Barack Obama and gun rights: When is "Support" Not Support?

By Ken Hanson, Esq.

Barak Obama continues his attempt to be all things to all people by claiming in an Associated Press interview that he supports the individual right to bear firearms. The interview was conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Northern Illinois shootings.

What is astounding to me is that the reporter, Nedra Pickler, presents that pro-gun position as the premise of the story (Headline: "Obama Supports Individual Gun Rights"), yet the entire story talks about Obama's support for gun control measures.

Not one word from the candidate on what the individual right entails, only that is subject to common-sense regulation.

Apparently "common-sense" includes the outright ban on the exercise of the right. So in a story purportedly about the candidate's support of a fundamental, constitutional right, all of the ink is devoted to gun control measures he supports and, by the way, don't infringe on that right.

According to the story, Obama feels that D.C.'s gun-ban does not violate his vision of the right.

So let me get this straight. Gun ownership is a fundamental, individual right enshrined in the constitution, but cities need to be able to completely ban the exercise of that right in the name of crime fighting? In one breath, in gun-friendly Idaho, he says he is not interested in taking people's guns away. In the next breath, he says that he supports the complete and total taking of guns.

Excuse my language Senator, but I'm calling Bullshit. Your position is Orwellian, and smacks of an intellectual prostitution that cannot survive any form of scrutiny. If you support a complete and total ban on the exercise of a right, you cannot claim to support the underlying right. Take a page from your patron Ted Kennedy and at least be honest about your hatred of guns.

Ken Hanson is Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair and author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws.

Obama's Anti-gun Background:

(as documented by

"As a state senator in Illinois, Obama supported banning the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic firearms, increasing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms and requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms. He has also supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. He sponsored a bill in 2000 limiting handgun purchases to one per month. He also voted against a 2004 measure allowing a self-defense exception for people charged with violating local weapons bans by using a gun in their home. Although out of line with most of his anti-gun voting history, in 1999, Obama voted "present" on SB 759, a bill that required mandatory adult prosecution for firing a gun on or near school grounds.

"Obama was also a board member of the Joyce Foundation which funds and maintains several gun control organizations in the United States, [including the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence].

"He supported several gun control measures, including restricting the purchase of firearms at gun shows and the reauthorization of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban." (Source:

In prior candidate questionnaires on gun control, Obama has said:

  • FAVORS banning the selling or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
  • FAVORS increased state restrictions on lawful gun ownership.
  • OPPOSES reducing or maintaining current restrictions on lawful gun ownership; and
  • OPPOSES allowing citizens to carry a concealed weapon

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