AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Donald Trump and Hunter Biden Two Sides of Same Anti-Gun Coin

The Hunter Biden trial is underway, now able to encapsulate the limelight now that former President Donald Trump’s trial has ended.

Both deal in some way with being prohibited from owning a gun. In Trump’s case, he is now prohibited. In Hunter’s case, he was prohibited and bought a gun.

Yet the cases are otherwise wildly different, right?

Sure. However, it’s the similarities that illustrate the problem with some specific gun control laws, not the differences.

Jacob Sullum, writing over at Reason, makes the case that both are examples of the stupidity of our current gun laws.

On the heels of a New York conviction that stripped Donald Trump of his Second Amendment rights, a federal jury in Delaware is considering whether Hunter Biden violated three gun laws when he bought a revolver in 2018. If Biden is convicted of those felonies, he also will lose the constitutional right to armed self-defense.
These two cases—one involving the president’s son, the other involving his opponent in this year’s election—highlight the arbitrariness of a federal law that deprives Americans of their gun rights for reasons that have nothing to do with public safety. That constitutionally dubious law treats millions of Americans with no history of violence as public menaces who can never be trusted with firearms.
This policy is relatively recent. The original federal restriction, enacted in 1938, applied only to violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, and robbery. In 1961, Congress expanded the ban to cover nonviolent crimes punishable by more than a year of incarceration.
That category of “prohibited persons,” UCLA law professor Adam Winkler notes, is “wildly overinclusive,” encompassing many crimes that are “not violent in the least.” The Trump and Biden cases illustrate that point.
Leaving aside the shaky legal reasoning that allowed New York prosecutors to convert a hush payment into 34 felonies, falsification of business records, even to aid or conceal “another crime,” is not a violent crime that marks someone as apt to injure or kill people with a gun. Nor is buying a firearm as an “unlawful user” of a “controlled substance,” which Biden allegedly did in 2018, when he admits he was regularly smoking crack cocaine.
However you assess Biden’s suitability as a gun owner back then, he has been sober for years. Yet if he is convicted of the gun charges against him, which involve illegal possession and misrepresenting himself as a legal buyer, he will not only face up to 25 years in prison; he will also permanently lose his Second Amendment rights.

Again, not a violent crime.

Now, I’m not particularly sad to see Hunter being prosecuted, but mostly because of the way that others have been prosecuted for the exact same thing by the Biden Department of Justice, but Hunter was offered a sweetheart deal that was meant to prevent his own prosecution. I do not like multi-tiered legal systems in the least.

There is an argument to be made that, as a drug user, his purchasing a firearm created the potentiality of him using that gun illegally to feed his drug addiction. While Hunter likely didn’t need to knock over curb stores to feed his habit, others do that pretty regularly.

But Sullum isn’t talking about that. He’s talking about here and now, and Hunter could well be permanently prohibited from owning a gun based on a non-violent felony.

The truth is that we’ve expanded the list of prohibited people over the years to set the stage for still more prohibitions. Some have even floated the idea of prohibiting people with DUI convictions from owning firearms.

Saying those convicted of certain felonies–violent felonies, to be specific–shouldn’t be able to buy guns is one thing, though my take is that if they’re that dangerous, why are they back out on the streets? It’s quite another to decide that people who have never been a threat to anyone are suddenly a threat now.

Trump is an example of this and Hunter Biden might well be the flip side of the exact same coin.

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