On Sunday, President Joe Biden did what any respectful head of state would have done on the third anniversary of the Parkland school shooting: He used it to announce partisan, divisive gun control legislation.
“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed” the call for gun control, Biden said in a statement.
“We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer. Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”
The sick irony of all of this is that, putting aside the constitutionality of Biden’s rhetoric, none of these “commonsense gun law reforms” would have effectively changed what happened at Parkland.
There’s no evidence that the gunman using a rifle — as opposed to a handgun — made the shooting either possible or more deadly. Same with so-called “high-capacity magazines.” Background checks wouldn’t have prevented it, either; the shooter would have passed them all.
There’s the potential that “eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets” — coded wording for repealing legislation that rightly gives immunity to gun manufacturers over frivolous lawsuits involving shootings that were done with legally sold and produced weapons — might allow them to be sued out of existence. That is, if politicians let this happen.
But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has a 10-word message for the White House: “Biden won’t undo the #2A in TX on my watch.”
In a Twitter post Sunday evening, hours after Biden released his statement, Paxton lambasted Biden for using the occasion to introduce divisive legislation.
“The Parkland shooting 3 years ago was an act of unspeakable evil,” Paxton wrote.
The Parkland shooting 3 years ago was an act of unspeakable evil. But Democrats cannot be allowed to use this tragedy as an opportunity to cram down unhelpful and unconstitutional gun laws. Biden won’t undo the #2A in TX on my watch. #Comeandtakeit . https://t.co/3s8JTWnuCC
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) February 15, 2021
“But Democrats cannot be allowed to use this tragedy as an opportunity to cram down unhelpful and unconstitutional gun laws. Biden won’t undo the #2A in TX on my watch. #Comeandtakeit.”
Paxton has long been a magnet for liberal invective — as well as at the forefront of conservative challenges to liberal overreach.
Two days after Biden was inaugurated, Paxton became the first state attorney general to challenge the new administration in court, suing over the 100-day deportation moratorium imposed by the new president. It was at least temporarily successful, as well — on Jan. 26, the Houston Chronicle reported, a judge blocked Biden’s halt to deportations.
“Texas has persuasively demonstrated a substantial risk of irreparable harm in part because of the potential increased flow of illegal aliens from other states,” U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton wrote in his opinion, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.”
The order, he added, “not only fails to consider potential policies more limited in scope and time, but it also fails to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.”
Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin.
AND WE WON.
Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze.
*This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection. And my team and I stopped it.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) January 26, 2021
The likelihood that Biden’s proposals will turn into a legislative victory is somewhat limited. Without invoking the so-called “nuclear option” and eliminating the filibuster, Democrats will face a nearly impossible path to getting the legislation through the Senate, where they control only 50 of the 60 votes currently needed to force a final vote on any gun control measure.
And even the “nuclear option” assumes they don’t lose any of their own votes. At least three of their own — Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana — might be willing to vote against gun control measures, being politically vulnerable back in their home states. Two of them, Manchin and Sinema, have promised to honor the filibuster as the basis of all legislation.
Of course, there’s another avenue for this. According to The Hill, Biden administration officials have signaled to gun control groups they were willing to use executive orders to push some of this agenda through. Given Biden’s already-promiscuous use of executive action, some of this could end up taking shape through that avenue.
It’s not as popular as liberals might think, however. According to a Gallup poll in November, 57 percent favored stricter gun laws. While that may sound like a solid majority, that’s the lowest level since 2016, according to Gallup.
It’s also worth noting that during the Obama administration, the number dipped precipitously low, with only 43 percent supporting stronger gun laws in 2011, prior to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Gallup reported.
It seems when there’s the possibility a president might do something about gun control, support for it drops.
If Biden still decides to rely on executive action, however, attorneys general like Paxton will be lining up to challenge it. Our Second Amendment rights could depend upon their success.
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