Predicting that Barack Obama “would be the most anti-gun president in American history,” the National Rifle Association has announced plans to spend $15 million to help defeat the Democratic presidential hopeful.
Obama has said he has “no intention of taking away folks’ guns” and that he believes strongly in the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms. But his apparent support for strict handgun bans in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere worries gun advocacy groups such as the NRA.
Obama’s mixed messages on the issue surfaced in June, when he expressed qualified agreement with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Second Amendment rights belong not only to government-controlled militias but also to individual Americans.
Although Obama says one thing in public and another in private, the NRA aims to define him by the kinds of legislation for which he has spoken and voted.
When he was a candidate for the Illinois Senate in 1996, a political questionnaire in his name answered “Yes” to a question of whether supported state legislation to “ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?” When this was reported, Obama’s campaign claimed that a staffer had filled out the questionnaire and given answers the candidate never approved.
“No, my writing wasn’t on that particular questionnaire,” Obama told ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson. “As I said, I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns.”
But Factcheck.org said, “Actually, Obama’s writing was on the 1996 document.” Factcheck.org, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, described his statement as misleading. A margin note on the questionnaire in Obama’s handwriting indicated his approval. The journal Politico also confirmed that Obama had verbally verified his views with members of the liberal group that gave this questionnaire to state candidates.
“I am not in favor of concealed weapons,” he told the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could [get shot during] altercations.”
Despite his statement that “Chicago is different from Cheyenne,” the Feb. 20, 2004, Chicago Tribune quoted Obama saying: “National legislation will prevent other states’ flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents.” In other words, he backed federal legislation to abolish local and state laws that now permit the concealed carrying of handguns.
Obama also has supported legislation to ban gun stores within 5 miles of any school or park, which the NRA plausibly argues could close down 90 percent of all existing gun stores in America.
Obama has advocated limiting gun purchases to one a month; restricting how many bullets a gun may carry; requiring technologies that permit a gun to be fired only by its legal owner (and that, if based on a computer chip, would allow the gun to be “turned off” at a distance); and micro-stamping that, in effect, could make it illegal for gun owners to reload their own ammunition.
Obama has supported outlawing assault weapons, defined in a way that could be interpreted to include virtually every semiautomatic weapon, even double-action revolvers. He has voted to outlaw ammunition designed to penetrate a law enforcement officer’s bulletproof vest, which could arbitrarily be interpreted to include nearly every cartridge used to hunt game such as deer.
Unless “you’re seeing a lot of deer out there wearing bullet-proof vests,” Obama said jokingly during a 2004 debate, “then there is no purpose for many of the guns” citizens have been allowed to buy.
Article (it reads like an op-ed) here.