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That time Joe Biden forgave the NRA... sort of

Last month, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Remington Arms to a Connecticut state supreme court decision allowing several Sandy Hook victims’ families to sue them over some of their advertising. Last week, a judge in Connecticut took the next step in the process, setting a court date for the case. But if you were hoping for a quick resolution, don’t hold your breath. The case is set for September of 2021, almost two years from now. (CBS News)

A Connecticut judge said Wednesday that a lawsuit by families of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims against Remington Arms will go to trial in September 2021. A survivor and relatives of nine victims of the 2012 massacre filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Remington in 2015, saying the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public and alleging it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games…

The Hartford Courant reported that Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis in Waterbury set the court date after nearly two hours of discussions with attorneys for Remington and the families.

The focus of this case is drawn in such a narrow fashion that it’s tough to say how much of an impact it will have on the gun industry at large. In order to dodge around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, the courts are only allowing the plaintiffs to sue based on “dangerous advertising,” so it may cost Remington a lot of cash, but other manufacturers will likely be able to tailor their ads carefully to avoid such trouble even if Remington loses.

But since this drama will be playing out all through both the primary and general elections next year, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at where the Democratic frontrunner stands on the issue. Joe Biden is probably a big fan of this lawsuit, given what he said about gun manufacturers during the Democratic debate last June. Here’s a reminder of how he answered a question about gun rights. (The Hill, emphasis added)

“Last thing, we should have smart guns. No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure can pull that trigger. It’s within our right to do that, we can do that, our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA,” he said.

Biden’s campaign quickly doubled down on the comment in a subsequent tweet.

“The members of the NRA are not our opponents — the vast majority of them support common-sense reforms, including universal background checks. The gun manufacturers who bankroll the NRA are our opponent. As president, Biden will defeat them,” the campaign tweeted from Biden’s account.

I’m sure Biden’s primary opponents have been keeping that one in their back pocket. And if Joe somehow becomes the nominee, the President will have those quotes memorized for the general election debates.

First of all, the NRA has been demonized by Democrats up and down the line. Candidates like Buttigieg and Sanders, who have both blamed the NRA for everything up to and including climate change, will likely want to remind voters that Uncle Joe is “soft” on the National Rifle Association.

But what about Biden’s comments regarding Remington and all the other gun manufacturers? Taking a second look at that tweet, Joe is claiming that the real “opponents” are those gun manufacturers. And Biden will “defeat them” because they bankroll the NRA. Huh? If the NRA isn’t the enemy, why would you be trying to take down the companies that supposedly “bankroll” them? It’s a nonsensical attack. (And just for the record, the NRA is funded primarily by its members.)

Even if we can write that off as more of Uncle Joe’s ongoing “confusion” on the campaign trail, this isn’t going to be a popular position in the general election. Sure, you can find plenty of people who will support universal background checks. But when you start talking about gun bans and confiscation, the support tails off considerably. If your plan is to put the gun manufacturers out of business, that’s not going to fly very well.

The Democrats are going to be making a big deal out of the gun control issue all through the primary next year. This little walk down memory lane is only intended as something to keep in your back pocket as the debate plays out.