When President Biden makes the Rose Garden announcement of a new office of gun violence prevention, he will be speaking as someone whose son seems to have illegally possessed not just one, but two handguns.
He will also be speaking as someone who has never publicly addressed that situation. His silence, of course, makes it harder for him to claim the moral high ground on one of the most important issues we face as the killing goes on and on and on.
As has been widely reported, Hunter Biden purchased a .38 caliber Colt Cobra revolver, serial number RA 551363, at a Delaware gun shop on Oct. 12, 2018.
Two weeks later, Hallie Biden, his deceased brother’s widow, took the gun from Hunter’s car and tossed it in a trash bin.
Luckily, it was found not by a crook or a school kid but by an elderly man who was rummaging through the refuse. He took it to police and it now figures in the federal indictment charging Hunter with falsely attesting on a standard federal Form 4473 that he was not using illegal drugs at the time he purchased it.
The president is clearly still heartbroken over the death of his older son Beau. And he is understandably protective of his surviving son, especially when Hunter is facing criminal charges related to weapons possession.
His silence regarding these particular firearms might be understandable were he anybody but our highest elected leader at a time when guns are the leading cause of death for young people. The Gun Violence Archive puts this year’s national body count at 31,176, including 1,049 teens and 220 children.
If the president were to break his silence, he could note that whether or not Hunter legally purchased the revolver, he should never have left it in a car unattended, as too many Americans do. Everytown for Gun Safety, which is expected to have a senior representative at Friday’s announcement, reports a continued rise in gun thefts from cars, roughly one every 15 minutes in cities that report such stats to the FBI. Police in Atlanta report that thieves essentially go shopping for guns in parked cars.
“No single one of us can prevent all irrational acts or prevent all violent crimes, but there are things that we can do to keep firearms out of the hands of violent criminals,” Atlanta Police Officer Steve Avery told The Daily Beast. “Officers are finding more and more criminals with stolen guns. We don’t want violent criminals to have more access to guns. Felons can’t buy guns, but they can steal them. Far too many criminals are getting guns by stealing them from autos.”
In the case of Hunter’s revolver, the person who took it from his car was not a thief, but his sister-in-law. The trash bin where she deposited it was behind a grocery store near a high school. Even though she was apparently trying to keep Hunter from hurting himself, it was a reckless act that could have led to a tragedy.
The president could also speak about a second gun linked to Hunter—a black semi-automatic pistol he is holding in a video from his infamous laptop. He is nude, which makes the sight of the weapon all the more startling. The hammer is cocked and he has his finger on the trigger. He at one point aims the weapon at the camera, unintentionally illustrating why people on drugs should not have firearms.
The president could remind everybody to always assume a gun is loaded and to never put your finger on the trigger or point it at anybody unless you are facing a true life or death instant.
If he wants to be really bold, he could address the question of Hunter brandishing the pistol in the nude and note that there is an unmistakable sexual component to the American firearms fetish. Gun companies know that, as evidenced by an advertising slogan that Bushmaster ran before a young man armed with one of its assault rifles killed 20 youngsters and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Consider your man card reissued.”
The video suggests that Hunter was not playing with a full deck at that time in his life and sought an illusory man card by clutching a pistol. But he could truly man up by now joining his father in talking about those two guns, along with the millions of others.
As it is, the president and Hunter seem to be hoping that a court will find that the Second Amendment bars the government from keeping guns out of the hands of people who were taking illegal drugs at the time of purchase.
Meanwhile, for all we know, Hunter’s second gun is still out there.