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Obama: We're working on gun control 'under the radar'

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Barack Obama reportedly told Sarah Brady regarding gun control. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

This interesting bit of news was reported in an April 11 Washington Post Lifestyle section story about Obama’s gun-control and regulatory policy wonk Steve Croley. Toward the end of the article the writer, Jason Horowitz, mentions a March 30 meeting between Jim and Sarah Brady and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during which the President “dropped in.”

Horowitz quotes Sarah Brady relating how President Obama gave his personal assurance that he and his administration were working hard on a gun-control agenda. Brady reported that Obama then told them about advancing the agenda “under the radar.”

Apparently Mrs. Brady either doesn’t grasp the concept of “under the radar,” or, more likely, she expected the reporter to be discreet and keep the “good news” about Obama’s stealth operations to himself. Thankfully this reporter chose to report the news, so we have direct corroboration of Obama’s sneak-attack against the Second Amendment.

What is truly startling about this story is the way it has been totally ignored by the rest of the media. Compare the media’s current silence with what happened during the 2000 presidential campaign when then NRA Vice-President (and GOP activist) Kayne Robinson told a group of rights supporters in California that electing Bush would mean “we’ll have a president where we work out of their office, unbelievably friendly relations.”

The media went into a feeding frenzy over this comment to such a degree that Bush distanced himself from the NRA, publicly endorsed reinstatement of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban and withdrew overt support for the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (a law which shields firearms manufacturers from harassment lawsuits over non-faulty products). The story was carried repeatedly on virtually every major media outlet in the country – and it was not based on anything Bush himself had said.

In Obama’s case, the president himself purportedly claimed active support for a highly controversial agenda and admitted that he was violating his own promise of transparency in pursuit of that agenda. Yet the media ignores it.

Even the folks at the Brady bunch are not spreading the news about the stunning reassurances from the president. There is nothing on their website discussing or even mentioning Obama’s chat with Jim and Sarah. Just the fact that a group’s leaders were cordially welcomed at the White House, much less given a private, informal meeting with the president would generally be something to crow about, but on their web site the big push right now is to “Tell President Obama to Ban Assault Clips!” (whatever the heck an “assault clip” is).

Something else conspicuous in its absence on the Brady site is any mention of ATF’s recent “study” on the importability of shotguns. Like the president’s “under the radar” comment, the Brady bunch doesn’t want to provide fodder for folks like me pointing out the truth.

The president of the United States and his staff are actively engaged in a multi-faceted plot to increase restrictions on firearms ownership, and they are doing their best to keep the American people from knowing about it. The ATF shotgun importability “study” is a core component of that “under the radar” gun-control plot.

As I have previously reported, the ATF “study” examines current laws, regulations and practices regarding the importability of shotguns based on whether they are considered to have a “sporting purpose” in accordance with the provisions of the Gun Control Act. Like a bank robber wearing a brightly colored hat to distract witnesses’ attention from more important identifying features, the ATF “study” puts forward a bold list of features that they say generally distinguish non-sporting shotguns from sporting shotguns.

As intended, the media, as well as the gun-rights community, have almost universally focused on this list of features to the exclusion of other critical items in the “study,” most importantly the statement that the list is a guide, not a rule. It states that, while these features are strong indicators of a gun being non-sporting, and therefore unsuitable for importation, that the real test they intend to employ is one of application, not features.

What that means is that the list of features is mostly show and the real test is whether the importer can demonstrate that these or similar guns – regardless of what features might be currently attached or how the gun might be currently configured – are commonly used for ATF-recognized sporting purposes such as hunting, trap and skeet shooting.

Up to this point importers have been able to replace “non-sporting” features like higher capacity magazines, folding stocks and pistol-grips with more traditionally sporting style options. They have also simply removed superfluous items such as compensators, barrel shrouds and bayonet lugs.

Under the guidelines set forth in the ATF “study,” such cosmetic changes will no longer suffice. Importers will have to prove that these guns are actually, commonly used for sports ATF recognizes. The very popular 3-Gun and tactical shotgun competitions of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association, International Defensive Pistol Association and International Practical Shooting Confederation are specifically mentioned in the ATF study and dismissed as not being recognized sports because previous ATF rifle and handgun importability studies have not recognized these sports as sports. So preferred equipment for these very popular and rapidly growing international sports will be blocked from importation because ATF has not previously recognized them as sports, and they are not going to recognize them now because they have not previously recognized them. It is the logic of a merry-go-round.

Some have suggested that a simple solution to the problem is to just manufacture clones of the non-importable, non-sporting shotguns right here in the good old USA. Unfortunately there is more to the story. The Gun Control Act prohibits importation of any shotgun with the exception of those which the attorney general determines to be “particularly suitable for sporting purposes.” But the 1968 Gun Control Act is not the only place in federal law that applies the “sporting purposes” test. The National Firearms Act uses almost identical language when it declares that any firearm with a bore diameter of greater than .5 inches (a 12 gauge shotgun bore is about .73 inches) is a “destructive device,” except for those shotguns that the attorney general determines to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes.

Obama’s “under the radar” assault on the Second Amendment is underway. One seemingly minor change in enforcement lays the groundwork for bans not just on importation, but also eventually on sale and possession, of several popular shotgun styles. And it is all taking place virtually undetected and unopposed because, as Obama himself has stated, it is “under the radar.” The compliant media and even major gun-rights groups apparently have their radar turned off.