Gun advocacy groups are hailing the firearms charges brought against Hunter Biden, even though they oppose the laws the president’s son is charged with breaking.
One, the Gun Owners of America, noted that President Joe Biden has been advocating for tougher gun safety laws.
“Gun Owners of America opposes all gun control, but so long as this President continues to use every tool at his disposal to harass and criminalize guns, gun owners and gun dealers, his son should be receiving the same treatment and scrutiny as all of us,” Erich Pratt, the group’s senior vice president, said in a statement after Hunter Biden was indicted Thursday on three gun-related charges.
The National Rifle Association, meanwhile, took a more muted tone with a similar message.
“Laws should be applied equally against all criminals,” NRA spokesman Billy McLaughlin said.
The president’s son was indicted Thursday in federal court in Delaware on three counts tied to possession of a gun while using narcotics.
Two of the counts relate to a federally mandated form he completed saying he was not using illegal drugs when he bought a Colt Cobra revolver at a gun store in October 2018. The third count alleges he possessed a firearm while using a narcotic.
Two of the charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the third carries a maximum sentence of five years. Former federal prosecutors have told NBC News those type of charges are rarely brought as standalone charges against defendants without a criminal record.
In July, Hunter Biden struck a plea agreement with prosecutors that would have made the gun case against him go away in two years if he stayed out of trouble and agreed to never again buy a firearm, but negotiations broke down in August before it was finalized.
According to a court filing in that case, Biden was using crack cocaine during the period when he bought the revolver from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Delaware in October 2018, and denied he was using drugs on the federal form.
He wound up possessing the gun for 11 days, and during that time “he purchased and used crack cocaine regularly,” the filing said. The gun was later found in his car along with drug paraphernalia, and was “subsequently discarded in a trashcan outside a supermarket in Greenville, Delaware,” it said.
Now Hunter Biden’s defense may align with the Second Amendment advocates‘ goals — and against his father’s calls for tougher gun laws.
His attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement Thursday he plans on challenging the constitutionality of the laws Hunter Biden is charged with breaking, noting “recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional.”
Those rulings stemmed from a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that effectively expanded gun rights. The president said at the time he was “deeply disappointed” by the high court’s ruling, adding that the decision “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.”