Which is not to say that there is not room for better governance. While Democrats in Washington are talking up symbolic and unconstitutional measures primarily designed as culture-war campaigns against declassé rural types, other Democrats — in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, etc. — more or less refuse to investigate and prosecute straw-buyer cases unless they are part of a bigger organized-crime conspiracy case. Federal prosecutors in violence-plagued Chicago publicly stated as a matter of policy that they would not prioritize such cases and would take them up only if they were part of a larger trafficking investigation. The ATF prosecutes almost nobody for the federal crime of lying on the federal paperwork that accompanies sales at licensed dealers, and when the feds discover after the fact that they have wrongly approved a sale to someone prohibited from purchasing a firearm, they don’t even go to the trouble of sending some flunky around to pick up the illicit firearms. Low-level firearms-possession cases routinely go unprosecuted, leaving career criminals effectively free to go about their business armed until they risk prosecution by actually shooting somebody.
The Democrats run the federal government: White House, Senate, House of Representatives. This is their show. They also run almost all of the big cities where shootings are a horrific daily occurrence. The gun lobby isn’t stopping the police and the prosecutors from doing their jobs when it comes to illegal possession and illegal acquisition of firearms — the gun lobby is begging them to do their job. And, for the most part, they won’t lift a finger, because there isn’t any political juice in it for them.
Biden and his allies could — if they wanted to — do their jobs.