Pro-Obama faux gun group discovers they were used

"We believe recent attacks on Senator Obama's stand on the 2nd Amendment and his commitment to our hunting and shooting heritage are unfair and American Hunters and Shooters Association is stepping up to set the record straight. ...Senator Obama will be a strong and authentic voice for America's hunters and shooters and it is with great pleasure that we endorse his candidacy."
- Ray Schoenke, President, American Hunters and Shooters Association, April 16, 2008

By Chad D. Baus

Throughout the 2008 Presidential election campaign, Buckeye Firearms Association, the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun organizations sought to make gun owners aware of the clear and present danger that a President Barack Obama would be to the Second Amendment. One group, however, while claiming to be pro-gun, endorsed Obama, and went out of its way to attack the NRA and anyone else who suggested that a vote for Obama was a vote for gun control.

The anti-gun pedigree of the founders and leadership of that pro-Obama group, which calls itself the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), is well documented. Yet it would appear from a recent press release from AHSA President Ray Schoenke that even he failed to realize that he was being used by a candidate who had every intention of aggressively pushing for gun control once he assumed power.

From the press release:

Washington, D.C. - Ray Schoenke, the President of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), delivered a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to reconsider his comments about renewing the federal assault weapons ban.

Schoenke, who campaigned in key battleground states for Barack Obama last fall told Holder:

"Based on your comments today, it appears that the Obama administration may attempt to reinstate [the federal assault weapons] ban. As President of AHSA, I encourage you to negate that effort. The assault weapons ban is an issue of personal freedom, that deeply concerns America's hunting, shooting, and sporting community. And even greater than the politics, the issue is bad policy.

Most importantly, the law had no measurable effect on crime reduction. Instead, the law demonized lawful gun owners and became a lightning rod for a decade long public debate over gun crime that merely served to divert time and resources from our already over-burdened law enforcement agencies. Frankly, it has been an unnecessary distraction. Gun owners support efforts to keep our communities safe. We just want those policies directed at the root cause of crime and violence and not just symbolism, which is how the Washington Post accurately described the ban back in 1994."

Just as he did during the campaign, Schoenke is attempting to inject economy into the gun rights debate. During the campaign, Schoenke ran ads claiming that Obama will "make sure we can keep our guns". "But what about our jobs?" the ad continued, shifting the discussion away from gun rights and on to the economy.

This time, Schoenke claims Obama should refrain from his gun ban agenda because he'd be too distracted from his economic crisis. Again, from the press release:

After sending the letter, Schoenke stated, "The Obama administration shouldn't be distracted from handling the important economic issues currently facing our country. This type of legislation will only disillusion the millions of law-abiding gun owners who voted for Barack Obama, believing that he did indeed support their right to own firearms."

What are gun owners to make of this press release? Was the judgement of Ray Schoenke (whose wife is former member of the Brady Campaign Board of Directors) so clouded by his admitted desire to elect a man that his 'gun rights organization for Democrats' could support that he failed to see the forest for the trees? Does he now realize that he made a mistake to put his beliefs in human-caused global warming theories ahead of our Second Amendment rights?

And what of Ohio's pro-gun Democrat Governor Ted Strickland, Republican hunting preserve owner Charles "Rocky" Saxbe and Ohio Wildlife Chairman Lee Howley, all of whom stumped for Obama. Are they too now realizing the error of their ways?

These men have has no reason to be surprised by the Obama administration's now-officially stated desire to start banning guns. The record indicated this is exactly what Obama believed - regardless of what they wished to believe or Obama fooled them into believing.

There are only three explanations for their behavior during the campaign:

  1. These men were willing shills for Obama, either because of their hatred of the NRA and/or President Bush, or because they put partisanship ahead of the Second Amendment, willing to say, do and believe anything to get the Democrat elected.
  2. They wished to believe it.
  3. Obama fooled them into believing it.

If they wished to believe it, then they are typical liberals, trusting feelings over logic, and words over record.

If Obama fooled them into believing it, then they are simply ignorant for refusing to look at the record.

If they were willing shills, knowing Obama's true intentions and arguing otherwise because they had ulterior motives, then they suffer from the worst type of moral bankruptcy.

In the debate between shills or fools, my choice is "both." Gun owners who support AHSA should take off their blinders, and reject an organization whose leadership is foolish and ignorant. If they don't, they can expect to continue to be played for fools.

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

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