March 08, 2011

President Obama Supports the Second Amendment: Who You Gonna Believe? Him or Your Own Lyin' Eyes?

Across America, framed portraits of President Barack Obama are displayed in gun shops. In gun shops?! In gun shops. One might be tempted to be appreciative of the patriotism and respect for the Office of the President of the United States this would seem to indicate, and they would be right, yet simultaneously completely wrong. Indeed, virtually all firearm retailers and their employees are patriotic and respect the office of the President, but they have displayed the image of Mr. Obama not because of their respect for him, but because of their keen sense of irony. For the last two+ years, Mr. Obama has been the most effective firearm salesman in American history.

Despite his frequent teleprompter readings claiming respect for the Second Amendment, Americans have universally disbelieved him. The left has disbelieved him in this, as they have in essentially anything he has said that would seem to support conservative values. They know that while professing support for conservative or constitutional principles, he is simultaneously winking at them and holding crossed fingers behind his back. They know that he is making such outlandish comments only to maintain political viability, to fool the God and gun clingers in fly-over country. They know he’s really one of them. The right has disbelieved him because in professing respect for the Second Amendment, he is lying. To demonstrate their solidarity with the President, they often buy a new firearm or some ammunition.

On March 3rd, in a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mr. Obama once again expressed his support (here) for, as leading law professor Sanford Levinson once put it, “The Embarrassing Second Amendment.”

"’The Second Amendment in this country is part of our Constitution and the president of the United States is bound by our Constitution,’ he said. ‘So I believe in the Second Amendment. It does provide for Americans the right to bear arms for their protection, for their safety, for hunting, for a wide range of uses. That does not mean that we cannot constrain gun runners from shipping guns into Mexico.’”
This makes a sort of sense. Indeed, the Second Amendment does not prevent attempts to keep “gun runners from shipping guns into Mexico.” Of course, regular readers--and others who keep themselves well informed--might wonder how this might be accomplished when the BATFE knowingly allows such gun running, gun running which has directly cost the lives of American law enforcement officers.

It is when Mr. Obama professes his belief in the plain language of the Second Amendment that he is unbelievable. It is true that people can change their minds, and perhaps Mr. Obama, in two years in office, has come to respect the entire Constitution, not merely those parts that might lend legitimacy to his various schemes to remake America into a hellish worker’s paradise. On the other hand, the best indicator of future performance is always past performance. With that in mind, Confederate Yankee provides a handy compendium--not an exhaustive list--of 23 reasons why it might be a good idea to disbelieve Mr. Obama (sources available here and here):

(1) The infamous quote: In April of 2008, comments Mr. Obama made at a private San Francisco fundraiser were made public. Explaining his difficulties in convincing working-class voters in Pennsylvania and Indiana (fly-over country), he said “It’s not surprising they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

(2) Mr. Obama opposed an Illinois bill that would prevent local ordinances from overriding an individual’s right to self defense in home invasions. Obama was one of only 20 senators who voted against it. Gov. Blagojevich vetoed it, but the legislature overwhelmingly overrode his veto.

(3) Mr. Obama denied writings on a 1996 questionnaire revealing of his anti gun views. However, his handwriting was on that document, filed when he was running for the Illinois Senate. On the document he indicated that he favored legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handgun, supported mandatory waiting periods and background checks and would ban “assault weapons.”

(4) In 2000, Mr. Obama co-sponsored a bill to limit gun purchases to one per month.

(5) In 2004, Mr. Obama supported a bill that would allow retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons. Mr. Obama has always strictly opposed concealed carry and denied that this was an exception. It was later revealed that at the time he was fighting his Republican opponent to win an endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police.

(6) Mr. Obama believes that it’s Constitutionally permissible to “[keep] guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturer’s lobby.”

(7) In an Illinois senate debate against Alan Keyes, Mr. Obama revealed his view on so-called “assault weapons” (no such thing exists--it is a media creation),
“Mr. Keyes does not believe in common gun control measures like the assault weapons bill. Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits from what I can tell with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, to kill people. I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban.”

(8) Mr. Obama has expressed his support for banning the sale and transfer of all semi-automatic firearms, is for increasing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms, and is for requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.

(9) Mr. Obama has also endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.

(10) Mr. Obama voted to allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers for the independent actions of those misusing their products, actions about which they have no knowledge and over which they have no control.

(11) Mr. Obama opposes four of five Supreme Court justices who affirmed the individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. He stated that he would not have appointed Justices Thomas and Scalia and voted against Justices Alito and Roberts.

(12) Mr. Obama voted for an Illinois Senate bill to confiscate and ban “assault weapons,” a bill that would have banned most semi-automatic and single and double barreled sporting shotguns.

(13) Mr. Obama has supported re-instituting the Clinton gun ban.

(14) Mr. Obama voted to ban virtually all common hunting and sport shooting rifle ammunition.

(15) Mr. Obama has endorsed an increase of 500% in the federal excise taxes on firearms and ammunition.

(16) Mr. Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people using firearms in self defense.

(17) Mr. Obama supports gun owner licensing and firearm registration.

(18) Mr. Obama would not sign a friend-of-the-court brief supporting individual Second Amendment rights in the historic Heller v. DC case.

(19) Mr. Obama was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and for anti-gun research.

(20) Mr. Obama supported a ban on gun stores within five miles of a school or park, eliminating almost every gun store in the nation.

(21) Mr. Obama favors banning standard capacity magazines, supports micro-stamping, mandatory waiting periods, banning inexpensive handguns and one-
gun-a-month restrictions.

(22) Mr. Obama supports repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits information on gun traces collected by the BATFE from being used in reckless lawsuits against firearm dealers and manufacturers, and which protects police operations.

(23) Mr. Obama supports banning the resale of police issued firearms, even if the proceeds are used to buy police equipment.

Considering this list, it would appear that Mr. Obama’s professed support for the Second Amendment is as hollow as his promise that people who like their medical insurance can keep it. At best, he appears to support the Second Amendment while stridently and consistently opposing any and everything that would make its exercise useful and meaningful. Anyone surprised by this richly deserves a nomination for the Captain Louis Renault Award.

Posted by MikeM at March 8, 2011 11:58 PM

Well, if Pres. Obama believes that the Second Amendment "...provide[s] for Americans the right to bear arms for their protection, for their safety, for hunting, for a wide range of uses..." he is wrong.

It does nothing of the kind. The Second Amendment makes no mention of hunting, of protection, of safety. It's nobody's business why I have or want a gun. "Keep and bear arms" is about as non-specific, reason-wise, as one can get.

So he should just shup up about it.

Posted by: Stoutcat at March 9, 2011 09:45 AM

Excellent post, and right on the money.

Since Barry has already established a precedent when he decided to "no longer defend" one federal law, who's to say that he won't eventually just decide to "no longer defend" the Bill of Rights, and specifically the 2nd Amendment? He's already moving in that direction.

I would almost expect it at this point.

Posted by: D.W. at March 9, 2011 03:38 PM

Hell, the ATF is the biggest gun runner to Mexico. Their cooking the books on gun smuggling to Mexico has gotten two federal agents killed. Obama is the most anti-2nd Amendment president in our history. Luckily he is also the most incompetent.

Posted by: John NRA Lifer at March 9, 2011 10:51 PM