From Here & Back Again
(Cazenovia, NY – Dec. 2012) The election is over; why question Obama’s record on gun control now? First, because he has a second term in which he doesn’t have to worry about re-election and mollifying a strong voting group. Second, citing research from the Center for Disease Control that, “48,000 Americans will be killed by guns” during Obama’s second term, John Feinblatt, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chief police advisor and Chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, says, “The American people deserve to know how they will be kept safe, and that’s the job of the president as he enters his new term.”
It appears many single-issue voters couldn’t vote for Obama because of his perceived record on gun control, fed by the propaganda of the National Rifle Association, of which I am a former member. For the record, I support hunters, and I own guns. The NRA spent more than $18 million seeking Obama’s defeat in the recent election.
In reviewing the NRA’s circulated material and TV ads, FactCheck found that they make “unsubstantiated claims that Obama plans to ban use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition.”
On the other hand, Obama had a strong chance to advance harsh gun control following the shooting in Colorado and Arizona, but he didn’t, and he was heavily criticized by gun control advocates for not having done so.
Further, the NRA talks about Obama’s “10-point plan” to “Change the Second Amendment,” passing on information that is contrary to what Obama said throughout the campaign: that he “respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms” and “will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns.”
Pulitzer Prize winning, PolitiFact checked 10 assertions from the NRA and found five to be either (just plain) false or “pants on fire” (ridiculously false). It gave a false to one statement made by Obama. Lying has become a fact of the political world, and the media often does not call it down. Neither side is pure in the case of gun control, but five-to-one seems about right in this case, as with the republicans and democrats.
As witness to this, Obama has proposed nothing in the way of new federal restrictions on guns, while he has signed a law permitting guns to be taken into National Parks, another allowing guns to be checked as baggage on Amtrak, and he acted to preserve an existing law limiting the use of government information on firearms it has traced.
During the second Presidential debate of the recent campaign, Obama answered a question about gun control by saying, “What I’m trying to do is get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally,” and “Part of it is seeing if we can get another assault-weapons ban reintroduced.”
Earlier, Obama had repeated his support of the Second Amendment and called for stricter enforcement of gun laws already on the books. The Arizona Daily star said this “perfectly matches the position of the National Rifle Association,” but “…if NRA leaders were pleased, they are not about to show it,” because too many votes were to be won and too much money raised.
Obama tried to have a meeting of all stakeholders in the gun issue. It is hard to engage in a dialogue when Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, said such meetings weren’t worth his time and that he wouldn’t attend.
Sounds like Republican responses.
Gun control has many complex issues. Just looking at assault weapons, do everyday citizens need them? Should they be banned? They are certainly not for hunting, although terrorists and military use them. If one believes that the right to bear arms is related to a well-regulated militia,” one must look closer. The militia of the days of our founding needed muskets, that of most of the 20th century they needed a high-powered rifle. A militia with only such weapons today would be strongly outgunned.
Should federal legislation prevent criminals from stockpiling ammunition by limiting the ability of people to order ammunition over the Internet? Should it require anyone selling ammunition to become a licensed dealer, and be required to maintain records about the sale of ammunition, including reporting to the police anyone who buys more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition? It seems that, like in our dysfunctional legislature, some leaders want no discussion or any compromise.
Obama does have a bit of Romney in him. Several years ago he spoke in much stronger terms for gun control. Now his approach is such that he is condemned as anti-gun by the NRA and gun advocates, and criticized by gun control advocates, including the James Brady Center for Gun Control, as being too soft and too accommodating to the gun lobby, and a powerful lobby it is.
‘Damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ appears to be the fate of one who tries to seek a rational accommodation for all interests.
You make up your mind.
Jim Coufal of Cazenovia is a part-time philosopher and full-time observer of global trends. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.