He likely won’t be as striking a figure as television icon Chuck Connors, striding down main street with his Winchester in the classic western “The Rifleman,” but troubled presidential son Hunter Biden might become a kind of hero for the right to self-defense if prosecutors decide to charge him with a gun crime related to his possession of a firearm when he admittedly used federally prohibited drugs.
The prospect of prosecution remains low, but Hunter’s lawyers aren’t taking any chances, and, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports for Reason, they confront numerous ironies when prepping a defense for the “great artiste,” Hunter.
First, not only has Hunter’s “Big Guy” pop, Joe, claimed credit for writing the Clinton-Era federal “Three-Strikes Law” that saw many non-violent offenders of national drug prohibitions face life in prison for the same kind of drug history to which Hunter has admitted, he has embraced a profoundly anti-gun-rights mentality most of his political life.
Will he still be “proud” of his son if Hunter becomes a 2A hero?
“The Department of Justice is investigating a gun purchase he (Hunter) made in 2018," writes Nolan Brown. "This is a time period during which he has admitted to regularly using crack cocaine. That could put him afoul of the law against drug users having guns.”
The statute to which Nolan Brown refers is the odious 1968 Gun Control Act, which was the second big federal insult to gun rights after the 1934 Firearms Act. And the key provision that pertains to Hunter is one that Strict-Constructionists (Joe Biden openly disdains the idea of strictly reading the U.S. Constitution according to the wording in it and the intent of those who wrote it) properly revile.
Likewise, Strict-Constructionists also properly revile the idea that the feds can, without amending the US Constitution, “prohibit” the sale, possession, or taking, of chemicals for psychoactive or other reasons.
So this Hunter Biden story has a lot packed into it – kind of like the Hunter Biden laptop did, although the FBI and New York Times seemed presumptively disinterested in it.
“The provision in question—part of the Gun Control Act of 1968—is, frankly, insane, preventing any person ‘who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance’ from buying a gun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has interpreted this provision to mean that anyone who has used any illegal drug in the past 12 months cannot legally purchase a gun.
And the time may be just right for challenging it. This Supreme Court has proved willing to strike down overreaching gun laws.”
Specifically, the 2022 “New York Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen” Supreme Court decision has established a precedent that already is seeing jurists begin to look more skeptically at gun prohibitions such as those which “ban” people outside of prison from exercising their right to keep and bear arms (a core kind of “ban” found in the insulting 1968 Gun Control Act). It’s been reflected in cases such as September’s Federal District Court for Western Texas – Pico decision for “United States v. Quiroz,” which found in favor of the gun-ownership rights of a man who was under indictment for a separate act, but not yet tried, when he purchased a firearm.
Hunter’s situation is similar, and offers him the opportunity to become a key mover in challenging the core of the 1968 Gun Control Act that has been used against gun rights for so many decades.
“When he bought the gun, Biden filled out a federal form on which he allegedly avowed that he was not ‘an unlawful user of, or addicted to’ any ‘controlled substance,’ POLITICO reported in 2021. But according to Biden’s 2021 memoir, he frequently used crack cocaine at the time.”
But Hunter’s conflicting statements – as reflective of his character as they are – have no bearing on whether he had, or still has, a right to keep and bear arms. Adds Woodruff Swan:
“Just ask Judge Patrick Wyrick, a district judge in Oklahoma who ruled in February that the government could not use the statute to prosecute a defendant who was caught with a gun and had marijuana in his car. In an opinion that relied heavily on Bruen, Wyrick wrote that barring marijuana users from possessing guns ‘is inconsistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.’ He rejected the government’s attempts to defend the statute’s constitutionality, including the government’s citations to 19th century laws that restricted people from using firearms while drunk.”
Indeed. Simply put, the Constitution and fundamental morals tell anyone willing to pay attention that there are supposed to be no terms such as “unlawful possession” and “unlawful transport or transfer” of firearms if the weapons were acquired peacefully and are not being used in crimes against other people or their property.
According to those fundamental principles embraced by the Founders and supported by simple logic, government only can prohibit firearms/weapons possession for people who have been convicted of crime and are in prison. If agents of the state want to claim that someone they have released from prison is too dangerous to be “trusted” with a gun, then why would they think it wise to release that person from prison?
Likewise, if agents of the state want to claim that someone in possession of a so-called “controlled substance” is harming another person, merely for also possessing a firearm, or vice-versa, and then the government tries to punish that person, what other peaceful activities and items might the state claim cannot be combined?
According to the philosophy undergirding the US and state constitutions, government prohibition and punishment are supposed to be contingent on actual threats and real harm committed against real people. And as obnoxious as Hunter Biden seems to be, and as tawdry are the low points of his life that already have come to light, his "legal jeopardy" for gun possession while being an admitted drug user is not consistent with the US Constitution or the rationale for government, itself.
Politico reports on where things stand for the Hunter Biden legal case:
“David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, is leading the probe. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in May that Weiss is ‘capable of making any decisions that he feels are appropriate,’ and that he won't face political pressure. Weiss is widely reported to be examining potential tax crimes related to undeclared income, as well as Hunter Biden's purchase of a handgun in October 2018.”
Guns…federal drug felonies…taxes…all are the kinds of matters Joe Biden has worked vehemently to see folded into more and more federal controls and punishments, backed by scathing, egomaniacal rhetoric and bluster.
And now, his own son could become the proverbial “poster child” for battling huge facets of The Big Guy’s favorite forms of tyranny.
Follow MRCTV on Twitter!