This article appeared in the October 8, 2015 issue of the New American magazine:
Ever since Barack Obama first surfaced in public, he expressed opposition to the private ownership of guns by American citizens, and has been working ever since to limit that ownership with the goal of eliminating it altogether.
In 1996 when Obama ran for the Illinois State Senate, he was asked if he supported legislation to “ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” He answered simply: “Yes.” He also wanted to ban “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms) and supported mandatory waiting periods, along with background checks, in order to make it more and more difficult for Americans to exercise their gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
In his third term in the Illinois Senate, he supported a package of bills that would have limited the state’s citizens to buying only one handgun a month, while allowing civil liability lawsuits in the event of injury or death caused by handguns.
In 2004 during his run for the U.S. Senate, Obama said once again that he supported mandatory background checks of buyers everywhere in the country: at gun shows, through the Internet, and private face-to-face transactions.
He’s always been a realist about just how much infringement he could manage, but he never backed away from trying: “While a complete ban on handguns is [at present] not politically practicable, I believe reasonable restrictions on the sale and possession of handguns are necessary to protect the public safety.” This from an alleged constitutional scholar, which document declares that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It might appear that he studied the Constitution in order to figure out a way to work around, abrogate, and finally to eliminate that pesky limitation.
Obama supported reinstating the Clinton-era gun ban that expired in 2004, claiming “that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.” Of course, civilian semi-automatic weapons differ greatly from those designed for soldiers, and their increasing popularity among law-abiding citizens has greatly reduced violent crime, but Obama failed to mention this.
In a questionnaire during his run for the Senate in 2004, Obama added: “I would support banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons and limit the sale of ammunition for handguns.”
Marking His Territory
Once in Washington, Obama joined Senator Ted Kennedy and 28 other senators in voting in favor of banning “armor-piercing” ammunition, in the hopes that such a law would eventually lead to banning all ammunition. During his first term, Obama was distracted from his anti-gun agenda, but a secret internal Justice Department memo surfaced that echoed his ultimate goal: “In order to have an impact [on gun ownership], large-capacity magazine regulation needs to sharply curtail their availability, to include restrictions on importation, manufacture, sale and possession.”
Entering his second term, Obama ramped up his attack on the Second Amendment in ways that only an enemy of freedom would devise. First were his 23 executive orders mandating that various government agencies explore ways to add relevant gun ownership data to a national database, ordering his all-too-compliant Attorney General Eric Holder to “review” (i.e., expand) the categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun; ordering his Consumer Product Safety Commission to review (again, to expand) the safety standards for gun locks and gun safes; expand federal law enforcement into state areas of responsibility in order to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations and then release a report on those traces; mandate “proper training” for state law-enforcement officers, first responders, and school officials for active-shooter situations; mandate that the Centers for Disease Control study the causes of gun violence with an eye toward further federal restrictions on gun owners; and notify doctors that their responsibilities under ObamaCare would include permission to quiz their patients about whether or not they owned guns at home. And that’s not even the entire list!
Following the horrific attack on innocent children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, Obama could hardly wait to take advantage of whatever momentum might exist for more controls on gun ownership by pushing ahead with more restrictions, especially federal background checks for every gun ownership transfer taking place in the country. As Emily Miller noted in her book Emily Gets Her Gun But Obama Wants to Take Yours,
Sources familiar with the machinations behind the failed anti-gun bills in April 2013 believe that Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg were in a rush to push the issue before the memory of Sandy Hook faded.
When the legislation failed, Obama was “enraged,” according to Miller, claiming that it was a “pretty shameful day for Washington,” and promised that “this effort is not over.”
Obama ordered the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to declare tighter restrictions on guns, and that anti-gun agency, which Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership calls “The Gang” (producing a 90-minute film with that title in 2007), was only too happy to oblige. It tested the waters with its “green tip” ammo ban, which would have banned the popular M855 rifle ammunition, claiming that the ammunition is armored piercing and can be used in handguns, making it illegal under the Law Enforcement Officer Protection Act of 1986. Of course, that was a stalking horse: Once passed it would give the agency carte blanche to ban all other ammunition as well. When that ban went down in flames, it took with it the head of the ATF as well.
Obama ordered the Social Security administration to use the same restrictions that the Veterans Administration was using to remove firearms from veterans whom it deemed “incapable” of managing their own financial affairs. At this writing resistance to this further incursion has kept his administration from moving forward with that outrage.
And then there are rumors of measures afoot that would soon require gun owners to carry liability insurance and to limit homeowners’ coverage where a homeowner has “excessive” amounts of ammunition stored there.
Lying and Waiting
There is the continuing use of what the NRA calls “weird science” by Obama and his enablers to build a case for more gun restrictions using faulty and incomplete data. As Chris Cox, the NRA’s executive director, explains:
Their model is a simple one.
Step one, build the “evidence” that gun control is necessary through clever manipulation of data.
Step two, relentlessly expose the American people to such “evidence” through the media. The facts don’t matter. Just keep pushing the lies until they become the new reality.
One example is that of the Violence Policy Center (VPC), led by anti-gunner Joe Sugarmann, which claims that guns aren’t used very much in self-defense. This flies in the face of evidence from researchers such as Gary Kleck, who proved years ago that there are an estimated 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGUs) every year in the United States. This was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which admitted in 2013 that DGUs number between 500,000 and three million annually. The VPC, however, continues to stick with its own calculation, claiming that, in 2012, there were only 258 “justifiable homicides” in the entire United States.
And then there is the deeply flawed anti-gun study, “Firearm Prevalence and Homicides of Law Enforcement Officials in the United States,” widely touted as legitimate by the compliant national media. The study claimed that more police officers were being murdered in states where gun ownership was the highest, when overwhelming evidence exists to the contrary: that violence against police has been declining enormously at the same time that gun ownership has been increasing.
In addition, the media has been willingly compliant in promoting Obama’s anti-gun agenda. As Emily Miller pointed out in her book, following the Sandy Hook massacre, “The media went wall-to-wall with coverage from Connecticut for weeks”:
The big three broadcast networks — ABC, NBC, and CBS — ran 216 segments on gun policy on their evening and morning shows in the month after the December 2012 Newtown shooting, according to a Media Research Center study. Of these, the stories advocating more gun control outnumbered stories featuring opposition to new restrictions by a ratio of 8 to 1. CBS was the most biased with a 22-to-1 ratio of gun control to gun-rights stories.
Helping along is the United Nations and its small-arms control treaty. From the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs came the summary of its “Disarmament Commission” meeting in June, 2013: seven steps to complete and total world-wide disarmament of every living soul so that they all may live in peace. Here is the language from steps number six and seven:
- Finally, codification of laws to completely make any and all firearms illegal to own, possess or use, outside of military and law enforcement usage.
- Creation of a United Nations Police Taskforce with the specific mission of assisting member nations with the collection of weaponry from civilian hands. [Emphasis added.]
On August 26, Obama henchman John Kerry signed the UN gun ban treaty while lying about its real intent:
This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors. This is about reducing the risk of international transfers of conventional arms that will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes.
This is about keeping Americans safe and keeping America strong. This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom. In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess, and use arms for legitimate purposes.
A fifth-grader could parse the falsehood by simply asking “Who would define those ‘legitimate purposes’?”
Frustrated with his lack of success in severely limiting gun ownership of law-abiding Americans, Obama and his friends in the media are trying still another tactic: let’s emulate Australia. A year ago Obama said:
A couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting, similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, Well, that’s it, we’re not doing … we’re not seeing that again, and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since.
Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country that would put up with this.
On Monday, June 22 the president reiterated the proposal:
It was just so shocking [that Australia] said, “Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws”, and they did. And it [a mass shooting] hasn’t happened since.
This refrain was predictably picked up and endlessly repeated in articles appearing at CNN, USA Today, ABC News, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. Also predictably missing was any mention that Australia’s gun laws included mandatory gun buybacks. Funded by a special tax, Australia succeeded in confiscating between 650,000 and a million of Australians’ estimated three million firearms.
Voluntary gun buybacks have failed miserably in the past, for various reasons. Since the Newtown massacre, there have been dozens of gun buybacks, the largest to date taking place in Los Angeles. With a population of 13 million, just over 2,000 firearms were turned in. As Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence put it: “It would be hard to imagine a shooter like [Newtown shooter] Adam Lanza not being able to obtain a weapon because of a local gun buyback program. Lanza’s Bushmaster was purchased legally. [Voluntary gun buybacks are] just not going to make a dent.”
The theory behind voluntary gun buybacks is flawed, said the National Research Council in 2004: criminals who actively acquire guns generally don’t want to give them to the police, even if it’s done anonymously. So guns in the hands of those most likely to use them to commit crimes will remain there, no matter the financial incentive.
That’s why anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in 2012 that she is “looking at a [compulsory] buy-back program,” noting that “this is a work in progress so these are ideas in development.” That’s why New York Governor Mario Cuomo said that “confiscation could be an option … a mandatory sale to the state could be an option.”
But when New York and Connecticut passed laws just requiring registration of all firearms, compliance with those laws was dismal, with millions ignoring them. As Bob Owens, writing at his Bearing Arms blog, explained:
New York and Connecticut authorities so far have shown no inclination to enforce their laws by going door to door to round up unregistered guns and arrest their owners.
But that’s what would be necessary to enforce the law.
A federal law [mandating gun confiscation] would require sweeping, national police action involving thousands of lawmen and affecting tens of millions of people.
If proponents of gun control are serious about getting guns out of Americans’ hands, someone will have to take those guns out of Americans’ hands.
In a remarkably prescient and carefully crafted response to such suggestions, Varad Mehta, a noted American history scholar writing at The Federalist, pointed out the folly and the dangers of such an effort if it were to be attempted:
Gun confiscation is not happening in the United States any time soon. But let’s suppose it did. How would it work?
Australia’s program netted, at the low end, 650,000 guns, and at the high end, a million. That was approximately a fifth to a third of Australian firearms.
There are about as many guns in America as there are people: 310 million of both in 2009. A fifth to a third would be between 60 and 105 million guns. To achieve in America what was done in Australia, in other words, the government would have to confiscate as many as 105 million firearms….
How do you take 60 to 105 million firearms from 105 to 160 million Americans?
It didn’t work when King George tried to confiscate firearms from American colonialists, and it’s not going to work now. Said Mehta:
Let there be no doubt. Gun confiscation would have to be administered by force of arms. I do not expect that those who dismissed their fellow citizens for clinging bitterly to their guns are so naïve that they imagine these people will suddenly cease their bitter clinging when some nice young man knocks on their door and says, “Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to take your guns.”
Yet only a militarized police could enforce an Australian gun-control scheme in the United States.
To take arms from men requires men with arms. There’s no other way to do it….
To choose Australia is to choose civil war.
Obama would love to ban your guns, and by advocating the Australian model, [he] is clearly comfortable with the idea of forced confiscation.
He’s also smart enough to know that if he attempted to implement it, the federal government itself would likely fall.
This is just one more reason why the Second Amendment is considered by so many to be the “anchor” amendment: the one that insures all the others. And the one that continues to present an insurmountable bulwark against plans of totalitarians like Obama to abrogate it.