Friday, May 16, 2008

Why Obama Got An "F" From The NRA

Senator John McCain drew a big laugh at the National Rifle Association's national convention today when he quoted Barack Obama trying to talk like a hunter by making reference to using a "six shooter" to kill fowl. McCain commented, "Someone should tell Senator Obama that ducks are usually killed with shotguns."

Obama's hunt-speak was one more instance of Obama trying to obfuscate a voting record that reveals his contempt for the second amendment's right to bear arms. It's a voting record that prompted the NRA to rate Obama "F" three times.

Obama's efforts to reinvent his record on gun rights reflects a political reality: three fourths of all Americans believe that individuals have a right to bear arms. Moreover, nine out of ten NRA members vote.

Once he set his sights on the Oval Office, Obama professed a new-found affection for anything with a sight. During the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas last January, for example, Obama observed, "You've got the tradition of lawful gun ownership, that all of us saw, as we travel around rural parts of the country. And it is very important for many Americans to be able to hunt, fish, take their kids out, teach them how to shoot."

Before he decided to run for president, in contrast, Obama did not disguise his disdain for guns and those who own them. Take his response to a 1996 candidate survey. Though he denied it and tried to blame a staffer, Obama -- in his own handwriting -- answered "yes" to a question that asked, "Do you support state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?"

Obama's recent infatuation with guns would no doubt shock those who knew him early in his career, like the Illinois State Rifle Associaton (ISRA). Obama served as director of the Joyce Foundation, which is linked to the Soros Open Society Institute. According to ISRA, The Joyce Foundation has given more than $ 15 million to fund such anti-gun organizations as the Violence Policy Center and the Council Against Handgun Violence.

John Lott, Jr. recently told FoxNews that he recalls Obama stating,: "I don't believe that people should be able to own guns." According to Lot, "I knew Obama during the mid-1990s, and his answers to IVI's [candidate survey] question on guns fit well with the Obama that I knew. Indeed, the first time I introduced myself to him he said 'Oh, you are the gun guy.' I responded 'Yes, I guess so.' He simply responded that "'I don't believe that people should be able to own guns.'" (Emphasis added.)

Obama voted -- four times -- against legislation to protect homeowners from being prosecuted for using a gun when their house is being broken into, according to ISRA. That bill responded to a case involving a Chicago man who was prosecuted for shooting a burglar who had broken into his home, twice.

While running for the U.S Senate in 2004, Obama called for federal legislation to pre-empt state statutes that allow concealed weapons, according to the Chicago Tribune. In one fell swoop, Obama showed that he has no more respect for the rights of states in the federal system than he does for the second amendment.

Likewise, as a state senator, Obama voted against a law to allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon -- even in situations where the citizen had obtained a protective order. Obama explained, "Concealed-carry laws would only increase the problem of handgun violence and ultimately make the streets less safe everywhere." That, of course, is cold comfort to a woman trying to defend herself from the subject of a protective order.

Just last month, Obama reiterated his view on concealed weapons. "I'm not in favor of concealed weapons . . . I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Illinois hunters became irate in 2003 over a proposed law, which Obama supported, that would have banned privately held shotguns, target rifles and black powder guns. According to ISRA, the law would have allowed law enforcement officials to forcibly enter private homes to seize the guns. It seems that Obama has no more use for the fourth amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures than he has for the second amendment.

Obama's record in the U.S. Senate is just as bad. He twice voted to hold manufacturers, distributors and importers of guns and ammunition liable for the acts of criminals. That's worse than holding McDonald's liable for childhood obesity: it's like holding the farmers of the potatoes that went into the McDonald's french fries liable, as well.

Obama maintains that the D.C. gun ban (now before the Supreme Court) is constitutional -- though that ban prohibits people from keeping guns even in their own homes. Obama's campaign explained to the Chicago Tribune that he "believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives."

The only lives saved by the D.C. gun ban are the lives of criminals. The 30 year history of the D.C. gun ban shows that it did not reduce crime, a fact Obama ignores.

Consequently, Obama did not join a bipartisan majority of 55 U.S. Senators who signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief asked the Court to hold the D.C. gun ban unconstitutional and reaffirm that the second amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. McCain signed the brief. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell signed it, too. Obama did not (nor did Hillary Clinton). But so great is his ambition, and his fear of angering voters, that Obama also failed to sign the brief for the other side.

The irony is that if the Supreme Court rules the way Obama wants, and upholds the D.C. gun ban, Obama will lose the election. The next president will nominate at least one justice to the Supreme Court. The three-fourths of Americans who believe that the second amendment means what it says will not stand by and watch that amendment gutted by activist justices who don't like guns.

The issue of the right to bear arms is the most striking example of the difference between Obama and McCain. Obama told Lott, "'I don't believe that people should be able to own guns.'" And he backed up that statement with vote after vote. Until recently.

McCain, in contrast, told the NRA:

For more than two decades, I've opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines, and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in "modern" America. The Second Amendment isn't some archaic custom that matters only to rural Americans, who find solace in firearms out of frustration with their economic circumstances. The Second Amendment is unique in the world. It guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. To argue anything else is to reject the clear meaning of our Founding Fathers.

McCain evoked a standing ovation, but unlike Obama's appearance in Louisville last week, no one fainted during McCain's speech. And therein lies another difference between the two men: whereas Obama projects the aura of a rock star, McCain is unapologetically presidential.

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