Hunter Biden’s Trial May Hinge on What the Meaning of ‘Is’ Is

Hunter Biden's gun
Hunter Biden’s gun (courtesy Hunter Biden’s laptop)

“I’m… an alcoholic and a drug addict,” Hunter Biden says in the prologue to his 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things,” written following four years of extreme drug abuse. Writing in USA TODAY last December, Biden, 54, decried the “weaponization of my addiction by partisan and craven factions.”

Today, Biden refers to himself as an addict in recovery. But there was a moment in 2018 when Biden was not an addict, his lawyers say. It was on Oct. 12, when he purchased a Colt .38 Special revolver and checked “No” on a federal gun form that asked: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

On Monday, the president’s son goes on trial at a federal courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, over charges he lied on that paperwork. Hunter Biden faces a maximum sentence of 25 years if convicted. The case will hinge in part on whether Biden was legally addicted when he bought the gun – and which definition of the term might prevail with the judge and jury. 

Substance abuse professionals – and the law itself – appear split over whether Biden was indeed an addict when he bought that revolver in 2018 and over the evolving meaning of addiction. …

In the fall of 2018, Hunter Biden moved back to the East Coast after months of despairing drug abuse in California. At one point that summer, his uncle, James Biden, had hauled him out of a hotel room and placed him in a rehab center before he moved in with a sobriety coach in the hills over Los Angeles. 

“It was great – the beauty, the peace, the support – right up until the moment I relapsed,” he writes in “Beautiful Things. “My lesson after a spring and summer of nonstop debauchery: no lesson at all.” 

But it was during one of those periods of sobriety that Hunter Biden purchased the handgun and answered honestly on the federal paperwork, his lawyers say.

“At issue here is Mr. Biden’s understanding of the question,” his lawyer Abbe Lowell recently wrote the court. “Someone like Mr. Biden, who had just completed an 11-day rehabilitation program and lived with a sober companion after that, could surely believe he was not a present tense user or addict.”

Biden’s lawyers haven’t specified where and when the 11-day rehab took place, but they are emphatic that Biden could have reasonably considered himself sober as a result of it. …

If the professionals aren’t fully in agreement on when and for how long a person remains an “addict,” neither is the law.

Biden is charged with violating a statute that is written in the present tense. It is illegal for anyone “who is an unlawful user of or addicted” to narcotics to possess a gun. 

— Dan Morrison in Hunter Biden Trial: Why His Gun Case Hinges on One Fateful Day When He Wasn’t Using Drugs

8 Responses

  1. Grace, fix that picture. That isn’t Hunter Biden’s gun, that’s an Airsoft pistol. The gun Hunter is on trial for is a revolver.

    1. Correct, he is on trial for the revolver. The gun in that pic has previously been correctly identified as an air-soft pistol and is not a real firearm.

      And besides, no one wants to look at that naked leg knowing whats above it. 😂

      1. “… no one wants to look at that naked leg knowing whats above it. 😂”

        In all fairness, what’s there is embarrassingly small and insignificant…

  2. An 11 day dry spell does not signify a 100% healing. He is still an addict, in recovery but still an addict at that time.
    Hunter’s attorneys and possibly the court will go out of their way to make Hunter appear pure as the driven snow.
    That is, the trial may be a complete snow job!

  3. Sloe Joe has to let this trial happen…and he has to let his idiot son be found guilty, in order to legitimize his anti-gun agenda. He is simply trying to appease this anti-2A constituency, nothing more. It’s all a show on the grand stage of politics.

    If (God forbid) he wins…Hunter gets a pardon If he loses…Hunter gets a pardon before the leaves office. So it makes zero difference how the election turns out…Babblin” Biden’s Boy is gonna get a pass.

  4. Unpopular opinion : He has a legitimate defense and as a 2A advocate I applaud the opportunity for the courts to review this vague stature.

    1. I’ll disagree: his defense is utterly ridiculous, but the law is not merely constitutionally unauthorized, it is constitutionally prohibited.

  5. His lawyer has already attempted to cast doubt on who actually filled out the form 4473. Claiming it may not have been Hunter.

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