Democrats attack NRA to aid mentally diminished Joe Biden

Second Amendment

Joe Biden is struggling. His capacity seems to be so diminished that whenever he leaves his basement he has an episode his campaign regrets.

Recognizing the varied weaknesses of candidate Biden, his handlers know he won’t be able to cross the finish line in this year’s election without lots of help. The left is scrambling to cover for Mr. Biden. The selection of Sen. Kamala Harris is a start; she can apparently speak outside of a basement.

Part of the Biden effort includes attempting to defang his opposition. Take the NRA.

Founded in 1871, the National Rifle Association is the most successful civil rights organization in the nation, with 5 million active and engaged members. Conservatives have failed politically on many cultural issues (think: abortion), but not on guns. The one cultural issue that conservatives have not only preserved, but in which they have made great advances, is the right to own and carry firearms for personal defense.

The threat a Biden presidency poses to law-abiding gun owners is a political liability that could finally finish off Mr. Biden’s decades-long quest to be president. Both Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris have well-deserved “F” ratings from the NRA. This is a political anvil for the Biden-Harris ticket in many battleground states that their campaign needs to flip to defeat President Trump. Think very gun-friendly Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania for starters.

This is a political problem for the left that calls for “lawfare.”

The great Prussian military historian Carl von Clausewitz famously defined “warfare” as merely the continuation of politics by other means. “Lawfare” is the continuation of warfare by legal means — that is, by means of litigation and legal processes. And, in lawfare, as in warfare, supplies, forces and firepower are often more important than the justice of the cause, that is, who deserves to win.

Enter New York Attorney General Letitia James, a clear partisan who called the NRA a “terrorist organization” during her campaign in 2018.

Two weeks ago, Ms. James filed a civil suit against the NRA alleging various legal violations and calling for the organization to be disbanded.

The lawsuit appears to be motivated largely by politics and designed to distract the NRA from its mission: preserving the individual right to keep and bear arms. Ms. James ran openly on a political platform of trying to take down the NRA and she’s giving it her best shot.

Tellingly, the New York attorney general brought no criminal charges because apparently there are none to be made. The attorney general has filed only a civil lawsuit.

This lawsuit is simply an excuse to generate headlines right before an election and to force the NRA to waste its resources. Classic lawfare.

But this strategy may very well backfire. Politically, it makes very little sense. If you want to guarantee Second Amendment voters are going to turn out in force — do this. Try to take away their most prominent and effective defender while simultaneously positing that we should defund the police. And do this while Democratic politicians describe the criminal violence and looting in our cities as “peaceful protests.”

This year, through the end of July, in Chicago alone, 440 people were murdered, 2,240 shot. In Philadelphia, 240 people were murdered, more than 1,000 shot.

This is leading to record sales of firearms. Citizens are fearful that the mayhem and murder they see on America’s city streets may be coming to their neighborhoods.

The Wall Street Journal noted last week, “The FBI’s most recent gun-sale figures are stunning. They show that in July the bureau carried out 3.6 million background checks, the third highest month on record. Adjusting to reflect checks only for gun purchases, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) says this translates to 1.8 million gun sales for July 2020 — a 122% increase over July 2019. The 12,141,032 gun sales through this July is just shy of the 13,199,172 sales for all of 2019.”

Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will be campaigning to stand between concerned citizens and their constitutional right to own a firearm — awful policy and politics.

The partisan legal hit job by New York’s attorney general will not fool supporters of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. The predatory lawfare tactics will not succeed; quite the opposite, it will demonstrate again to Americans what is truly at stake in this election: tyranny or freedom.

The right of self-defense and the right to bear firearms to effectuate this right is the ultimate expression of American liberty. America has more than a gun culture; it has a self-reliance and self-defense gun culture that a Biden administration (or, perhaps, a Harris administration) must not be allowed to erase.

• Mark W. Smith, an attorney and a senior fellow of law and public policy at the King’s College in New York City, is the author of “First They Came for the Gun Owners.”

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