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Given Senator Obama enthusiasm for gun control, President Obama’s silence on the subject is a bit odd. Our man Albright ascribes Obama’s reticence to political savvy: the Prez realizes that taking on the NRA (i.e. gun owners) would put his party on a hiding to nowhere. And yet this is the same President who rammed a hugely unpopular health care bill through Congress. The same Commander-in-Chief who re-nominated Andrew Traver for head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires), when every gun rights advocate in the country is up in arms (though not literally) at the choice. I have another theory on Obama’s gun control side-stepping routine (which may or may not be in force at tonight’s memorial service for Jared Loughner’s victims). First this, from . . .

When President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, he was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt. The new president promptly started carrying a semiautomatic Fabrique Nationale pistol for protection at public events, and keeping it on his bedside table at night. “I should have a chance of shooting the assassin before he could shoot me, if he were near me,” Roosevelt explained (in “Roosevelt As We Knew Him,” by Frederick Wood)

When Roosevelt visited Harvard University, the school’s president, Charles W. Eliot, was chagrined to discover Roosevelt strapping on a holster in his room, ignoring the Massachusetts law restricting concealed handguns. Theodore’s niece Eleanor obtained a revolver shortly after becoming First Lady. ‘I carried it religiously,’ she recalled.

That got me thinking. What if President Obama is packing heat? No really. As far as personal political correctness is concerned, the President smokes cigarettes. ‘Nuff said? And what about this story, previously reported on TTAG, where Obama said he practiced shooting rifles with the Secret Service?

Obama must have known what that revelation would mean to the gun control groups. Or maybe he didn’t care. Maybe he likes to shoot. Maybe he carries a weapon. If either of those statements is true, then perhaps he simply doesn’t want to attack the Second Amendment because, gasp, he believes in it?

I mean, that’s what he SAID:

So how about it? Does President Obama carry a gun and, therefore, doesn’t want to expose himself as a hypocrite? Or is he secretly one of us?

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  1. I’m willing to bet my house that he doesn’t pack. He doesn’t like guns, and I’m surprised that he hasn’t attempted to impose any new restrictions. (but given time I’m sure he will) Teddy is my favorite president of all time.

  2. If I recall correctly, Queen Elizabeth II has carried a small pistol in her handbag, and she’s reported to have been a crack shot. Would her Royal Scots Guards ever leave her in a position to fire her gun at possible attackers? Not while a single one of them is still alive and conscious, they wouldn’t.

    My doctrinal reading on this topic (executive protection) is not too current, but I would think that the answer is no. High-value assets should not be armed, unless perhaps with a very small, ultra-concealable weapon which they could conceivably access and use if they were kidnapped.

    And this exception probably doesn’t apply to *ultra* high-value targets protected by multiple layers (seen and unseen) of first-rate security and intelligence. Any target can theoretically be eliminated if you’ve got a big enough bomb, but kidnapping is much more difficult. American Presidents don’t get kidnapped; the amount of force and firepower required to blast through the local police and Secret Service and get to the POTUS would leave a deep, smoking crater.

    An armed President would be the weakest link in his own security chain. I wouldn’t want to be on Dick Cheney’s security detail if he were packing heat; he can’t tell the difference between a dove and a campaign donor. I think we’d all rather have the President concentrating on the work of the nation instead of running tactical drills and profiling potential threats. An armed president can only use that gun to protect himself if he’s got a clear line of sight to his attackers; by the time that happens, the Secret Service has already lost.

  3. No need to pack heat when you have a small army with guns to protect you already. Kind of similar to the princess-to-be’s parents in Britain. Regular folk can’t have guns to protect themselves, but those two get 24/7 guards with machine guns. Someone pass me some cake.

  4. Unless my memory is completely off, then-Governor Jesse Ventura applied for, and was granted, a concealed carry permit. Unfortunately, I don’t recall if he was allowed to carry at the State Capitol or in the Governor’s Mansion. Given proper firearms training (which he undoubtedly possessed), this seems to me a sensible solution that preserves the public’s accessibility to their elected servants.

  5. My doctrinal reading on this topic (executive protection) is not too current, but I would think that the answer is no. High-value assets should not be armed, unless perhaps with a very small, ultra-concealable weapon which they could conceivably access and use if they were kidnapped.

    I don’t know about the prez, but some people I have talked to who do protection in the middle East and S. America say the principal should absolutely be armed. They are primarily kidnapping targets, rather than assassination though, so the threat is different. The fact that the attackers do not want to kill the target gives the principal a very slight tactical advantage.

  6. My opinion is that President Obama doesn’t care much about guns either way. He recognizes the gun control/2nd amendment rights issue as a hot potato that will not reach political resolution soon (if ever). He is a very careful man and a skilled strategist. Regardless of what he personally believes, he knows this issue will not decide the next presidential election–talking about it a lot would just introduce unnecessary noise. Notice that he doesn’t talk about guns much at all. Remember, Obama is by training a constitutional lawyer so he probably recognizes the anti-gun position as untenable over the long run and is simply exercising caution about choosing which battles to fight.


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