Barack Obama recently made some extraordinary statements about gun ownership that need a thorough refutation.
Not only did Obama misrepresent the very reason the Bill of Rights includes a specific protection of the unalienable right to bear arms, he also misrepresented his own personal position, which is clearly for the ban of most firearms currently owned by Americans.
Here’s what he said in Colorado last week: “The opponents of some of these common-sense laws have ginned up fears among responsible gun owners that have nothing to do with what’s being proposed, nothing to do with the facts, but feeds into this suspicion about government. You hear some of these quotes:
- ‘I need a gun to protect myself from the government.’
- ‘We can’t do background checks because the government’s going to come take my guns away.’
“The government’s us,” Obama continued. “These officials are elected by you. They are elected by you, I am elected by you. I am constrained as they are constrained by a system that our founders put in place. This is a government of and by and for the people. So surely we can have a debate that’s not based on the notion somehow that your elected representatives are trying to do something to you other than potentially prevent another group of families from grieving the way the families of Aurora or Newtown or Columbine have grieved. We’ve got to get past some of the rhetoric that gets perpetuated that breaks down trust and is so over the top that it just shuts down all discussion. And it’s important for all of us when we hear that talk to say ‘hold on a second.’ If there are any folks out there right now who are gun owners and you’ve been hearing that someone is taking away your guns, get the facts! We’re not proposing a gun registration system. We’re proposing background checks for criminals. Don’t just listen to what some advocates or folks who have an interest in this are saying. Look at the actual legislation. That’s what happened here in Colorado. And hopefully if we know the facts and we’re listening to each other, then we can actually move forward.”
Obama makes light of the argument that free citizens have a right and duty to be armed and vigilant to protect their liberty – including from government. But, it’s not some crazy idea. It is exactly what the men who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment believed.
- James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers: “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
- Thomas Jefferson wrote in a proposal for the Virginia Constitution: “No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
- Again, James Madison wrote in support of the Second Amendment: “The right of the people to keep and bear … arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country. …”
- George Mason said: “… to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
- Noah Webster wrote: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
- Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers: “… but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights. …”
- Samuel Adams said: “The Constitution shall never be construed … to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
- Richard Henry Lee, the initiator of the Declaration of Independence and a member of the Senate that passed the Bill of Rights, wrote: “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.”
- Again, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers: “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
- Again, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter quoted frequently by leftists of the 1960s and 1970s: “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. … The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
- Patrick Henry said: “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
The intent of the founders couldn’t be clearer. In fact, I defy any proponent of further federal firearms restrictions to find even a single quote from a single founder to support their attacks on the Constitution. They can’t do it. Yet the record of support for the protection of firearms ownership by these men would fill volumes.
Obama argues that he is not supportive of gun bans. But the record is equally clear he is – and always has been.
In 1996, while still in Chicago, Obama supported a ban on handguns. In 1998, he supported a ban on all semiautomatic guns, which represent the vast majority of firearms currently owned by citizens in the U.S. In 2004, he advocated banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park (essentially a ban on virtually all gun stores). He served on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation, the largest private funder of research seeking ways to ban gun ownership in the U.S.
When Obama ran for the Illinois state Senate, he was asked by Independent Voters of Illinois if he supported a “ban [on] the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” He responded “Yes.” Later, when he ran for president, he flatly denied making the statement and attributed it to a staffer from his Senate race. The problem for Obama is that the questionnaire includes his own handwritten notes to at least one answer. Another questionnaire provided by Illinois State Legislative National Political Awareness Test in 1998 found that Obama wanted to “ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.”
He is also on record in opposition to current laws in 48 states permitting citizens to carry concealed handguns for protection. About concealed carry laws, Obama said, “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.” Of course, the statistics prove just the opposite.
But the Obama record gets worse.
In March 2004, the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2165, a law with provisions designed to assert a right of citizens to protect themselves against home invasions so that self-defense requirements would take precedence over local ordinances against handgun possession. The measure passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 38-20. Barack Obama was one of the 20 state senators voting against the measure.
Then Gov. Rod Blagojevich vetoed the bill. On Nov. 9, 2004, the Illinois Senate voted 40-18 to override Blagojevich’s veto. Again, Obama acted against the override.
It’s fair to conclude, with Obama in January issuing 23 executive actions with gun-control provisions, that he not only hates private ownership of most, if not all, firearms, but he is obsessed with imposing restrictions.
More to the point, just do a reality check for a moment: Does anyone genuinely have any doubt that Obama would like to impose draconian gun control regulations on Americans? Will anyone seriously try to defend such a claim?
Again, Obama has a historical pattern of taking strong anti-gun positions, only to attempt later to obscure them. His website once said there were only two reasons for private gun ownership: “Hunting and target shooting.” Later the website was scrubbed when it became an embarrassment and a politically inexpedient and indefensible position.
Why does Obama speak out of both sides of his mouth on the gun issue? In 2008, Democrat pollster Mark Penn explained the doublespeak: “The formula for Democrats is to say that they support the Second Amendment, but that they want tough laws that close loopholes. This is something (Democrats) can run on and win on.”
In other words, don’t pay attention so much to what Obama says, watch what he does. What he says changes with the political winds. What he does has not changed through his political life.