- - Monday, October 13, 2014

Joe Biden’s ability to say, unfiltered, whatever thought pops into his head is his charm. He’s everybody’s favorite crazy uncle. Barack Obama didn’t even mind when ol’ Joe once described him as “the first mainstream African-American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean.”

Mr. Obama knew better than to take the senator from Delaware seriously. Joe is the perfect vice president. Who better to entrust the vice presidential duties of attending fundraising parties, ribbon-cuttings and funerals of foreign worthies with unpronounceable names? How much harm could he do in that role? As it happens, a lot.

Mr. Biden spoke last week at the memorial service for Jim Brady, Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, who took a bullet in the 1981 attempt on the president’s life. Mr. Brady and his wife, Sarah, became the face of Handgun Control Inc., later renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

With Mr. Brady’s passing, the veep couldn’t wait to announce that he was looking for another high-profile shooting victim to assist the administration’s push to take guns away from ordinary, law-abiding Americans.

“What we need is another Jim Brady,” said Joe, extolling Mr. Brady’s virtues. “… One will come along. It will happen. I pray God it is sooner rather than later.”

He doesn’t really want another such shooting, of course, but his clumsy turns of phrase suggests that he’ll be ready to use it as an argument to disarm the lawful. Like many other politicians, Mr. Biden sees opportunity where others see tragedy.

The left advances its arguments with sentiment and emotion, not reason. There must be victims to keep the argument going, preferably another Republican to put a bipartisan sheen on the crusade to “finally get done” the long-sought goal of setting aside the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“We convinced the American people last time out with the [gun control] proposal I put forward,” said Mr. Biden. “The fight used to be, ‘Can you convince the American people?’ Seventy-five percent of the American people agree with us.”

He has the numbers backward. Last year, Gallup asked voters whether they would support a law limiting legal handgun ownership to police and “authorized” persons. Seventy-four percent said no. Joe hasn’t been on the side of the majority since 1959, the last time Gallup’s gun-ban question held majority support.

Gun control is less popular than ever because the American people can see that it’s pointless. The Clinton administration’s ban on scary-looking “assault rifles” expired a decade ago, and criminals haven’t taken advantage of it. The FBI reports that violent crime last year was down 5.4 percent, to record lows, while the number of background checks performed for gun purchases increased 7.7 percent.

An evildoer fears he might burgle the home of someone with the means to fight back with a rifle or handgun. Mr. Biden famously argued that such weapons aren’t needed. “If there’s ever a problem,” he says, “just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.”

Firing a weapon randomly is never a good idea, and often a crime, especially in a place like Clark County, Washington, which has declared itself a “no-shooting zone.” There, one Jeffrey Barton was prosecuted for firing his shotgun into the air to deter intruders. “I did what Joe Biden told me to do,” he said. He learned the hard way that it’s always a mistake to take Uncle Joe seriously.

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