It is nothing short of inconceivable that President Biden’s pick for attorney general, Merrick Garland, pretended he is ignorant of important gun control issues during his testimony before senators considering his confirmation as the nation’s top cop.
Garland, facing a likely close confirmation vote, told senators he is uninformed about gun policy and could not say whether Biden unilaterally could deny gun sales by permanently delaying background checks. Using the same rationale, he said he did not know whether Biden could ban the sale of popular rifles such as AR-15s.
That from a man who would advise Biden on critical gun control issues.
Oddly enough, Merrick, appointed by Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C, Circuit, knows enough to vote at least four times against gun rights. In 2000, he voted to allow the FBI to keep National Instant Criminal Background Check System background check records well beyond the immediate destruction required by the Brady Law, Stephen Gutowski reports in the Washington Free Beacon.
Retention of those records would create a de facto gun registration list, banned by law.
In 2012, Garland voted to allow the prosecution – with a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence, no less – of automatic firearms offenses without proof the accused knew the weapon was automatic, known as a showing of mens rea or a guilty mind, a requirement common in criminal law, Gutowski reports.
Garland’s feigned ignorance, aimed, we suppose, at bettering his confirmation chances, would seem to us to disqualify him for a job where knowledge of those issues and the Second Amendment is crucial for the retention of Americans’ freedom.
The Senate should reject Garland, if for nothing else, his decision to be less than forthcoming in his answers to important questions.