Chicago Tribune scribe Steve Chapman (above) often writes about gun legislation. Usually, his prose is both reasonable and articulate. Not so his recent column excoriating the NRA.
As a gun owner, recreational shooter, former NRA member and longtime advocate of Second Amendment rights, I like to see cogent criticism of gun control proposals and anti-gun propaganda. But under President Barack Obama, the NRA has occupied itself sowing groundless panic and fighting imaginary villains.
Obama made it plain in his first presidential campaign that gun control was not a hill he was willing to die on. He assured gun owners, “I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”
Why would anyone believe President Obama’s promises about gun rights any more than his promise “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”? “If you like your plan you can keep your plan”? Or his promise that Obamacare would “save $2,500 a year on your insurance premiums”? Should we forget the “red line” in Syria?
In short, winning Second Amendment supporters was important for Senator Obama’s White House bid. Gee. He lied. But according to Mr. Chapman, it’s Wayne LaPierre who’s the real liar.
After all, President Obama signed bills that restored the right to bear arms in national parks, forbade the EPA to ban lead bullets, and prevented Amtrack from banning the transport of unloaded guns on its trains. All measures included as unwelcome riders on omnibus bills that President Obama desperately wanted to sign — a fact that Mr. Chapman somehow forgets to mention, in his desire to vilify of the NRA’s Vice President.
Faced with this record, LaPierre has done the only thing he could do: lie about it. “When I said Barack Obama would come for our guns and do everything in his power to sabotage the Second Amendment, they savaged me,” he said recently. “But every one of those predictions came true.” Sure they did. And Adam Sandler won an Oscar.
The strategy has clearly served to frighten some gun owners and stimulate them to buy more firearms — you know, before Obama could outlaw them. Gun sales have set records under him, and gun companies have prospered. The NRA has found that it can only gain by stoking chronic fear of draconian gun laws.
Mr. Chapman admits that President Obama pushed for a renewed “assault weapons” ban, pushed to ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and lobbied for “universal background checks.” Mr. Chapman lumps all these actions as insignificant and declare “These changes would have a minimal impact on law-abiding gun owners.” Really?
The NRA can go on depicting a dystopian nightmare in which gun owners are cruelly deprived of their right to protect themselves. But it’s a Halloween house of horrors, not the real world.
It is Mr. Chapman who is a delusional Fudd. He lives in the liberal fantasy world of the establishment media and their fake news bubble. Here’s hoping that Mr. Trump and his pro-gun allies burst that bubble soon, and once and for all.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch