Gun Control

The New Federal Gun Law Violates Our Civil Liberties

It is unlikely to stop mass shootings, but it will restrict Second Amendment rights and unjustly send people to prison.


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"I'm about to sign into law a bipartisan … gun safety legislation," President Joe Biden said at the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act on June 25. "And time is of the essence. Lives will be saved….When it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential. If we can reach compromise on guns, we ought to be able to reach compromise in other critical issues."

Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum takes a different view. "The new gun law is not an inspiring example of bipartisan cooperation to protect public safety," he says. "It's an illustration of how the worst instincts of both major parties combine to produce policies that are neither just nor sensible."

This video essay is based on Sullum's July 20 column, "A New Gun Law Reflects the Worst Instincts of Both Parties," and his follow-up article, "Gun Owners Who Are Disqualified Under State Law Can Now Be Charged With 'Trafficking in Firearms'"

Written by Jacob Sullum; edited by Regan Taylor; audio by Ian Keyser. 

Photo credits: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom; Alejandro Alvarez/Sipa USA/Newscom; California Revealed,; CNP/AdMedia/Newscom; Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Exile on Ontario St from Montreal, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; F. Carter Smith / SplashNews/Newscom; GoToVan from Vancouver, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons;John Roca / SplashNews/Newscom; Michael Brochstein/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Rod Lamkey/CNP / SplashNews/Newscom; Shawn Thew / Pool via CNP / SplashNews/Newscom; SDB/ZOJ/Sheri Determan/WENN/Newscom; Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Pool/Sipa USA/Newscom; Yuri Gripas/UPI/Newscom.

Music credits: "Leaving Home" (Instrumental Version), by Oran Loyfer; Too Many Steps, (Instrumental Version), by Oran Loyfer.