Editors at National Review Online reflect on the legal troubles of the president’s wayward son.

Unsurprisingly, a jury in Wilmington, Del., convicted Hunter Biden on all three counts in his first indictment, which charged himwith felony violations of the federal gun laws.

The evidence against the president’s son was overwhelming. In light of this, Biden’s lawyers geared his defense toward pressing a Second Amendment claim on appeal. That is a legal defense, not an evidence-based defense fit for a jury trial.

It is based on the theory that the original understanding of the right to keep and bear arms does not abide robust prohibitions on gun possession by drug users. It is unlikely that this theory will ultimately rescue him. Far from a casual drug user, mountainous evidence established that Hunter Biden was (and is) addicted to illegal narcotics. The courts are likely to analogize addiction to mental illness, a condition that has long been considered justification for denying firearms possession. Even if the law is overbroad, the younger Biden’s case is a hard one to defend under the Second Amendment. Moreover, if the government has any power to determine whether drug use renders a person too dangerous to keep and bear arms, Biden is still stuck with his conviction for lying about his drug use on the required federal firearm-purchase form.

In any event, the Second Amendment was a non-factor at the trial. Judge Maryellen Noreika ruled against the constitutional claim in the pretrial motions. She further rejected Biden’s specious theory that he couldn’t be found to be an illegal user of narcotics unless the jury concluded that he was using cocaine at the very moment he purchased the gun and lied on the form.

This is a case that should never have gone to trial. The vast majority of similarly situated defendants would have pled guilty, accepted responsibility (in the argot of the federal sentencing guidelines), and reasonably expected a sentence of probation.

Not Hunter Biden.