Obama’s Gun Record

Credit: Really Good Magazine

Steve Chapman runs down Obama’s record on gun control:

On the list of issues for which Obama is willing to put himself on the line, gun control ranks somewhere below free trade with Uzbekistan.

So he has proposed nothing in the way of new federal restrictions on firearms. Even the “assault weapons” ban signed by President Clinton—and allowed to expire in 2004—has no visible place on his agenda.

Not only that, he’s approved changes that should gladden the hearts of gun-rights supporters, a group that includes me. He signed a law permitting guns to be taken into national parks. He signed another allowing guns as checked baggage on Amtrak. He acted to preserve an existing law limiting the use of government information on firearms it has traced.

As a pro-Second Amendment guy, I’m heartened by this. One of the right’s biggest victories in the past twenty years has been to make gun control very politically hard to support–and that’s a good thing.

Image Credit: Really Good Magazine

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, US Politics,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Brian Knapp says:

    Alex, you are such a liberal fascist.

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Alex, you are probably not as aware as others on ways the Obama administration tries to do things. Like having the EPA declare CO2 a polutant. All plant life requires CO2. The basis for life requires CO2. Obama wants his secretary of state to sign on to a UN Treaty which would ban the private ownership of firearms. Alex, Obama has some left leaning tendencies. Based upon his up bringing and education, I would say he is possibly a Marxist if one can draw any opinion from his long time association with Communists. From Frank M. Davis to william Ayers. Why is it you want to give this radical keys to your freedom, Alex?

  3. Mithras says:

    I love how the gun manufacturers and the NRA have made huge profits by stoking paranoia. You can’t go to a gun shop or show without hearing how the big bad socialists are going to come take your guns away. Relatedly, I can’t find .45 ACP, .380 or 9 mm ammo at a reasonable price, if at all. Thanks, wingnuts!

  4. legion says:

    Indeed, Mithras. There hasn’t even been any _discussion_ – even at the grassroots level – about gun control issues in the country in ages. How the Tea Bagger Elite keep their gullible, undereducated rabble in pants-wetting fear of mythical things both impresses and appalls me.

  5. Wayne says:

    Legion what about HR45?

    http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/a/obamaguncontrol.htm

    Also I have seen Dems talk about so call “assault” weapons band, and many other bands plus excessive ammunition and gun taxes. Not to mention some of the stupid bands that already exist.

  6. Mithras says:

    legion-
    It’s the conservative character that makes it easy. Rightwingers are much less comfortable being confronted with facts that contradict their beliefs than liberals are, so they only pay attention to “safe” source of information. When contrary evidence does threaten to penetrate the bubble, they can dismiss it as propaganda or naivete.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    Even the “assault weapons” ban signed by President Clinton—and allowed to expire in 2004—has no visible place on his agenda

    Obama ran for U.S. Senate supporting the assault weapons ban. His Illinois record is firmly, undeniably anti-gun, but there is no doubt that he now has more important issues to contend with.

  8. Wayne says:

    Mithras
    Sounds like you got the Rightwingers and liberals reverse in you statement.

  9. Mithras says:

    Wayne, actually:

    The most comprehensive review of personality and political orientation to date is a 2003 meta-analysis of 88 prior studies involving 22,000 participants. The researchers—John Jost of NYU, Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, and Jack Glaser and Frank Sulloway of Berkeley—found that conservatives have a greater desire to reach a decision quickly and stick to it, and are higher on conscientiousness, which includes neatness, orderliness, duty, and rule-following. Liberals are higher on openness, which includes intellectual curiosity, excitement-seeking, novelty, creativity for its own sake, and a craving for stimulation like travel, color, art, music, and literature.

    The study’s authors also concluded that conservatives have less tolerance for ambiguity, a trait they say is exemplified when George Bush says things like, “Look, my job isn’t to try to nuance. My job is to tell people what I think,” and “I’m the decider.” Those who think the world is highly dangerous and those with the greatest fear of death are the most likely to be conservative.

    Liberals, on the other hand, are “more likely to see gray areas and reconcile seemingly conflicting information,” says Jost. As a result, liberals like John Kerry, who see many sides to every issue, are portrayed as flip-floppers. “Whatever the cause, Bush and Kerry exemplify the cognitive styles we see in the research,” says Jack Glaser, one of the study’s authors, “Bush in appearing more rigid in his thinking and intolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity, and Kerry in appearing more open to ambiguity and to considering alternative positions.”

    Like any other group trait, you can’t extrapolate to individuals, but it is generally true that on average conservatives are less tolerant of ambiguity than liberals.

    As the linked article notes, such studies are not dispositive. Among other things, the researchers may have some kind of unconscious bias. However, given their methodology, it’s hard to see how the correlations between personality type and ideology can be dismissed.

  10. Franklin says:

    Mithras-

    That study merely confirms the obvious to me. And it’s not like all of the stereotypical traits of conservatives and liberals are good or bad. Many of them depend on the situation.

    Some of this explains why there’s such divergent views in the Democratic party, while every once in awhile Republicans develop a litmus test to see if people are conforming enough to their worldview.

  11. Mithras says:

    And it’s not like all of the stereotypical traits of conservatives and liberals are good or bad. Many of them depend on the situation.

    Exactly. But that’s sort of a liberal thing to think.

  12. tom p says:

    “Redneck 4 Obama”.

    Ya know, I still have that sticker on my truck. Funny thing is the “Libs” think I am brave for wearing it. The “conservatives” don’t even take notice. Yet, when I walk into a gun shop in my neck of the woods, I am confronted with posters with a pic of BO saying “Salesman of the Year”.

    What does it mean? Simple: Libs have this vision of Crawford Co MO that is very distorted by the rare event, “conservatives” (around here anyway) are not near as close minded as some would portray them, and marketers never miss an opportunity to sell their wares.

    But still, there is no shortage of ammo around here.

    Wayne: The word is “ban”. A “band” is something you put around a birds leg, or listen to in a bar.

  13. Wayne says:

    Tom p
    Thanks for the correction.

    Mirtras
    I agree liberals have a hard time reasoning through problems and making decisions.

    As with anything, much depends on ones perspective. This study was done by liberal institutes so that should be taken into account.

    For example what constitute “openness” and how is it tested? If they talking about willingness to experiment with drugs then yes liberals are more open. If they mean openness as meaning a willingness to consider or at least tolerate alternative methods or points of view, I would say both side are piss poor at it. With that said if I had to choose one side as being more open I would choose conservatives.

    Liberals are open as long as you agree with them. A few liberals like a few conservative are open or at least tolerant if you don’t agree with them. Most just think they are.

  14. Alex Knapp says:

    Mithras,

    The methodology of that study is incredibly flawed.

  15. Mithras says:

    Alex-
    What flaws are you thinking of?

  16. Alex Knapp says:

    It’s a meta-analysis of studies that don’t have consistent methods, definitions, controls, or blinds. Most of the studies analyzed lack rigor, and the data wasn’t compiled in a way allowing for statistical analysis for the most part.

  17. Lou says:

    The Obama adminstration has been quietly working their anti self defense agenda. Do you know that they quietly ended the armed airline pilot program. Pilots who were trained and qualified to carry firearms in the cockpit were forbidden to do so, and told that complaining about it could cost them their jobs. There was an effort to have the Customs Service classify common pocket knives as “switch blades”. This would eventually trickle down until eventually the carrying of all pocket knives could be illegal since by federal definition they would be concidered switch blades which have long been illegal. In 2012 the U.N. will try to ban the possession of ALL firearms by civilians around the world. Past administrations have blocked this effort. The Obama administration says it will support its passage. Obama has also just announced that he intends to use executive orders to “get things done”. Clinton used them to subvert the Second Amendment. There are other examples. Don’t let the big politically expedient gestures fool you. Obama didn’t surround himself with totally anti gun people for nothing. The only question is when.

  18. legion says:

    Wayne,
    HR45, from what little I’ve seen, is very likely unconstitutional and unenforceable. It seems to be buried in a subcommittee with not one single person willing to sign on as co-sponsor. Also, I can see no connection to the administration whatsoever. If it ever sees the light of day in debatable format, then maybe you’ll have something to point to. Until then, I will freely admit that the left has some extremist nuts too…

  19. Richard Bottoms says:

    As soon as there’s a Democrat in the White House the gun nuts come out in full effect. Firearms manufacturers are making a fortune of your paranoia and fear.

    Politicians courting the Tea Party movement are also alluding to Patriot dogma. At a Tea Party protest in Las Vegas, Joe Heck, a Republican running for Congress, blamed both the Democratic and Republican Parties for moving the country toward “socialistic tyranny.” In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican seeking re-election, threw his support behind the state sovereignty movement. And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: “I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too.”

    Lord save us from these fruitcakes.

  20. Mithras says:

    Alex-

    It’s a meta-analysis of studies that don’t have consistent methods, definitions, controls, or blinds. Most of the studies analyzed lack rigor, and the data wasn’t compiled in a way allowing for statistical analysis for the most part.

    Where did you find the study to arrive at those conclusions? There’s no link to it in the article.

    Also, don’t meta-analyses always include studies with different methodologies? That doesn’t make the meta-analysis invalid, so I don’t understand your criticism there.

  21. The run on firearms and ammunition in the last year has less to do with any fear of Obama as gun-grabber but rather in nervousness about an existential threat to the safety of the populace posed by continued societal breakdown and the monetization of the debt portending economic chaos. Remington and Winchester both report that a full 30% of new gun buyers of their products have never owned a weapon before in their lives. This is backed up by anecdotal evidence at any local gunstore. These are not fearful “rednecks” but yuppies very logically concerned about the future.

  22. Mithras says:

    Mike Vanderboegh-
    I’m sorry, but this makes no sense:

    The run on firearms and ammunition in the last year has less to do with any fear of Obama as gun-grabber but rather in nervousness about an existential threat to the safety of the populace posed by continued societal breakdown and the monetization of the debt portending economic chaos.

    What “continued societal breakdown”? The overall U.S. violent crime rate is falling. Also, “monetization of the debt portending economic chaos” sounds like something straight out of a Ron Paul rally.

    Remington and Winchester both report that a full 30% of new gun buyers of their products have never owned a weapon before in their lives. This is backed up by anecdotal evidence at any local gunstore. These are not fearful “rednecks” but yuppies very logically concerned about the future.

    I believe many gun buyers are first-time but I don’t see where you get “yuppies” from that. In any event, my point is not about “rednecks”. It’s that conservatives have been spreading fear of some sort of looming catastrophe since it became clear in 2008 that the Democrats would win the White House. For example, I was at the Valley Forge Gun Show then and saw a full auto gun for sale with the sign, “Buy now! Hillary is coming.” It was that period when rumors started circulating that Democrats would impose onerous taxes on ammo, which led to hoarding.

  23. JKB says:

    We must not discount the investment value of quality firearms. When they banned the ownership of new full-auto firearms by private individuals the value of those already owned and available for transfer skyrocketed. The same with those weapons grandfathered in by the now defunct scary black rifle ban, aka, the “assault weapon” ban.

    So purchasing early when there is risk of further bans is like buying Pepsi stock when they are about to ban Coca Cola. Couple that with the general appreciation in value of fine firearms and it sure was a better bet than the stockmarket or real estate for your funds.

    An anecdote the owner of my local gun shop told was that a wealthy patron bought six or seven thousand dollars of ammo saying there were no other good investments so he chose to go for ammo investment as an inflation hedge. This was early on before Mr. anti-gun clinger and his gun control AG hadn’t settled down.