Associated Press article props up false notion of Obama having failed to deliver on gun control

by Chad D. Baus

The Associated Press reported recently that while the Republican presidential candidates are fuzzy about some issues, they leave little doubt about where they stand on gun rights.

From the article:

Rick Perry and Rick Santorum go pheasant hunting and give interviews before heading out. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain speak to the National Rifle Association convention. Michele Bachmann tells People magazine she wants to teach her daughters how to shoot because women need to be able to protect themselves. Mitt Romney, after backing some gun control measures in Massachusetts, now presents himself as a strong Second Amendment supporter.

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, is virtually silent on the issue.

The article notes that Obama has hardly addressed it since a couple months after the January assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., when he promised to develop new steps on gun safety in response, and gripes that he still has failed to do so, even as Tucson survivors came to Capitol Hill last week to push for action.

Democrats have learned the hard way that embracing gun control can be terrible politics, and the 2012 presidential election is shaping up to underscore just how delicate the issue can be. With the election likely to be decided largely by states where hunting is a popular pastime, like Missouri, Ohio or Pennsylvania, candidates of both parties want to win over gun owners, not alienate them.

For Republicans, that means emphasizing their pro-gun credentials. But for Obama and the Democrats, the approach is trickier.

Obama's history in support of strict gun control measures prior to becoming president makes it difficult for him to claim he's a Second Amendment champion, even though he signed a bill allowing people to take loaded guns into national parks. At the same time, he's apparently decided that his record backing gun safety is nothing to boast of, either, perhaps because of the power of the gun lobby and their opposition to anything smacking of gun control.

The result is that while Republicans are more than happy to talk up their support for gun rights, Obama may barely be heard from on the issue at all.

"Gun control is a fight that the administration is not willing to pick. They're not likely to win it," said Harry Wilson, author of a book on gun politics and director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Virginia. "They certainly would not win it in Congress, and it's not likely to be a winner at the polls. ... It comes down to one pretty simple word: Politics."

The AP notes that administration officials say they are working to develop the gun safety measures promised after the Giffords shooting, and they say have taken steps to improve the background check system.

But when it comes to guns and politics, Democrats haven't forgotten what happened in 1994. That year, President Bill Clinton was pushing for passage of a landmark crime bill featuring a ban on assault weapons, and then-House Speaker Thomas Foley, D-Wash., twisted Democrats' arms to get it through the House. Come November, Democrats suffered widespread election losses and lost control of the House and the Senate. Foley was among those defeated, and Clinton and others credited the NRA's campaigning with a big role in the outcome. And when the assault weapons ban came up for congressional reauthorization in 2004, it failed.

Given that history, the NRA expects to see Obama treading carefully on guns through 2012.

"It's bad politics to be on the wrong side of the Second Amendment at election time," said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president. "They're trying to fog the issue through the 2012 election and deceive gun owners into thinking he's something he's not, which is pro-Second Amendment."

At this point in the article, the writer switch from reporting to editorializing.

But the NRA outspends gun-control groups by wide margins, and analysts say that when it comes time to vote, the gun issue is more likely to motivate gun rights activists than gun control supporters.

The writer doesn't explain their source for the claim that the NRA "outspends" gun control groups, but in light of the fact that the Joyce Foundation gives millions to numerous gun control groups each and ever year year, and that billionaires like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg are also financially supporting gun control extremists, the AP's claim simply doesn't add up.

Obama's commitment to act on gun safety may also be complicated by an unrelated controversy over a Justice Department program aimed at stanching gun trafficking into Mexico. The government lost track of numerous weapons in connection with the program.

Obama has vowed to figure out what went wrong with the operation and make sure it's corrected, but with Republicans seizing on the issue to attack the White House, the politics around taking action on guns hasn't gotten any easier.

The unnamed Justice Department program the AP skims the surface of here is the ATF's Gunrunner/Fast and Furious initiative, which despite the AP writer's claim is anything BUT "unrelated" to "Obama's commitment to act on gun safety."

In fact, this program appears to have been the direct result of the Obama administration's effort to "prove" that the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens were responsible for Mexico's drug cartel problems - a claim made early and often by administration officials, but which was subsequently proven false. The administration seems to have set out to make what wasn't already true to be a reality by ordering American gun stores to sell firearms to prohibited people they knew were tied to the cartels, then refusing to even attempt to track the weapons - (i.e. they let them "walk.")

Since becoming president, Obama has been extremely cautious on the issue. In his 2004 Senate race, for example, Obama said it was a "scandal" that then-President George W. Bush didn't force renewal of the assault weapons ban. But Obama himself has done nothing to promote that issue since becoming president.

...So for now, supporters who hoped to see Obama adopt a stronger stance on guns and act in the wake of the Giffords shooting look like they're going to be disappointed. "We haven't given up hope," said Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, "but our impatience is growing with each passing day."

Last spring, however, Sarah Brady told news reporters that President Barack Obama is committed to stealth gun control.

"I just want you to know that we are working on it," Brady recalled the president telling her. "We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar."

Gun control groups have a multitude of reason to be pleased with Obama (see below), and any efforts over the next year by gun control extremist groups to make the electorate believe they are less than satisfied with Obama will be a part of the effort to fool pro-gun voters, just as the now-defuct American Hunters and Shooters Association as set up to do for Obama in 2008.

Despite their feigned frustration, there can be no doubt the Brady Campaign is actually quite satisfied with Obama - a fact that will be born out when they endorse him again in 2012.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

While he has not yet addressed the issue via legislation, as gun control extremists hoped he would when he was elected, Obama has conducted himself as an anti-gun president, just as gun rights activists predicted he would:

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.