As President Joe Biden fights to ban assault weapons and toughen gun laws across the U.S., a high-profile legal case involving his son could serve as the basis for expanding gun rights.
Hunter Biden has been the target of a Justice Department investigation into his purchase of a firearm in 2018. The federal form required to be filled out to purchase a gun from a licensed federal firearms dealer requires you to answer if you are addicted to or are an unlawful user of narcotics. Hunter admitted to being a heavy user of crack cocaine at the time, stating in his own memoir he was “smoking crack every 15 minutes,” which could mean he unlawfully purchased the weapon.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) outlined in a memo its belief that the law applies to anyone who has used controlled substances within 12 months of filling out the form.
Hunter’s lawyers have told officials within the Justice Department that if he’s charged with a gun crime, they will challenge the law under the Second Amendment, an anonymous source close to the legal team told Politico.
Such a defense could work against the president, who is seeking to tighten gun laws, and bring Hunter in line with pro-gun conservatives who have been staunch opponents of the Biden family.
Hunter’s attorneys may now rely on a new standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in last year’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which holds that gun control laws must be “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Since the Bruen ruling, there have been several cases where judges ruled against prohibition on drug users from owning firearms, citing the landmark 2022 Supreme Court decision.
An Oklahoma district judge ruled in February that barring marijuana users from possessing firearms is inconsistent with the “historical tradition” standard set in Bruen.
In Texas this past April, a district judge ruled similarly in a case involving a woman who had firearms, along with what appeared to be a “marijuana greenhouse” and a psychedelic drug in her home.
Hunter Biden’s attorneys declined to provide a comment.