Friday’s New York Times front-page story by White House reporter Annie Karni portrayed the president bravely fighting another plague: “Biden Moves To Curb Plague Of Gun Crime – Orders Restrictions on Homemade Firearms.” The jump-page headline made President Biden a literal life-saver: “Biden Moves to Save Lives by Regulating Kits to Make Guns.” All because of a Democratic gun crackdown that hasn’t even begun yet.
President Biden, calling gun violence in the United States “an international embarrassment,” took a set of initial steps on Thursday to address the problem, starting with a crackdown on the proliferation of so-called ghost guns, or firearms assembled from kits.
Acknowledging that more aggressive actions like banning assault weapons, closing background check loopholes and stripping gun manufacturers of their immunity from liability lawsuits would have to wait for action from Congress, he said it was nonetheless vital to do what he could on his own to confront what he called an epidemic of shootings that are killing roughly 100 Americans a day.
While the moves the president announced fall far short of the broad legislative changes long sought by proponents of making it harder to buy guns, especially semiautomatic weapons often used in mass shootings, they addressed narrower issues also of intense concern to many Democrats and supporters of gun regulations.
The most substantive of the steps was directing the Justice Department to curb the spread of ghost guns. Kits for these guns can be bought without background checks and allow a gun to be assembled from pieces with no serial numbers.
Heard of ghost guns? The Times has reported on them sporadically – then came the Biden administration fear-mongering, and suddenly they are a favorite of “right-wing extremists” and on the gun-grabber’s priority list.
Ghost guns, experts said, have become particularly appealing to criminal organizations and right-wing extremists who want access to untraceable firearms that do not require any background checks. They are often linked to shootings in states like California that have instituted strict gun laws.
Even a modest step like addressing the issue of ghost guns, which have been in circulation for years, shows how paralyzed the politics surrounding gun control have become.
Despite the National Rifle Association’s financial troubles, the group’s lobbying presence remains formidable and the gun movement’s hold on the Republican Party unshaken. Action on key gun issues -- universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, for example -- remains stalled because of the narrow partisan divide in the Senate and the 60-vote requirement imposed by the filibuster.
The Times never shows any distaste for how teachers unions or Planned Parenthood have a stranglehold on the Democratic Party. Partisan loyalty to special interest groups are noteworthy only when Republicans are involved.
Given the wall of Republican opposition, supporters of more restrictive gun laws and regulations applauded even the modest moves that Mr. Biden announced on Thursday, underscoring how their ambitions have been circumscribed by political realities.
The Times conjured up more lives saved by Biden, based on nothing but wishful thinking.
Outside of mass shootings, gun violence remains the leading cause of death for Black men ages 15 to 34, Mr. Biden said in his remarks, noting that additional funding he has proposed for community violence programs can save lives.
The text box used a lazy term (“epidemic”) to refer to a trend that is not contagious: “Calling for action as about 100 Americans a day are dying in an epidemic of shootings.” Over a year into an actual epidemic, one would think the paper would know better.
Karni concluded by circling back to Biden:
The House passed two gun control bills last month, but they are languishing in the Senate in the face of the chamber’s 60-vote threshold for passing most legislation, which requires the support of at least 10 Republicans.
“They have offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they have passed not a single federal law to reduce gun violence,” Mr. Biden said. “Enough prayers. Time for action.”