WILMINGTON, Delaware — As part of a plea deal, Hunter Biden will plead guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax and enter into a Pretrial Diversion Agreement over the “possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.” The plea deal will see the president’s son avoid any jail time.
The gun charge stems from the younger Biden acquiring a firearm in 2018 while being addicted to crack cocaine. Hunter Biden purchased a Colt Cobra .38spl revolver from a Delaware gun store that year, stating on an ATF Form 4473 that he was not a current user of any illegal substances. Later, the firearm was recovered from a dumpster behind a grocery store, where it was disposed of by his lover, who happened to be his deceased brother’s wife, Hallie Biden. Shortly after, Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop would be turned over to the FBI and others, showing damning evidence of Hunter Biden’s fondness for crack cocaine and prostitutes. The gun charge could have landed Biden in prison for ten years.
Many on the conservative side of the aisle pointed out the hypocrisy of Biden not being criminally charged while others faced incarceration for the same violation. Others called for the prosecution of Biden for lying on a 4473. While I can understand and sympathize with people that wanted to see Hunter Biden prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, we must not let our disdain for the corruption in the Biden family dilute our own no-compromise gun rights position.
Biden lied on an ATF Form 4473, and recently, in U.S. v. Holden, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a conviction of a man who lied on the background check form. A three-judge panel ruled that no matter how constitutionally dubious the 4473 form is, John Holden had no right to lie on a form to acquire a firearm. The panel stated that Holden could have simply not answered the question. The catch is that the gun store would then be unable to sell him the firearm. The court’s answer to this conundrum would be for the prospective buyer to sue the federal government.
Many readers will sympathize with the plight of Holden but celebrate the downfall of Biden. To be true no-compromise gun rights advocates, we must put aside our personal feelings about the Biden family.
Focus on the bigger picture: the constitutionality of the 4473 and the laws prohibiting users of drugs from owning firearms.
First, let’s look at the Seven Circuit’s assertion that Holden could have chosen not to answer certain questions on the 4473. If he didn’t, it is almost certain that the gun store would not have transferred the firearm leaving him no choice but to sue the federal government. Taking on the federal government in court is a costly endeavor and could take years to get the appropriate relief. Very few people can afford such a case. Holden’s only real choices were to lie on the 4473 or give up his God-given right to bear arms for life.
Maybe Hunter Biden was in the financial position to challenge the law, but should he have to fight the government for a right he has that is protected by the Constitution? The Bruen decision states that all gun laws must be consistent with the original text, tradition, and history of the Second Amendment. At the time of the ratification of the Second Amendment, there was no law anywhere in the country that required Americans to fill out a form to be able to purchase a firearm. Likewise, there is nowhere in the Second Amendment that states that you must fill out a form honestly and be subjected to a background check to acquire a gun. In fact, I believe the founding fathers would be horrified to know that we ask for a government permission slip to buy a gun.
Then there is the government’s prohibition of people on various substances from owning firearms. These laws even ban users of marijuana from having guns. The medicinal uses of marijuana are something widely accepted across the medical field. Many states have decriminalized marijuana leading to widespread confusion about gun laws among firearms owners and marijuana users. Yet the federal government refuses to change the law. Prohibition has never worked and never will work.
As no-compromise gun rights advocates, we should oppose more than the prohibition of marijuana users from owning firearms. Choosing to put a substance in your body should not strip you of an inalienable right.
Once again, we look to the original text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment. The text does not prohibit anyone from owning a firearm because of the substances they choose to ingest. The federal government will be hard-pressed to find historical analogs to show any laws in 1791 banning someone from a core right because they put something that the government doesn’t like into their body. Stripping someone of their right without due process is not only un-American but is also evil.
Some might disagree with my stance on Hunter Biden, but I believe we can point out the hypocrisy of the Biden family without becoming hypocrites ourselves. Will I cry for Hunter Biden? Absolutely not! Do I think that he got off lightly because of his dad? Absolutely! But I will not want laws applied to him that I don’t want to be applied to other Americans.
I am a Gun Rights absolutist. It goes far beyond the Second Amendment. I accept gun rights as human rights. That means being no compromise no matter what my personal feeling are about a person. I believe that the government does not have a role in regulating firearms. I think that all gun laws are inherently evil, and I will not let my feelings toward one individual make me compromise my beliefs.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.