I’m really really getting tired of the whole “gun nuts are paranoid about President Obama” meme that the antis are pushing. And pushing. And pushing. The latest culprit is Timothy Egan of The New York Times, author of ‘Gun Nuts in a Rut’, published Thursday:
When it became clear in the early fall of 2008 that Barack Obama, son of a Kansan and a Kenyan, would be the 44th President of the United States, many citizens rushed to their gun shops, stocked up on ammo and camo, and tried to fortify their nests with all manner of lethal weapons.
Though he had said nothing about gun control in the campaign, Obama, to a certain kind of person, appeared to be a grave threat to the Second Amendment. …
That “certain kind of person” would be anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature who had been paying the slightest bit of attention, because Obama’s actions as a legislator spoke volumes about his feelings on the gun issue. Senator Obama’s statements on the campaign trail weren’t any more reassuring. For example:
- Obama opposed a bill in the Illinois legislature which would have protected homeowners from weapons charges if they used an “illegal” gun in self-defense.
- In a primary debate in 2008, Obama the candidate stated that the second amendment confers an individual right, BUT (there’s always but where the second amendment is concerned) the fact that it is an individual right “does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right”. In addition, for a supposed constitutional scholar to state that the Bill of Rights confers rights, rather than protects pre-existing rights is also worrisome.
- When running for the Illinois senate in 1996, Obama most assuredly did fill out a questionnaire (despite his later claims that a staffer did it) in which he unequivocally supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns, a ban on the possession of ‘assault weapons’ and waiting periods before purchasing a firearm.
- Need I mention the whole “bitter clingers” episode?
- Although he claimed to respect the second amendment, he also said that the D.C. gun ban (banning all handguns and operable long guns) was constitutional. When pressed for his rationale, he said there was nothing wrong with a community establishing their own “reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure[s]” while still respecting the second amendment. Did you catch that? A complete ban is his idea of a reasonable gun control measure.
- In the Illinois legislature, he supported licensing and registering gun owners as a measure to keep unlawful guns off the street. This purported constitutional scholar was apparently unaware that the supreme court has ruled that criminals don’t need to register (and can’t be punished for failing to register) their guns because it would be a violation of their right against self-incrimination.
- In 2000 Obama cosponsored a bill to limit gun purchases to one per month and in 2003 he voted in favor of HB 2579 which had the same one gun per month provision.
- According to a Chicago Defender article in December of 1999, “Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home.”
- At an NAACP forum in 2007 Obama stated “We’ve got to make sure that unscrupulous gun dealers aren’t loading up vans and dumping guns in our communities, because we know they’re not made in our communities.” What?!? Is that what he really thinks? That federally licensed gun dealers are loading up vehicles and selling guns out of the back in inner cities?
- In the Illinois senate he supported a confiscatory ‘assault weapons’ ban which would have included semi-auto shotguns and even some pump, double and single barrel shotguns.
- As a Presidential candidate he called for passage of H.R. 6257, deceptively titled “Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008″ which would have explicitly banned far more weapons than the Clinton AWB.
- As a Senator, Obama voted against prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers and voted in favor of an amendment to that bill which would have banned most rifle ammunition, under the guise of banning ‘armor-piercing’ ammunition.
- As a Senator Obama did not sign the amicus brief supporting the individual rights view in Heller v. DC.
- Obama voted to ban gun stores within five miles of a school or park, which would have eliminated most gun stores in America.
- He supported legislation to “close the gun show loophole” which would have imprisoned show organizers if a single person at a show offered a gun for sale privately.
- As a Senator, Obama stated he supported a federal ban on concealed carry laws and as a Presidential candidate he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review “‘I am not in favor of concealed weapons,’ Obama said. ‘I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.'”
Barack Obama’s actions as President have done nothing to change our perceptions, either. On his first day in office, on the White House website, under “Urban Policy” we found this gem posted:
Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
See above regarding how little the Obama AWB resembed the Clinton-era AWB. When he talks about keeping guns away from children, what he’s really talking about are various blue-sky proposals to make guns “childproof.”
And who can forget the Obama Administration’s employment questionnaire Question 59: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”
Once Obama had settled into power, there were more ‘indicators’ of his anti-gun feelings:
- In March, 2009 the DoD ‘revised’ its policy on the disposal of once-fired brass. Instead of selling it to consumers and domestic agencies for reloading, all once-fired brass from the military would be shredded and sold as scrap. This policy was reversed fairly quickly after outraged shooters contacted their legislators and Senators Tester and Baucus (both D-MT) faxed a letter to the DoD asking them to change the policy. The fact that Senator Tester was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee might have had something to do with the quick volte-face.
- The DHS report, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment [.pdf] which cited as a key finding: “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
- In April of 2009, President Obama announced he wanted the Senate to ratify the Inter-American Convention Against The Illicit Manufacturing Of And Trafficking In Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, And Other Related Materials (called by its Spanish acronym of CIFTA for obvious reasons). A close look at the Definitions section of the treaty reveals that it would require a government license for “the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials”. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? I mean we sort of have that now, don’t we? But the devil, as they say, is in the details. Or, in this case, the definitions, because the way they’re written, you could be required to get a government license to reload ammo, add or change out a scope on a rifle, replace a factory trigger with an upgraded one, or even so much as load a weapon. Preposterous you say? Look at how they define “other related materials.” Go ahead, I’ll wait. Back? Okay, when they say “any component, part, or replacement part of a firearm, or an accessory which can be attached to a firearm” you think an anti-gun administration wouldn’t say that applies to magazines and ammo? So – technically – putting rounds in a mag or a mag in a weapon would constitute “assembly” which would require a license. So how much will the license cost? What will the application process be? Will it be “shall-issue” or “may-issue”? How long will it be good for? How much will it cost to renew? All of these details could be used to drastically reduce gun ownership.
- The Obama administration reversed a decision to import over 800,000 surplus M-1 rifles and carbines from South Korea. Not only are these weapons of some historical significance, but their arrival on the market would reduce prices on these sorts of weapons, at least in the relatively short term. The rationale (or perhaps rationalization would be a better term) given to the South Korean government for the decision was that the administration “was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions.” Well that tells us something interesting. Since all of these rifles would have been sold through FFLs, the Obama administration is saying they believe every firearm sale in the country could put guns in the hands of “terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions.” And they call us paranoid.
- Under the Obama administration, the CDC did an end-run around the decade-old prohibition on performing research on gun control issues by maintaining they were not researching the gun issue, “rather they deal with the surrounding web of circumstances.” When Republicans in Congress questioned why money was being spent on these sorts of studies, an NIH spokesman replied “Gun-related violence is a public health problem – it diverts considerable health care resources away from other problems and, therefore, is of interest to NIH.” But wait, aren’t you supposed to do the studies before you come to the conclusion that guns have a net negative impact on public health? See, coming to conclusions and then ginning up research to support them is what got Congress to implement the ban in the first place.
- Fast & Furious and the whole “90% of illegal weapons in Mexico come from the U.S.” with the subsequent unlawful and unconstitutional long gun sales reporting requirement implemented by the ATF via bureaucratic fiat. And please, don’t even try to say “But Bush did it first!” Under oath, Attorney General Holder stated that he would not equate F&F with Operation Wide Receiver. Among other things, under OWR the ATF informed the Mexicans when, where and in what kind of car guns were crossing the border while under F&F not only were the Mexicans kept in the dark, the ATF liaison officers in Mexico were kept in the dark.
- Under the Obama administration the ATF suddenly reversed a forty-two year old ruling, stating that “[t]he temporary assignment of a firearm by an FFL to its unlicensed agents, contractors, volunteers, or any other person who is not an employee of the FFL, even for bona fide business purposes, is a transfer or disposition for purposes of the Gun Control Act” which then requires that the transfer be processed by an FFL, complete with NICS check and a 4473, lengthening the transfer process considerably.
- In an op-ed for the Arizona Star, Obama capitalized on the Tucson shooting, calling for more gun control. Except he didn’t call it ‘gun control’, he called it “sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place”.
- Then there was this piece in the Huffington Post in which Obama admitted that he could not achieve gun control through legislation, so “only executive orders or administrative actions — and not an actual bill — are expected to be handed to Congress.” What was it Bill Clinton’s aide said? “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.” Yeah, who needs that whole “work within constitutional limits” stuff anyway, right?
So the next time some ignorant anti says “But Obama hasn’t done anything on gun control . . . why are you so paranoid?” give them chapter and verse. Not that facts ever make much of an impression on hoplophobes.