Jonathan Turley: Joe and Hunter Biden and 'red flag' gun laws – here comes the next big test for liberal media


Jonathan Turley: Joe and Hunter Biden and 'red flag' gun laws – here comes the next big test for liberal media

President Joe Biden announced unilateral gun control measures Thursday in the Rose Garden as part of his pledge to crack down on gun violence like

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President Joe Biden announced unilateral gun control measures Thursday in the Rose Garden as part of his pledge to crack down on gun violence like the recent attacks in Boulder and Atlanta. 

The measures are unlikely to have a significant impact on such massacres, which is a long-standing problem with claims of politicians that they will pass substantial gun controls to curb such violence.

What is notable however is the inclusion of a provision that relates directly to the allegations raised against Hunter Biden — allegations of a possible federal felony that have been virtually blacked out in recent media coverage and interviews.

The fact is that the range of possible reforms is very limited and are unlikely to produce transformational change on gun violence. That does not mean that regulating “ghost guns” (home-constructed weapons without serial numbers) is not a good idea.  However, such regulation would not have altered past mass shootings.


Often individuals engaged in such killings acquire their guns legally. Likewise, the changing of the status of stabilizing braces (allowing a pistol to fires like a rifle) will not impact many such cases. A stabilizing brace was used in Boulder but the absence of such a brace would not have likely made a major difference in such a close-quarters shooting.

However, it is the “red flag” provision that stands out on this list. Biden is giving the Justice Department a 60-day period to develop model “red flag” legislation that would allow friends and family members to identify an individual as a potential danger, thereby temporarily preventing the person from accessing a firearm.

That could well be called the Hunter Biden Law. As discussed earlier, Hunter Biden acquired a handgun despite his long-standing drug and alcohol abuse as well as a history of depression.

In 2018, the gun was tossed into a trash bin in Wilmington by Hallie Biden, widow of the deceased brother of Hunter. After the death of his brother Beau, Hunter began a sexual relationship with Hallie and she apparently became concerned about what he might do with the gun. That is precisely the concern for the Red Flag law. 

In many ways, her action reflected the need for such laws. In desperation, she threw the gun away but chose a garbage bin not far from a school.

To get the revolver back, Biden answered “no” on the firearms transaction record that asked whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to” a narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. Lying on that federal form can lead to prosecution under several provisions. The United States code makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to “make any false or fictitious oral or written statement” to obtain firearms.


Although prosecutions are rare, this should be a major story or at warrant media scrutiny. After all, the son of the president may have committed a federal felony and his father has been calling for greater expansion and enforcement of gun permitting laws. Now, the issue of unstable gun owners is one of the core areas of President Biden’s new reforms.

The question is not whether this proposal would change the conduct of gun owners but whether it will change the focus of the media. 

After imposing a virtual blackout on the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election, the media has published false accounts or barely addressed the controversy in a wide range of interviews on Hunter Biden’s new book “Beautiful Things.” When it came to the alleged gun violation, the media has avoided any direct questions about the denial of drug addiction that, according to Biden’s interview and book account, continued until his father’s 2020 presidential campaign.

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It is an all-too-familiar pattern. Hunter admitted that he was a crack addict even during a period when he was receiving massive payments from foreign companies due to his unexplained “expertise” on energy and other issues. Whether it is a gun felony or influence peddling, the blackout has turned into a media dimming with the book. 

Biden is asked cursory questions that resulted in largely identical answers about his lack of memory from his long addiction. He simply cannot remember the laptop, its contents, or even fathering a child with a woman.

It does not matter that he can remember details going back to his first drink at age 8. Reporters briefly raise these issues and then quickly move on to other issues.

The new approved narrative was breathlessly described by CNN’s host Brian Stelter who described it as an “extraordinary” account of a “real human being.” Stelter gushed that the book’s depiction of “how many times Hunter Biden could have died, the president’s son, it’s breathtaking.” 

It is not the book of a deadbeat dad, influence peddler, or the privileged political elite. Biden is instead a hero for our times – a modern Odysseus who overcame every danger.


Biden’s life is a tragedy to be sure. Most of us feel great sympathy for his loss of his mother and sister as well as his brother.

His addiction is hardly surprising given the painful chapters of his life. If this book and these interviews were fully honest and open, the book would be as breathtaking as Stelter claims.

However, at every critical point where Hunter could be held accountable for criminal or unethical acts, he recedes into the claimed dark recesses of his memory.

For example, he claims not to have any memory of fathering a child with former George Washington University student, 29-year-old Lunden Alexis Roberts. However, he is not asked about fighting Roberts in her seeking parental support after being found to be the father after a DNA test.

The court ultimately ordered such payments as “long due” and Roberts’ court filings described Biden as having “no involvement in the child’s life since the child’s birth, never interacted with the child, never parented the child,” and “could not identify the child out of a photo lineup.”


None of those “red flags” for the media have generated the slightest interest in interviews with Biden. Now, President Biden is pushing a law to address precisely the danger presented by Hunter Biden in 2018.

The red flag law will be the next test for the media and whether it will confront or continue to evade the unauthorized Hunter Biden story.