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What The Hunter Biden Saga Should Teach Even Second Amendment Haters

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President Joe Biden (D) has a long history as a “warrior” against the users of illegal drugs. In 1989, in a televised speech, Biden criticized then-President George H. W. Bush (R) for having taken an approach that, per Biden, was “not tough enough, bold enough or imaginative enough” for his tastes. “What we need,” Biden said, “is another D-Day, not another Vietnam, not a limited war, fought on the cheap.” Bush’s plan, Biden said, “doesn’t include enough police officers to catch the violent thugs, not enough prosecutors to convict them, not enough judges to sentence them and not enough prison cells to put them away for a long time.” His aim, Biden insisted, was to “hold every drug user accountable.”

This was not mere rhetoric. By that point, Biden had authored and supported most of the modern drug-prohibition laws that the United States had on its books. Biden had championed the 1984 Comprehensive Control Act, and he had personally written the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988. It is because of Biden, for example, that Americans who are convicted of smoking crack cocaine are typically eligible for such remarkably long sentences.

President Biden also has a long history as a warrior against crime. In 1993, Biden boasted on the U.S. Senate floor that “every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic senator from the State of Delaware: Joe Biden.” In the same speech, Biden cast himself as a zero-tolerance kind of guy. “It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society,” he said, “I don’t want to ask, ‘What made them do this?’ They must be taken off the street.” A year later, Biden made good on this claim when he served as the lead author of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the largest anti-crime bill in American history. Explaining his approach when that law was at the draft stage, Biden promised the public that, if he got his way, America would “do everything but hang people for jaywalking.”

Of particular interest to Biden in 1994—and since—was firearms. Among the many provisions that Biden wrote into his Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Lambasting those who did not believe such a measure was either constitutional or a good idea, Biden shouted on the Senate floor that the problem was clear. “Six years ago it was guns, five years ago it was guns, four years ago it was guns, last night it was guns.” America, Biden said, could not “wait another minute, let alone an hour to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future.” This idea—that America needs draconian, ruthlessly enforced gun control—has been a refrain of Biden’s for years. In his most-recent prime-time address on the topic of gun-control, Biden proclaimed from the podium that it was “time to act,” to “meet the moment” and to “finally do something.” The issue, he said, “is one of conscience and common sense,” and he, Joe Biden, was proposing “rational, commonsense measures” that everyone could grasp.

This being a part of his record, one might have expected that when Joe Biden’s own son, Hunter, was caught repeatedly violating the laws governing the use of illegal drugs and the use of firearms—often at the same time—the president’s response would have been righteous apoplexy. After all, almost every single one of the laws that Biden wrote and championed—the ones that were intended to usher in “another D-Day,” to ensure that criminals were “taken off the street” and to “hold every drug user accountable”—are still on the books. Per Hunter Biden’s own admission, he was addicted to crack cocaine. That’s an illegal substance. Per Hunter Biden’s own confession, he made a materially false statement that enabled him to obtain a firearm—namely, that he was not addicted to drugs at the time he purchased a gun, when he in fact was. That’s illegal. Per photos that have been widely circulated in the press, Hunter Biden was caught brandishing a gun on camera while he was high on illegal drugs and in the company of a prostitute. That’s illegal. Per multiple reports, Hunter Biden then left that gun lying in his truck, a move that prompted his then-girlfriend—the widow of his late brother, Beau—to throw the gun into a trash receptacle opposite a school. That’s illegal.

Instead, Joe Biden shrugged his shoulders and said he is “proud of” his son. Asked in May about a potential indictment of his son on firearms charges—as well as a potential indictment for serious tax offenses—President Biden flatly refused to hold Hunter accountable. Worse still, the president prejudiced an active investigation that, as the head of the executive branch, was being carried out in his name. “My son has done nothing wrong,” Biden said. “I trust him. I have faith in him, and it impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him.”

Six weeks later, Hunter Biden got a sweetheart plea deal.

Under the Department of Justice’s own rules, prosecutors who decide to pursue a case are obliged to bring the “most-serious,” readily provable “offense that is consistent with the nature and full extent of the defendant’s conduct.” Under legislation written by Joe Biden, the gun charges alone carried a potential 20-year sentence—10 for the felonious false statement that enabled Hunter to obtain a firearm, and 10 for the possession of a firearm while being “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.” Add in the tax crimes—the “most-serious” interpretation of which is evasion—and the total increases to 25-years.

President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden

President Joe Biden is shown here boarding “Marine One” at Joint Base Andrews with his son, Hunter, on June 24, 2023.

Instead, Hunter got … none. Indeed, he wasn’t even charged with a felony. In June, he agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors in which he plead guilty to two minor tax crimes and conceded the facts of a single firearms charge in exchange for a likely sentence of probation for the tax crimes and an agreement “to enter a Pretrial Diversion Agreement with respect to the firearm Information.” As The Washington Post confirmed, the DOJ’s decision to treat “the gun charge as a diversion case means Biden would not technically be pleading guilty to that crime … . Diversion is an option typically applied to nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems.” What a long, long way we have come from Joe Biden’s insistence that “[i]t doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society, I don’t want to ask, ‘What made them do this?’ They must be taken off the street.”

On its face, this deal is an outrage. Clearly, Hunter Biden has received special treatment because his father is the president of the United States. Clearly, he has avoided going to trial on the gun charges because the White House does not want to face awkward questions about its hypocrisy on the topic of gun laws in general. Clearly, the powers-that-be in the Justice Department were keen to prevent the president making his re-election bid against the backdrop of his own son going to prison, or of a highly publicized trial, in which all of the sordid details—the lying, the crack addition, and other unlawful activity—were laid bare for the world to see.

And yet, when one begins to look at the broader context surrounding the deal, that outrage is upgraded to a scandal. As Politico has reported, Hunter Biden’s lawyers made sure that they “told Justice Department officials that, if their client is charged with the gun crime, they will challenge the law under the Second Amendment.” And that, obviously, is something that Joe Biden would do almost anything to avoid. That Hunter Biden has been let off with a slap on the wrist is devastating to Joe Biden’s gun-control advocacy; how, exactly, are Americans supposed to take him seriously when he exempts his own family from his claims? But, from Joe Biden’s perspective, it was preferable to the alternative, which was for his own son to take down a set of laws that Joe Biden had spent his career advancing. One suspects that Hunter Biden’s lawyers knew this when they floated the Second Amendment defense.

Worse still, by resolving the case in this peremptory manner, the DOJ has prevented the investigation into Hunter Biden from ranging into areas that could potentially threaten Joe Biden’s presidency. From the very start, the Hunter Biden case seems to have been treated less as a criminal inquiry informed by equal justice under the law, than as a political problem to be handled.

Back in 2021, when Hunter Biden’s girlfriend threw his pistol into a trash can in Delaware, the gun store at which it had been bought was reportedly visited by Secret Service agents who demanded the purchase records. Per Politico, the owner of the store refused, “suspecting that the Secret Service officers wanted to hide Hunter’s ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime.”

In its reporting, Politico described this as “a curious thing.” But was it? As his behavior has illustrated, Hunter Biden is a loose cannon, whose reckless habits have the potential to damage—and possibly even expose—the rest of his family.

At present, Joe Biden is under investigation in the House on suspicion of a massive bribery scandal dating back to his time as vice president. He is also the target of a special counsel investigation into his alleged retention of classified documents. The last thing Joe Biden needs is an interminable examination of his son’s conduct, paper trail or tax records. And so, as if by magic, that examination has summarily been brought to a close.

John Adams contrived many terrific aphorisms, but perhaps the most important among them was that America must be a “nation of laws and not of men.” By exempting the president’s son from the statutes that he insists are imperative, Joe Biden has taken us a step closer to being a nation of men and not of laws. In so doing, he has made a mockery of our justice system and struck a devastating blow against his own agenda. Indeed, it is no overstatement to say that President Biden’s conception of the laws that ought to govern the private ownership of firearms is perfectly backwards. Biden wishes to pass all manner of unconstitutional regulations that affect only the law-abiding—prohibitions on rifles in common use, limits on the size of magazines, “universal” background checks, federal registries, increased taxes and more—while refusing to enforce the handful of laws that might actually make sense. If the United States does not intend to enforce laws against drug-addicts brandishing firearms while high on crack cocaine, or against throwing handguns into trash cans near schools, or against lying brazenly on federal forms, then it surely should not be passing additional laws that do nothing except violate the Second Amendment and encumber the responsible.

The soul of tyranny is caprice. We all know that if I—or you—had been caught on camera committing the same crimes as did Hunter Biden, we’d have been severely punished for it. Don’t take my word for it. Instead, realize that, while the Hunter Biden case was being investigated, the ATF and FBI were teaming up to spy on—and then successfully bring a case against—a former 911 dispatcher in Florida who attached a buttstock to his pistol and thereby ended up with a “short-barreled rifle” that, per the bizarre terms of the 1934 Gun Control Act, required registration. The target in that case, Yunis Isaac Mejia, had no criminal record, and there was no indication that he had any intention to commit a crime. His was a paperwork violation, far less serious in nature than Hunter Biden’s possession of a firearm while under the influence of crack. Nevertheless, Mejia received 21 months in federal prison and is now a convicted felon.

It’s good to be a Biden.

Article by CHARLES C. W. COOKE

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