Colorado shooting: Why calling Obama 'anti-gun' is smart politics
The gun lobby's bid to preempt new gun-control measures appears to be working. Even in the wake of Colorado massacre, Obama – dubbed by the NRA 'the most anti-gun president in history' – is defending gun rights.
Following last week’s massacre at a movie theater in Colorado, President Obama has offered words of healing and condolence, including a trip to the state Sunday to meet with families and survivors. Never in any of the president’s or his administration's public statements has there been a suggestion that he would use the incident to advocate for tougher guns laws.Skip to next paragraph
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In fact, to the dismay of gun-control supporters, Team Obama has gone out of its way to affirm the president’s support of gun rights since the Colorado tragedy. When asked Sunday whether Mr. Obama might propose new policies affecting access to guns, White House press secretary Jay Carney sounded more like a spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA) than for a Democratic president.
“He believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons,” Mr. Carney told reporters on Air Force One en route to Colorado.
But gun-rights advocates are undeterred. At the NRA’s special website GunBaNObama.com, there is a message the 4-million-member NRA has been promoting since before Obama took office: “Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history.”
The evidence all comes from his record pre-presidency, including a statement chiding then-President George W. Bush for not pushing to renew a ban on assault weapons and another opposing the carrying of concealed weapons.
During the 2008 campaign, there was perhaps no greater gaffe by Obama than his secretly recorded comment at a San Francisco fundraiser in which he said that people in small-town Pennsylvania, wracked by job losses, “get bitter” and “cling to guns or religion.”
Now the argument by gun-rights advocates is this: If Obama is reelected, he will have no more elections to worry about, and then he will show his true colors on guns. This was the message promoted by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at the Conservative Political Action Conference last February.
“All that first-term lip service to gun owners is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in his second term,” Mr. LaPierre said to thunderous applause.
In political terms, the timing of the Colorado massacre could hardly have been worse for Obama, says Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist and president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.