By U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis
The Democrat social justice experiment of defunding police and letting criminals go unpunished has been a deadly failure for Americans.
Failure to prosecute crime and anti-law enforcement rhetoric by Democrats has emboldened bad guys and encouraged violence, pushing Americans to arm themselves in unprecedented numbers.
In fact, more than 5.4 million people have legally purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021 - over a third of these first-time gun buyers were women. With violent crime on the rise, we cannot be taking away Americans’ rights to protect themselves with perfectly legal firearms.
Yet, the Biden Administration is using recent incidents around the country to justify pursuing failed gun control policies that do little to prevent crime or protect families.
As a Member of Congress with the power to check the Executive, I will always defend my constituents’ right to defend themselves and their families, without interference from government bureaucrats.
However, it is important that we all stay vigilant about this Administration’s overt and back door efforts to infringe upon the 2nd Amendment. During his campaign, President Biden promised to pursue a variety of 2nd Amendment encroachments if elected, including:
- Gun bans
- Restrictions on lawful firearm transfers
- Gun confiscation for misdemeanor crimes
- “Closing” the made-up “over the Internet” and fake “gun show loopholes”
- Disarming teachers and keeping schools as soft targets
- Universal Background Registration Checks, which would then require a national firearm registry
President Biden has recently taken a first step in pursuing this radical anti-gun agenda by nominating Steve Dettelbach, a staunch gun control advocate, to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Mr. Dettlebach has a clear record of using his position as U.S. Attorney to push gun control policies and has published columns calling for the greater erosion of 2nd Amendment rights.
President Biden has also recently unveiled a new proposed rule targeting so-called “ghost guns,” which is a reference to homemade weapons.
Statistics show that these weapons were used in fewer than .36% of all U.S. homicides between 2016 and 2020. Self-made firearms are predominantly a hobbyist endeavor, as their creation requires more time, tooling, and craftsmanship than criminals are typically willing to commit, and any errors can result in an unworkable firearm.
The Administration has shown no evidence that homemade weapons are being disproportionately used in criminal acts or that encroaching on the rights of law-abiding citizens to make their own firearms would have any corresponding decrease in violent crime.
For almost two and half centuries, Americans have had the freedom to manufacture, own, and even transfer privately made firearms. Without any reasonable justification, President Biden is seeking to restrict this freedom.
Let me be clear, we will not end the surge in violent crime by focusing on taking away the rights of law-abiding Americans who want to protect themselves and their families.
The sad fact is that criminals have been emboldened by the radical lefts’ continued anti-law enforcement policies and rhetoric.
We need to consistently enforce existing laws, prosecute criminals, and send a clear, unwavering message that we support law enforcement efforts to keep Americans safe.
I will continue to push for these commonsense measures, and I will fight like hell to prevent any further erosion of our 2nd Amendment rights.
Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis is a Republican representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006. Gus serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He is the Ranking Member of Consumer Protection & Commerce Subcommittee and a Member of the Health Subcommittee and Communications and Technology Subcommittee.