Taylor Rose is a Washington, D.C., staff reporter for WND.
WASHINGTON – Representatives of organizations in support of the Second Amendment today blasted Barack Obama’s sweeping gun control strategy, charging the U.S. Constitution “clearly is not an impediment to his agenda.”
Obama today announced 23 executive orders he’s signed to address gun violence and also called on Congress to take up specific legislation, including a ban on “assault” weapons and universal background checks.
His proposal would require federal access to the details of gun sales, ban some weapons outright through a limit on ammunition capacity and waive medical privacy requirements in some cases.
Phil Watson, the director of special projects at the Second Amendment Foundation, told WND Obama’s proposals are a “red herring” designed to promote a political agenda without a solution.
“What we’re seeing right now is a debate about what some people think should be in the Constitution. We’re not seeing a debate about assault weapons,” he said.
Michael Hammond, the legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, added that Obama has made it clear “the Constitution is not an impediment to his agenda.”
Regarding Obama’s executive orders, Watson said “he has got a real problem on constitutionalism and public opinion.”
Hammond said the legislative proposals are anchored by a gun ban.
“It would ban about 50 percent of all long guns and 80 percent of all handguns,” he said. “He starts out with a gun ban that is so sweeping, so overwhelming and so unconstitutional that it is going to taint all other proposals.”
He believes that Obama “hopes that he is going to be able to negotiate back from that for everyone to be approved by the government before they own a gun.”
Both Hammond and Watson believe Obama will be unsuccessful in his efforts.
Because of “public opinion [that] isn’t on his side,” Obama will find it difficult to have his ideas resonate with the American people, Watson said. Because of this, he said, Congress will not be supportive.
Hammond and Watson said the president’s push is a part of a larger agenda. Hammond contended the executive orders would not “have done anything about Newtown, Clackamas or Aurora.”
Rather, he said, it’s another opportunity for Obama to attack the GOP.
“Obama thinks that the Second Amendment movement is a prominent part of the Republicans’ ground game,” he said.
They both believe the ultimate goal is not the criminal with a gun, but, Watson said, the “regulation on lawful gun ownership is probably where he is going to try and take the fight.”
Hammond added that this may be a part of a larger game by leftist interests to help revive the anti-gun lobby that has faltered since the 1990s. Hammond relayed a personal testimony to prove his point.
He told WND “every time we go on a major TV program we get people calling us with death threats and threats to our children and that we should and will burn in hell for eternity.”
“That is an effort to create a lobby,” he said. “My own sense is that if it doesn’t get any more serious, [meaning if Obama can be stopped] it is probably not going to have much of an impact. If we end this process and Obama gets not one word of gun control, that will be demoralizing to this liberal movement he is trying to create.”
Hammond pledged his organization’s opposition to Obama.
“We will fight to ensure that not one single word of gun control gets passed into law,” he said.
Hammond “thinks that if we can stop all legislative gun control, and we can with help of gun owners all over the country and if we can succeed in taking over the Senate in 2014 and garner support of red state Democrats, then we think we will have another decade of peace like we did after we stopped all gun control after Columbine.”
He contends, however, that Obama’s agenda does not simply revolve around gun confiscation but calls for a more nefarious attempt to get citizens “registered.”
Hammond noted Obama will enlist doctors to apply pressure on patients who may own firearms.
“I did not create that and he cannot erase that. It is in the Constitution. If they want to change the Constitution, if they want to believe the Second Amendment should not be in there or if they believe it should be rewritten in the 21st century then let them have the guts to stand up and propose that,” he said.
And a sheriff in Oregon told Biden in a letter he won’t enforce any federal regulation “offending the constitutional rights of my citizens.”
Nor will he allow federal agents to do the enforcement, said Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller.
Various states also are addressing their residents concerns. In Missouri, there’s a proposal to make it a felony for any federal agent to enforce such restrictions against a personal weapon.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that in the United States,” we do not have a king but we do have a Constitution.”
“We also have a Second Amendment,” he said. “I will fight tooth and nail to protect it.”
Even some in Obama’s adopted hometown, Chicago, say gun restrictions historically haven’t helped prevent attacks.
Steve Stanek, research fellow for the Heartland Institute, said said there “was less violent crime in this country in the 1950s, before background checks, waiting periods or age limits to buy firearms, and before licensing of gun dealers and the existence of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.”
“So if easy access to guns is a major cause of violence, why was there less violence in those days?”
David L. Applegate, a policy adviser on legal affairs for the organization said, “Everyone agrees that shooting schoolchildren is a very bad thing and therefore agrees with the president that something should be done to reduce the likelihood of further Newtowns.”
But he said: “A serious public policy debate, however, would take place over time and consider such issues as (1) whether protection of schoolchildren is best handled at the state, local, or national level; (2) whether the answers to school violence in general lie in treating causes or symptoms; (3) what the causes of such violence are; (4) whether different solutions would better fit different locations than a one-size-fits-all national policy; (5) whether enough is being done to enforce existing laws against murdering people and unlawfully using weapons; and (6) what the experience of the 1994-2004 ‘assault weapons ban’ has been. The governmental body that is best suited to do that is the legislature, not an ad hoc month-long commission headed up by Vice President Joe Biden.”
Research Fellow Benjamin Domenech said President Obama’s “attempt to disarm the law-abiding comes wrapped in the tragedy of Sandy Hook, but not one point out of his 23-point plan released today would’ve prevented it.”
“This is rank political posturing, not serious policy based on the real data about mass murder.”