCMs for self-defense. Millions of Americans clearly disagree, and so do police officers, who were exempted from the state ban.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, whose 2019 decision blocking enforcement of California's law was upheld by the 9th Circuit last week, noted that the rationale for the ban hinged on a small subset of "extremely rare" crimes: cases where the need to switch magazines creates a "critical pause" during which a mass shooter's victims might overpower him or escape. For gun owners confronted in their homes or businesses by violent criminals—a situation much more common than mass shootings—that "critical pause" can become a "lethal pause," Benitez observed.

In any case, the 9th Circuit concluded, the law's speculative benefits cannot possibly justify its sweeping breadth. "California's near-categorical ban of LCMs strikes at the core of the Second Amendment," it said.

Biden does not merely disagree with that analysis. The evidence suggests he does not even understand it.

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  2. And reason wakes up from slumming with blmantifa and hookers and druggies to realize that maybe Biden ain’t so good.

    1. ENB will be back to that tomorrow am with the roundup.

    2. This article is an exercise in minimization. Biden understands full well the Second Amendment. He just wants to ignore it because it does not suit his wish to deny people defense of arms.

      It’s as dishonest as he is.

      1. That’s what I was going to say: He understands it perfectly well, and intends to violate it.

        1. Well, I believe that Dementia Joe doesn’t understand much of anything anymore but, those who are pulling his strings understand the 2nd Amendment and they absolutely hate it. A disarmed populace is much easier to control. Unfortunately for them, they could never get 2A repealed so, they’ll use whatever unconstitutional trick they can to completely nullify it.

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      2. Agreed, sort of. He clearly understands it is to his benefit to be opposed to 2A to the point of nullification because that is what his constituency believes to be the “right thing to do;” at the same time I do not put it past him to actually believe that 2A is really only about hunting ducks with his fucking shotgun.

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  3. The RTKBA has become a partisan issue thanks to one political party despite the best efforts of most gun owners and the NRA to keep it strictly non-partisan.

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    2. Only one party has plans that they know would spark a popular armed revolt, so only one party has serious objections to the right.

  4. I would guess about 80+% of politicians in Washington don’t understand what the actual purpose of the 2nd amendment is.

    1. And I would bet that most of them DO understand the purpose, and hate the idea that commoners, who might resist government overreach, deserve to have weapons.

    2. For Democrats, it’s something to run on and motivate their supporters to vote. Right in line with abortion and race [vote for us or it will be the end of civilization as we know it, Nancy Pelosi, on several occasions].

  5. The 9th (no surprise) and Biden (no suprise either) are both wrong then. The Second Amendment isn’t about home defense from criminals or the right to hunt, both of which were assumed as a given in the Founders’ day. The Second Amendment is about leaving the people armed with weapons of military usefulness, to pose a serious obstacle to any would-be tyrants. Which is the real reason would-be tyrant Harris is concerned about “gun violence”.

    1. Ol’ Joe, and all democrats fully understand the second amendment.
      That is why they want to neuter it.
      They don’t have the balls (or votes) to repeal it, so they chip away. Given the now open contempt for the first amendment as well, I wonder what truly evil end game they are playing for that we must be unarmed when it is finally revealed?

      1. If the First and the Second can be mangled beyond recognition, why not a few common-sense limits on the Third, when the government has a compelling interest?
        So for the government’s compelling interest in helping educate the recalcitrant in the Glorious Equality Peoples’ Revolution, you will be expected to shelter a citizen volunteer from the AOC Youth Brigade in your home. And keep them supplied freshly laundered and iron brown shirts.

        1. Of course then the fourth is pretty well fucked too, and the 10th never really existed.

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  7. Lowering gun violence is simple, end drug prohibition. It’s funny how no Democrat ever suggests that.

    1. The one has only a little to do with the other, IceTrey. It’s a cultural problem at this point, much more than it’s an criminal organization dispute resolution problem. Sure, getting rid of the War On Some Drugs will help. A little. But the problem of violent crime isn’t getting solved, or appreciably lowered, until violent, present-oriented people with low to no impulse control, are removed from society.

      These guys are killing each other over petty slights that would be ignored, or dealt with in a nonviolent manner, in a civilized society and it’s a majority of the violence. Making every drug legal won’t change that. Locking up the proven violent might.

      1. The fundamental issue is generational dependence on welfare, the down stream effects of that are all bad.

        1. I can’t disagree. Getting rid of it is certainly worth a try.

          Not that it will ever happen until Chinese mushrooms bloom.

      2. The statistics disagree. Approximately one third of annual gun deaths are suicides. While tragic, cross-cultural studies show that restricting one means of suicide merely diverts the depressed and mentally ill to other means. Suicides are not relevant to gun violence.

        Of the remainder, just over half are directly tied by police to drug-related crimes. Get rid of the misnamed War on Drugs and pretty much all of those will dry up within a few years. Remember that people made exactly these same observations about the rise in organized crime during Prohibition. The reductions in violent crime followed the repeal very quickly. It won’t go to zero but it will drop a lot.

        The idea that it’s all a culture of bravado and violence is far more Hollywood than reality. And this also is something we can see in history. Even the Wild West wasn’t nearly as wild as most people think.

        1. Not sure where you get your stats, but per CDC’s WISQARS database, in 2018 (latest year available) there were over 24,000 suicides by gun and 14,000 unjustifiable homicides by gun. Suicides by gun dwarf murders.

    2. Even simpler, and more efficient and effective: lock up all young black urban males.

      That would instantly save more lives than all the BLM, defund-the-police, gun control, and post-modernist Marxist bullshit could ever hope to do. So therefore, justified, right?

      1. not very libertarian though, indicting a group instead of actual individuals

    3. That reduces government power instead of growing it, so it can safely be ignored.

  8. It would be shorter if we’d list the things Joe Biden understands at this point.

    1. Unlike Drumpf, Biden understands that it’s wrong to put kids in cages.

      1. The evidence suggests he [Biden] does not even understand it.

        Truer words, never spoken. This is the high point for Brain-Damaged Biden. Hope he enjoys it.

      2. Really? Biden was VP for eight years, under a President who presided over agencies actively locking up kids in cages. What did he do about it then?

        1. He was VP; his job was mostly just showing up for State funerals.

        2. He made a video advocating using a shotgun for home defense instead of an AR-15 (according to Joe because the AR-15 recoil is too hard!), and advocating firing through a closed door. That’s one outright lie (unless even back then, Joe was too stupid to tell the difference between recoil and loud noise), and the worst legal advice I’ve ever heard.

          1. More recently, he said we need to train cops to “shoot to wound” unarmed people instead of shooting to kill. Apparently the option of training cops to just not shoot unarmed people doesn’t compute for him as a possibility.

            He did cite a person holding a knife as an example of someone who’s “unarmed” though, so maybe he just doesn’t know what words mean in a more general sense.

      3. People like OpenBordersLiberal-tarian are what destroyed the LP. The LP is no infested with these indoctrinated woke religious cultists. JoJo is even pandering to these scum.

  9. The law is meaningless to Biden. just like all other procecuters the law always says he is right and should have total power.

    1. To a democrat, laws are things that don’t apply to the, but are useful as weapons against anyone who is not part of their groupthink.

  10. I’ve never heard an explanation that’s even semi-coherent that tells me why a 10-round magazine is okay and an 11-round magazine isn’t. And the Democrat Party is supposedly the super-educated Party Of Science.

    1. Because most Democrats do not have math skills, and struggle with quantities great than the number of fingers?

  11. In uncle Joe’s defense, the courts do not understand it either.

  12. “It’s within our grasp to end our gun violence epidemic and respect the Second Amendment, which is limited.”

    Biden understands “gun violence” is not a *pandemic*, thanks to bans “grasped” by other countries.

  13. “Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun,” his campaign says. “That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children.”

    Joe Biden in support of hunting children. I’m not on board but it takes guts to stand up for what you believe in.

    I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!

    1. The funny thing is that law was passed in the 1930s and the three round limit was supported by bird hunters, many of whom hunted with double barreled shotguns at the time. It was passed to ensure that those who hunted with the more expensive pump and semi-automatic shotguns didn’t have an unfair advantage. It also promotes better marksmanship, as you can’t just bang away at a flock of birds until one drops. This decreases the number of crippled birds. My shotgun can hold five rounds but I keep it plugged at three so I can hunt migratory birds. This really does force you to slow down and make that first shot count.

      1. It has also been my experience that if I miss with the first shot, I rarely will hit anything with the second or third shot.

        1. Usually true for me as well. As is the converse – if I hit with the first shot, I hit with the rest of them.

          1. Yeah if you’re off on your swing through its very difficult to get back on. But if you’re on, you’re on. My Dad is a far better shot than me (with just about anything but a pistol) but two years ago on opening day I was in the zone, dropped 5 wigeons to his two that day. I find the less I think about it, other than forcing myself to slow down and mount properly (I think 80% of my missed shots are a buried mount that throws off my line of sight) I tend to shoot better. Don’t try to guess the bird but just swing through and let instinct take control.

      2. Ironically today semi-automatic and pumps are the cheaper choice while O/U and side by sides are damn expensive in most cases. CZ has some affordable models, as does Stevens. I picked up a decent 20 O/U for the wife, it’s a Turkish made Tri-Star O/U. The cheaper CZs also tend to be Turkish made, and Stevens was making theirs in Japan last I heard.

        1. Still have my Ruger Red Label. It is from years ago during the first iteration. I paid around 600 for it new. That’s how old it is. Still shoots sweet. I also have a Weatherby O/U. Bought when they first made them. I believe they were made in Japan. A sweet shooting shotgun is my Browning Double Automatic, it’s another oldie.

    2. Squirrelly eats pieces of shit morning, noon, and night.

  14. Democrats never say they support your right to self defense, or your individual right to bear arms.

    They say they “respect the second amendment.”

    Translation: “I’ll tell you what the second amendment really says right before we repeal it.”

    1. To be fair, Democrats do not support any individual autonomy, so at least they are consistent.

  15. Even if you want to give Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt for owning a shotgun, his allies are beyond the pale regarding their hate for the 2A.

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  17. He does understand that gun control laws are an effective method of furthering mass incarceration.

    1. And prosecutions can be targeted at people who tend to vote Republican.

      1. I was unaware that blacks tend to vote Republican, since they have been the ones against whom prosecutions have been targeted.

  18. Perhaps Mr. Biden simply thinks the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is wrong. Does Mr. Sullum think that the Court always gets it right, or that it is “wrong” for Americans to disagree with the Court? I think liberals “overreached” in Roe v. Wade, which is why the Court keeps accepting state laws that clearly restrict what is supposed to be a constitutional right. Libertarians keep moaning at the way the Court now dodges 2nd Amendment issues. Perhaps because the Court now thinks the Scalia Court overreached itself on the “right to a Glock”?

    1. Perhaps *you* don’t understand “…shall not be infringed.”
      Which is every bit as predictable as Joe’s confusion.

      1. Perhaps? There ain’t no perhaps about it.

        He certainly doesn’t understand the difference between a constitutionally protected right and a legal precedent. Comparing the 2nd Amendment to Roe v Wade is like comparing apples to turnips.

  19. Add this to the growing list of what Joe doesn’t understand.

    1. Along with what day of the week it is?

  20. What the 2A, or any part of the BOR means, depends entirely on who has the power to interpret and apply it. And that can only be protected if there is a sufficient plurality of us to ensure that it is. Beyond that the entire Constitution is nothing more than a curious historical document.

    If you don’t believe that just watch what would happen with Madame [Vice] President Harris in charge with Dem majorities in both houses and a liberal majority on the USSC [including Roberts who will do anything to prevent a political packing]. They’ll then be granting cert on every 2A case that comes down the pike.

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  22. “Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun,” his campaign says. “That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children.”

    How many shells are you permitted when hunting children? Birdshot or buckshot?

  23. Just understand, the Democrats are not expected to be beholden to any Constitutional provision or judicial precedent they do not like. Once you accept that, there are no contradictions in Democrat political positions possible.

    1. The Second Amendment places limits on government and limits on government are what Democrats oppose most of all

  24. Minor note: Large Capacity Magazine is a nonsensical term and probably shouldn’t be used by anyone trying to write a serious article. For a start, eleven isn’t “large”. We do not refer to egg cartons which hold a dozen eggs as “large capacity egg cartons”. We don’t refer to gas tanks which hold 13 gallons of fuel as “large capacity gas tanks.” The word “large” used in this way is meant to imply that they are somehow unusual in their capacity. In fact, for many of the most popular weapons (AR platform, double stack semi-automatic pistols) an 11 round magazine would actually be a small capacity magazine. In trying to ban magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, they are not trying to ban large capacity magazines, but in most cases standard and even small capacity magazines.

  25. They know why the 2nd is there and what it means and that’s precisely why they want it gone. It gives license and ability to citizens to kill said politicians in the event we feel it’s come to that. They have just witnessed how inept and ineffective cops are to stop simpletons from being violent, literally running off entire cop shops. Now think about those same cops trying to tamp out a flare up in the gun owners lol they don’t stand a chance and they’re all that stands between the people and the politicians.

    1. No. It gives the populace lethal means to protect themselves from a mob.

    2. I think it would be a bit different. With the current protests the police are limited in how they can respond even in using non lethal means to control crowds. If politicians’ lives are in jeopardy even flame thrower use by police would be okay.

  26. It’s sad that some hunters fall for the “we won’t do anything to restrict hunting” schtick that the gun-grabbers have been ladling out for years. Leftists hate hunting; they think it’s barbaric and stupid. At best, they’ll go after the hunters last.

  27. I don’t think politicians are actually concerned about citizen militias threatening government rule. If they did we wouldn’t get treated to a Ruby Ridge or Bundy Standoff type event every 5-10 years or so. The feds have no problem shooting citizens. The citizens being armed is no deterrent, if anything it’s an excuse. I don’t think Biden (or even Harris) has a “master plan” to enact a final solution to popular resistance to their rule. They aren’t clever enough for that and I dislike assuming people are puppy-kicking levels of evil just to fit my political narrative.

    What I believe is actually going on is gun rights are a thing strongly supported by The Right while gun control is a thing strongly supported by The Left. It’s pure culture war. Note that criminal penalties for violent crimes are never enlarged. The left is currently trying to bring overbearing police forces to heel (at least in certain areas). They have no interest or appetite for getting guns out of inner city ghettos. Those places are full of straight-ticket blue-to-the-bone democrats. They want to take guns from mainly rural mainly white people as a way of culturally attacking them. It has nothing to do with safety or government oppression and everything to do with Owning The Clingers.

    1. The left is attacking police to discredit government as whole. It has nothing to do with the fallacy of an “overbearing police force”. It’s a classic insurgency strategy.

      1. I think they only want to discredit enlightenment-oriented government that respects property rights and values individual autonomy. The kind that the US Constitution delivers.

        They have no shortage of love for the kind of government and police they envision. In fact they all but worship it.

  28. Stale joke, but you could have saved yourself the trouble and stopped at “Joe Biden Does Not Understand.”

  29. 1. The Second Amendment was created expressly in reference to “weapons of war”, “military weapons”, and “assault weapons”. While there may be regulations placed on ownership, ownership and possession may not be denied. The Hughes Amendment is flagrantly unconstitutional, and a civil rights violation. It should have been struck down immediately, and needs to be repealed immediately. 2. There’s no such thing as a LCM, the majority of the magazines banned by this bill are standard capacity.

  30. Of course they omit anything in their platform that relate to the private use of firearms. If people could not defend their person and property with firearms then these mobs who seem to be outside the law would unleash a reign of terror just like the Bolsheviks and Browns Shirts did.

    Imagine these mobs coming to a neighborhood near you. Is your left wing mayor, country commissioner or governor going to tell the cops to hold fast and protect your property? Will that same politician tell the cops to hold fast to protect your property when they have a similar mob outside their door?

  31. The time to change magazines is so trivial that it is a non-issue. After a day of practice, most people can change out a magazine so fast that it has no practical impact on the number of total rounds they can put downrange in a given time frame. Unless you’re talking 1-3 round magazines… which is not on the table, yet…

  32. The so-called gun-rights groups and self-described gun-rights lawyers do not understand the Second Amendment either. According to them, the Second Amendment does not protect rifles, shotguns, or handguns, unless the handguns are carried concealed and one has a government-issued permission slip.

    Whatever the Second Amendment may protect, it does not protect the carrying of concealed weapons.

  33. Re: “Joe Biden Does Not Understand the Second Amendment”

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights where it says “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the Continental Army. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or “prevent misconstruction or abuse” of the government’s powers – so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who – for whatever reason – don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. History has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising.

  34. Re: ” the Second Amendment, which is limited”

    I’m assuming the “limited” comment is in reference to the Heller decision.
    Anti-gunners interpret “limited” to be a green light to ban any firearms they don’t like. Another interpretation, which is codified in existing laws, is that if you misuse a firearm or kill someone illegally you can be denied your right to own any firearms and be incarcerated or executed. Note also that the court didn’t say the ownership of any firearm is “limited” as that would have conflicted with the 1934 National Firearms Act

  35. “Biden’s presidential campaign, which promises a raft of new gun restrictions while barely nodding toward the Constitution”

    which is only one of the problems with their agenda. their policy prescriptions are notably lacking in the most important aspect of policy intended to reduce violent crime or even “gun crime”. they don’t work. they offer no appreciable improvement in outcomes regarding criminal acts, and only offer improvement in overall outcomes when the actions are so draconian as to negate all the positive impacts of individual self-defense. public policy must be a balance – public good must outweigh the counterproductive effects induced by that policy. gun control efforts invariably fail in this balance test.

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