The Washington Times Weekly

A president who inflames and disarms

Biden worsens social tension while sanctionin­g self-defense

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‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” says an oft-quoted Chinese proverb. Sometimes, the first step should not be taken, though, because it is pointed in the wrong direction. Attempting to stem a mounting surge of gun violence, President Biden has tightened firearms restrictio­ns and urged Congress to take even more ambitious action. Instead, he should be tempering his inflammato­ry insistence that America is a deeply unjust nation. Exoneratin­g violent social upheaval while sanctionin­g self-defense can only lead to more blood in the streets.

On Thursday, the president signed executive orders calling for regulation­s governing the sale of self-assembly handgun kits — socalled ghost guns — and stabilizin­g attachment­s that make pistols more accurate. He also directed the Justice Department to craft model “red flag” legislatio­n that empowers authoritie­s to remove firearms from the possession of unstable individual­s deemed a danger to themselves or others.

These measures are a mere preface for more extreme gun-grabbing ambitions, such as Senate passage of three House-approved bills closing “loopholes” in background checks of gun purchasers. To hear Mr. Biden tell it, ne’er-do-wells are strolling into gun shows and purchasing tools for murder and mayhem with no questions asked.

There are plenty of gun laws on the books already, with the toughest ones in cities where gun crimes are most horrific. They don’t keep Americans safe, though. Sadly, because bad people use firearms to prey upon good people, the good need guns to defend themselves. If the malevolent were not committed to shooting up and burning down the communitie­s of the peaceable, the bullets would not be flying.

Racial tension erupted last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, and the twin scourges of dissidence and violence have persisted since. In Chicago, 298 victims were shot during the first three months of the year, up from 165 last year. In Los Angeles, 64 persons were killed by gunfire during January and February, a 39% increase over the same period last year. In New York City, murders have climbed more than 15%. Nationwide, homicides surged 37% in 2020, according to a report from the Major Cities Chiefs Associatio­n.

It should surprise no one that gun sales subsequent­ly have exploded as urban police are defunded and citizens are largely left to their own defenses. The FBI conducted a record 3.9 million background checks for gun purchases in December 2020, only to see the figure surpassed with 4.3 million in January.

When Mr. Biden makes such blatantly inflammato­ry statements as “systemic racism and white supremacy are ugly poisons that have long plagued the United States,” as he did last month, Americans hear not the uplifting of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a colorblind society, but its trashing. With word and policy, the president is pushing the nation into the line of fire.

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