Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. — Isaac Asimov

Joe Biden, who cruised to multiple victories in yesterday’s primaries and likely to the Democratic nomination for President, had a “true colors” encounter with a construction worker in Michigan. The man, who challenged Biden on gun rights and asserted that he wanted to take citizens’ guns away, was told to “shush,” “don’t try me, pal,” and, most tellingly “do you want to go outside.”

Take that in for a moment. A 78 year old Presidential aspirant challenged a citizen to a fist fight when he couldn’t successfully rebut the citizen’s assertions.

First, some background.

Biden’s positions on gun rights are spelled out on his web site on a tendentiously titled “gun safety” page. His proposals include banning the sale and manufacture of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, categorizing existing “assault weapons” as NFA firearms, subjecting them to registration and heavy federal level regulation, a buy-back option for those who don’t want to go through the NFA rigamarole, universal background checks, close some purported “loopholes” (when you read the word ‘loophole‘ in a gun control discussion, you should start with the presumption that the utterer is either lying or ignorant), ban online sales of guns, ammo, kits, and parts, create a federal red flag law, use federal money to “incentivize” states to impose new licensing restrictions, and some other stuff.

He also recently told former candidate Beto O’Rourke, who’s on record as wanting to confiscate all 15+ million AR-15s in private hands, that, “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on you.”

It’s pretty easy for an average person to conclude that Biden has plans to take our guns away.

His excuses and dodges began with the old “fire in a theater” trope. Many years ago, I offered up an analogy:

Taking my gun away because I might shoot someone is like cutting my tongue out because I might yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

My statement went viral, and if you google my name along with the full quote, you’ll get 359,000 hits.

The statement is actually a bit inaccurate, and in its inaccuracy, it makes the case even more strongly for gun rights. You can yell “fire” in a crowded theater, provided there is one. You might even be able to falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater, provided no one gets hurt and no economic damage occurs, although that’s a bit grayer, incitement is a violation of others’ rights and therefore a prosecutable action.

Therein lies the matter. Owning a gun, even an AR-15, infringes upon no one else’s rights, and therefore is not restrictable under the “fire in a theater” principle. Using a gun for a legitimate purpose, including self-defense against an imminent physical threat to yourself or another, is akin to yelling “fire” if there actually is one. It’s only when you misuse a firearm, when you use it to infringe upon another’s rights (whether or not you actually shoot it) that you go wrong. THAT is when the State should get involved, and in that case, it’s the person, not the firearm, that is to be dealt with.

Biden clearly doesn’t understand this. Or, if he does, he doesn’t care, because he wants to infringe on our gun rights, either because he doesn’t give a shit about them or because he wants to win the Presidency and his voter base feels the same way.

That’s usually the case with anti-gun people – they don’t give a damn about your rights when their feelings tell them something. And, indeed, this obsession with banning AR-15s is about feelings. They are an enormously popular rifle format that is used in a very, very small percentage of homicides. They are also functionally identical to many other formats that have not been classified as “assault weapons.” Banning them won’t make a hill-of-beans difference in crime, just as the previous ban (1994) didn’t make a hill-of-beans difference in crime.

The difference that 1994 ban made? It was the last time Democrats passed significant gun-control legislation at the federal level, and it led to an electoral rout, the Republicans’ Contract With America, and Bill Clinton’s transformation from leftist to moderate.

Biden has been portraying himself as the “moderate” in this primary, but he is such only in comparison to the socialist leftism of Sanders, Warren, and others in the pack. His gun control plans are as “progressive” as one can imagine, short of an open declaration of seeking to circumvent or repeal the Second Amendment, and the rest of his agenda sits well to the left of both Clinton and Obama, the two most recent Democratic presidents.

But, I digress. Biden’s pugnacity, witnessed yesterday, is not a one-off. We’ve seen it before, offered against Trump and against citizens, and we’ve heard him “get his Irish” up on enough occasions to conclude that such anger is a real response to being cornered rather than political posturing.

Biden’s appeal is supposedly a ‘return to normalcy’ after several years of the Trump show, but if his reflexive reaction to those who disagree with him is bully-boy barking and “take it outside” barroom bravado, how can he be expected to be a ‘healing’ president who’ll consider the concerns of those who don’t support his agenda? Should moderates and conservatives turned off by Trump’s personality flock to Biden, when he’s got his own rage issues and when he’s proposing a very progressive platform?

He’s a life-long politician, who’s proven remarkably resilient and resistant to damage from gaffes, errors, missteps, and even accusations of senescence, and when his game is on, he’s obviously quite the charmer. But, being President is incredibly stressful, and if his reflex is to bark and offer to throw hands when vexed, what does that tell us?

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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