A common refrain from Joe Biden over the past decade has been his commitment to hunters and other sportsmen. In a 2013 Facebook town hall event with Parents magazine, then Vice President Biden proudly stated, “no one’s taking my shotguns” when the issue of the Second Amendment was addressed.
Biden has stuck to his guns – or more accurately his shotguns – many times when the issue of gun control has been brought up. The same year as the town hall, Biden offered advice for self-defense – buy a shotgun, not an assault rifle.
“You don’t need an AR-15,” Biden said as reported by the Reuters News Agency at the time. “It’s harder to aim. It’s harder to use and in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun.”
By sticking to those shotguns, presidential candidate Biden even earned support from sportsmen and sportswomen – or at least he claimed to have their support.
The JoeBiden.com website featured a page that included a rousing endorsement from such sportsmen/sportswomen for Biden, “We are men and women who love to hunt, fish, and spend as much time in the great American outdoors as we can. We’re supporting Joe Biden for President because he understands that unless we do a better job of conserving our fields, forests, streams, rivers, and public lands, we won’t be able to preserve our hunting and fishing traditions and pass those down to future generations as so many of our parents and grandparents did for us. We know Joe, and we know that he’ll protect the rights of every responsible gun owner.”
However, no actual organization was named on the website, and it seems that the group was actually launched by the Biden campaign. While it is true Biden gained the support of some former state directors of natural resources, it should be stressed that hunters and sportsmen/sportswomen make up just one segment of gun owners.
President Biden is playing the same sort of misleading game on the subject that President Barack Obama played – and that is tying the Second Amendment and issue of firearms to hunters.
During the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Obama famously told Outdoor Life magazine he supported the Second Amendment because he supported hunters.
“There are close to 40 million Americans who hunt and fish. Hunting and Fishing play an important part in our economy and our heritage as a nation. I am courting sportsmen because my policies, actions and decisions as President will advance the goals of hunters and anglers,” Obama explained.
He added, “I believe that the federal government should protect the rights of law-abiding Americans to own and use guns to hunt, target shoot, protect their families and for other purposes.”
However, throughout his administration, Obama typically compared gun owners to sportsmen – as if they were essentially interchangeable. Now President Biden is doing the same thing.
Left out are the millions of gun owners who are sport shooters but not sportsmen/sportswomen, as well as those who have a gun – including an AR-15 – for home defense. Rarely mentioned by most politicians are gun collectors.
These categories of law-abiding gun owners are completely overlooked by Biden.
The fact is that the modern sporting rifle, which Obama and Biden both described as an assault rifle, is actually one of the most popular platforms for sport shooters. Moreover, the platform has proved ideal for hunting as well, so the argument that “no one needs an AR-15” as Biden has suggested on numerous occasions suggests he is out of touch with the platform.
As for collectors, Biden has barely acknowledged them – yet many of the proposed laws would greatly impact them. Collectors routinely buy and sell firearms, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) even has a class of Federal Firearms License (FFL) specifically for this type of individual. The Curios & Relics (C&R) doesn’t allow one to operate as a dealer, it does allow for the purchase and even shipping of specific firearms that fall under the BATFE’s C&R list.
However, if Biden’s calls for new firearms legislation result in laws, it will be the sport shooters and collectors that suffer. Yet, it is unlikely that criminals, who never pay attention to any of these laws, are impacted in the least.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.