The Democrats were already going to have a tough time in the midterm elections, but it’s quite possible that President Joe Biden just sank them completely with a speech late in the week.
Biden, reacting to a series of mass shootings this week, looked to harness a wave of national empathy in order to make big changes to the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
President Biden said the Second Amendment is “not absolute” in a speech Thursday following a wave of mass shootings across the nation, pleading with to Congress to pass what he called “commonsense” gun control legislation, including reinstating an assault weapons ban, requiring background checks, and limiting magazine capacity.
The president, speaking from the Cross Hall of the White House, told Americans that the issue of restricting access to guns “is one of conscience and common sense.”
“For so many of you at home, I want to be very clear – this is not about taking away anyone’s guns,” the president said. “It is not about vilifying gun owners. In fact, we believe we should be treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave.”
“I respect the culture, the tradition, the concerns of lawful gun owners,” Biden continued. “At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute.”
Contradiction lay ahead, however.
“I know that we can’t prevent every tragedy, but here’s what I believe we have to do,” Biden said, laying out his proposal to Congress.
“We need to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21; strengthen background checks; enact safe storage and red flag laws; repeal the immunity, that protect gun manufacturers from liability; address the mental health crisis, deepening the trauma of gun violence,” the president said.
Biden called these proposals “rational, commonsense measures.”
Conservatives were alarmed for the usual reasons, but the declaration had a chilling effect for Democrats too, as the party looks to mitigate the nigh-inevitable “red wave” that’s coming for Congress in the 2022 midterms.
Having to now find ways to tiptoe around Biden’s radical agenda on guns, mainstream Democrats are going to struggle to find footing.