Sunday, July 6, 2008

Obama's Gun Positions

Op-ed by John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, on Senator Obama's flip-floppery on guns: [emphasis added throughout]
The Supreme Court's decision Thursday affirming that people have a right to own guns evoked all sorts of reactions. Let's just go through a few of them.

1) One of the strangest was Barack Obama's claim that the court had essentially confirmed what had been his positions all along.

Telling the FOX Business Network yesterday that he had "said consistently that I believe that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and that was the essential decision that the Supreme Court came down on." The Supreme Court struck down the DC handgun ban on the grounds that it violated an individual's right to own a gun. So has Obama consistently supported individual's rights to own guns and opposed the DC handgun ban?
Last November, Obama's campaign told the Chicago Tribune that "Obama believes the DC handgun law is constitutional." After Obama's statement yesterday supporting the Supreme Court striking down the ban, Obama's campaign disowned the statement as an “inartful attempt” to characterize his position.

The problem is that he personally voiced support for the DC ban at other times. Earlier this year, he did this himself, not something that he could blame on a staffer. ABC 7's Washington, DC anchor Leon Harris asked Obama: "One other issue that's of great importance here in the district as well is gun control. You said in Idaho recently - I'm quoting here - 'I have no intention of taking away folks' guns,' but you support the D.C. handgun ban." Obama's simple response: "Right." When Harris said "And you've said that it's constitutional," Obama is clearly caught on tape nodding his head yes.

But there is more to his support of city gun bans than his statements on the DC ban. As the Associated Press described his 2004 vote on a gun control bill: "He also opposed letting people use a self-defense argument if charged with violating local handgun bans by using weapons in their homes. The bill was a reaction to a Chicago-area man who, after shooting an intruder, was charged with a handgun violation."

The notion that Obama has consistently believed that there is an individual right to own guns is also hard to fathom. Here is politician who supported a ban on handguns in 1996, who supported a ban on the sale of all semi-automatic guns in 1998 (a ban that would encompass the vast majority of guns sold in the US), who advocated in 2004 banning gun sales within 5 miles of a school or park (essentially a ban on virtually all gun stores), as well as worked in other ways to support bans.

With new legal cases being filed against Chicago's gun ban this past week, somebody in the media is going to eventually have to ask Obama why he not only never spoke out against Chicago's ban, but more so why he actively supported it. As a state senator, why did Obama vote against a popular bi-partisan bill that would have prohibited prosecution of otherwise law-abiding citizens for violating local gun prohibition ordinances in Illinois if the gun was used to stop a home invasion by violent criminals.
One must exercise considerable willful blindness to the facts to think that Senator Obama truly supports a robust, meaningful individual right to keep and bear arms.

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