President Joe Biden has never hidden his feelings about so-called assault weapons. He ran on gun control and it’s one campaign promise he’s done just about everything he or anyone on his staff can think of to make happen.
So, it’s not surprising that he’d push for gun control in the wake of the tragic shooting that killed three people at a University of Virginia parking garage. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, in a statement, singled out one particular type of gun control as being a particular target, however.
“Too many families across America are bearing the awful burden of gun violence,” she said. “Earlier this year, President Biden signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, in addition to taking other historic actions. But we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets. House Democrats acted, and the Senate should follow.”
The mention of assault weapons is interesting, however, because as of this writing, there’s been no official statement as to what kind of weapon was used in that attack.
Now, it’s possible that the White House knows something that we don’t, but based on what is available to the public, it seems far more likely that the accused gunman used a pistol of some type.
Especially since we know that the man arrested for it was on a bus with his victims for a school field trip just prior to the shooting. While it seems that the accused also owned an AR-15, he also owned a handgun which is a lot easier to smuggle onto a bus for a field trip than a rifle.
I’m not the only one who noticed this, either.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, did as well.
“This horrible crime had absolutely nothing to do with so-called ‘assault weapons,’ and the White House knows it,” Gottlieb said. “The statement, which the president had to have approved, amounts to a crass exploitation of a tragedy in a deplorable effort to advance Joe Biden’s gun ban agenda. He has fully embraced the despicable tactic of never letting a crisis go to waste, no matter how awful the situation.”
It’s not the first time the president used a mass shooting to advance his call for an assault weapon ban despite the facts on the ground, either. In October, he called for such legislation in the wake of a shooting in Raleigh, North Carolina that left five people dead. However, the alleged killer in that case used a shotgun and a handgun, not an AR-15 or “assault weapon.”
While it’s unsurprising that Biden supports an assault weapon ban, the idea of using a shooting to advance policies that actually have no bearing on what happened should be surprising.
This is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Often gun control advocates jump on the opportunity to push their narrative, even before the facts are in. I recall numerous talking heads on the news calling for similar legislation many times before we actually have any details from the shooting.
At a time when we should be clamoring for answers, many instead see an opportunity. Three people are dead and there’s no reason they should be. That, on its own, should be more than enough to talk about.
Had Biden waited just a bit to find out details of how the alleged killer got his gun, then crafted his policy proposals on just what happened, this might not rankle to such a degree.
Instead, it’s blatant political opportunism, and at the risk of engaging in a bit of whataboutism, it seems clear that it would never be tolerated coming from the gun rights side of the debate.
Even if it were, though, it wouldn’t be any less distasteful.