On Thursday, President Biden said “no amendment is absolute,” while maintaining that “nothing” he is recommending “impinges” on the Second Amendment in rolling out a set of executive orders on gun control.
“Today we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said from the White House Thursday.
Biden also announced a set of executive actions as well as legislative proposals on gun control. In an address in the Rose Garden, President Biden called gun violence a “public health crisis,” and argued that his administration’s actions would not violate Second Amendment.
“Nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment,” Biden said. “These are phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about.”
He went on to say, “But no amendment to the Constitution is absolute … From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons. So the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution.”
The event was attended by several high-profile gun control activists, including Brady United President Kris Brown and former Rep. Gabby Gifford (D-Ariz.).
“We should also ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country,” Biden added. He also called for the overturning of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law that prevents gunmakers from being sued for crimes committed with guns that were legally sold.
The reactions to Biden’s calls were as divided as the nation is politically and perhaps even more so. Many Second Amendment supporters called out the president for being incorrect on some of the points he made. There were more than 26,000 tweets related to the Second Amendment by early Thursday afternoon.
“Joe Biden is either lying, never bought a gun at a gun show, or both,” wrote Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows), former White House chief of staff for President Donald Trump. He responded to the suggestion by President Biden that “you go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want – no background check.”
The current administration is also expected to throw its weight behind gun control proposals in Congress.
The republicans have expressed their suspicion of Biden’s agenda, which goes much further than the actions he is announcing Thursday. The president has said he supports an assault weapons ban, voluntary buybacks of assault weapons, wants to repeal a law that prevents gun manufacturers from being sued for crimes people commit with guns, and much more.