The National Pulse

Is Joe Biden Really a ‘Moderate’… Are ANY Democrats?

Joe Biden is constantly called “the moderate candidate”. Compared to socialist Bernie Sanders, maybe. But don’t be fooled by this relativistic nomenclature. Compared to most Americans, Biden is still further left.

Given Biden’s recent dust up with a union worker in Michigan over gun control, it’s a good idea to use this as a jumping off point.

Many Americans hold their Constitutional Second Amendment right dear, but a moderate position on gun control no longer exists on the left.

Biden told the Michigan worker he was “full of sh*t” for suggesting Biden wanted to take away his guns. This came right before Biden went on to say that much like automatic weapons are already illegal, he plans to make AR-15s the same (he flubbed and said “AR-14s” but there is no such thing).

The altercation occurred, according to the worker, after he saw proud gun-grabber Beto O’Rourke endorse Biden.

O’Rourke’s own poll numbers went into free fall after he voiced his support of door-to-door gun confiscation. His failed presidential campaign sold shirts with his signature catchphrase. “Hell yes we’re going to take your AR-15”.

And Biden’s campaign website leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to gun policy.

Not only does he talk about ensuring that guns stay “out of the wrong hands”, but he also discusses “beating the NRA” (despite the fact that 20 percent of NRA members are Democrats) and holding gun manufacturers accountable. He talks about banning “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines”, as well as closing the “gun show loophole”.

If it feels like the Democratic Party has shifted far to the left on gun rights, it’s because they have.

Banning assault weapons – a term which has never been fully explained by gun control proponents – has not always been universally endorsed by Democrats. The last time such a ban was voted upon in the Senate was in 2013, not long after the Sandy Hook shooting. Nearly 30 percent of Senate Democrats voted against the ban.

Back when there were 19 candidates still vying for the presidential nomination, 100 percent voiced support for a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

Now, the only differences of opinion are between those who want to confiscate guns via mandatory buyback programs and those who want to institute optional buyback programs. O’Rourke was one of the pro-confiscation candidates, and now Biden is telling Beto, on stage, “You’re gonna take care of the gun problem”.

To anyone who owns any type of firearm, this is troubling.

If people like O’Rourke want to take AR-15s and AK-47s, do we seriously believe he will stop at just those two specific firearms?

And banning the AR-15 and AK-47 would do little to curb the impact of gun violence in America.

The vast majority of crimes committed with a firearm are committed with handguns, many of which are purchased illegally according to FBI statistics from 2009-2013. If a mandatory buyback of AKs and ARs doesn’t solve the issue of gun violence, Biden and Beto will move onto handguns. 

A billboard in front of the Saint Paul, Minnesota skyline is graffitied with “Kill The NRA” (National Rifle Association) on a winter morning / Tony Webster (Flickr, CC)

Luckily, it has never been clear that strict gun control policies are successful at winning voters in a national general election.

Only 42 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with current gun policies AND want stricter gun controls as a result, according to a recent Gallup poll. This number is down from the same poll question in 2018.

More people blame mental health issues and the spread of extremist views online for mass shootings than access to firearms, also according to Gallup. 

For Democratic candidates that continue to slide left on the subject of gun control, they do so at a price.

Every candidate vying for the Democratic ticket has been vocal about taking on the NRA and passing stricter gun control, often by executive order. There is nobody currently occupying a moderate lane on gun control. Democrats and independents who care about their Second Amendment rights are disenfranchised on the left.

Ben Bailey

Ben Bailey is a National Pulse 2020 Writing Fellow