What is Obama’s gun control agenda?

By James D. Agresti
April 17, 2012

Today, the Los Angeles Times published a house editorial claiming it is “baseless hype” that Obama wants to restrict gun rights. In particular, the editors criticize statements by the NRA and Mitt Romney that Obama is anti-gun and plans to undermine the Second Amendment through his Supreme Court appointments. To refute these allegations, the editors write that Obama:

• “has rarely mentioned the topic.”
• “hasn’t proposed any anti-gun legislation in his first term.”
• “supported” the Supreme Court’s ruling in D.C. v Heller, which upheld an individual right to bear arms.

All of these statements have an element of truth but are misleading by virtue of what is left unsaid. Though the president has rarely mentioned gun control in public, the Washington Post has reported the following about a meeting between leading gun control advocates Jim and Sarah Brady and Obama’s press secretary:

During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

In keeping with an under-the-radar approach, Obama voiced support for the Supreme Court’s ruling in D.C. v Heller (which was decided by a tight 5-4 margin) while he:

• appointed a Supreme Court Justice (Sonia Sotomayor) who joined in an opinion declaring that “the use of arms for private self-defense does not warrant federal constitutional protection from state regulation,” and the Framers of the Constitution “did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.”
• appointed another Supreme Court Justice (Elena Kagan) who recommend denying an appeal hearing for someone convicted of violating Washington, D.C.’s gun laws because, in her words, the man’s “sole contention is that the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate his constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms.’ I’m not sympathetic.”

Furthermore, as a U.S. senator, Obama voted against the nomination of two justices who ruled in favor of an individual right to bear arms in D.C v Heller, and he also identified two other justices who ruled this way as people he would not have nominated to the Supreme Court. Obama didn’t say that gun control was as a reason he opposed any of these nominations, but nonetheless, if the president had his way, 4 of the 5 justices who ruled in favor of Heller would not have been on the Supreme Court.

Congruently, during the 2008 presidential race, Politico uncovered two candidate position questionnaires from Obama’s 1996 campaign for the Illinois state Senate. In both questionnaires, the question was posed, “Do you support state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?” In both cases, the answer was “Yes.”

When these questionnaires became public, Obama’s campaign asserted that a staffer filled them out and some of the replies did not and do not reflect Obama’s views. However, an investigation by Politico found that one of the questionnaires contains written notes that appear to be in Obama’s hand, and the other questionnaire has a cover sheet indicating that Obama supplied the answers in a face-to-face interview at the house of a board member of the organization that issued the questionnaire. The board member has confirmed that Obama personally sat for this interview.

Additionally, two years later on July 2, 1998, Obama or one of his aides submitted a candidate position questionnaire advocating a “ban” on the “sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.”

Obama has publicly expressed support for gun rights since he began running for president, stating in 2008 that “I won’t take your handgun away” and “I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms.” Nevertheless, Obama’s Supreme Court appointments, Senate votes, and reported statements to Jim and Sarah Brady are consistent with his previously declared agenda to restrict gun rights.

25 thoughts on “What is Obama’s gun control agenda?

  1. It is beginning to look like Mr. Obama has several hidden agendas…
    He also noted to the Russians that he would be more flexible with missile issues after his election.
    We should all take note.

    • You are so wrong about Obama. He will NOT take away your guns. I would bet my life on it. He cares about all people. He just wants us to be careful. He has NO gun agenda. Look into his eyes. GUNS are not on his agenda. We have so much going on etc. that is the farthest thing on his mind. He is NOT anti-gun just doesn’t want the wrong/crazy people buying guns. He needs to consentrate on the election and guns are at the very very bottom (if at all). Trust me and trust him. He is for you and all of America. God bless you and may all gun owners keep the respect they have for guns.

      • Jeanne, What do have to say about your King now? Do you still support this tyrannical dictator and, if so, God help you! Or, maybe he is helping you by way of entitlements. Please take off your rose colored glasses and WAKE THE HELL UP!

      • Good God, you must be drinking so much of Obama’s kool aid that you’re losing brain cells every second of the day. Jeanne, you’re a nutbar.

      • Hey, it only took 8 months for the true colors to be revealed. How do we feel now? Mr. O has no intention of taking away guns. Hmmmm…Never let a crisis go to waste. Contemplate this: Who really thought that the Vice President was conducting objective hearings to get suggestions on what to do to safeguard our children? Do you recall when the president of the NRA stated that he felt the meeting was just to check a box? What nerve! My question is, who actually listened to the Vice President’s briefing on Friday? It appears that either the media did not, or that same media deliberately left out significant parts of his statement. Prior to his meeting with Cabinet members, and following a recitation of the multitude of groups that he met with, Mr. Biden stated, “I am going to be making a recommendation, not as a consequence of long drawn out hearings, which are useful, but because there’s an awful lot of research and material that’s been lying around over the last 10 years in the various agencies. From recommendations on having a federal weapons trafficking statute, to universal background checks, to making more widely available mental health assistance.” He also seemed to dismiss any thought that violence in films and games would be considered, as he said there is no measure regarding the coarsening of our culture. So there we have it, what appears to have been an exercise in checking the boxes, and a media that once again has not reported the entire story. Why is this, given that this Administration has proclaimed itself the most transparent Administration in history? Mr. Biden also stated that he would be consulting with technology experts. The only specific strategy he mentioned had to do with technology. He stated, “There’s a lot of changes, for example, if every gun purchased could only be fired by the person who purchased it. Because literally it would be unable to be fired. That technology exists, but it is extremely expensive.” Is that seriously on the table? For those wanting a weapon for defense in the home, is this a call for each of individual to buy a weapon just in case its personally needed, thereby having multiple weapons in a house? Further, along with many other Executive Orders signed by the President thus far, including enacting the DREAM Act when Congress rejected it, and the EPA enacting Cap and Trade through regulations, when it was also rejected by Congress, the Administration has said they are ready to enact gun control through that same mechanism. When are we going to see that there are actions being taken by the Executive branch that essentially make Legislative branch irrelevant?

      • “Consentrate”??? Are you really that stupid Jeanne? Well,after reading your reply I guess you are. I’m glad you’re willing ‘to bet your life on it’ because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Get a clue you mindless O-bot. Btw, its concentrate, not consentrate. Turn on your spell check.

    • Never listen to words alone, pay attention to a man’s actions they speak louder than his words.
      Sure looks like Fast and Furious was, at first a method to demonize gun dealers in order to get more restrictive laws passed.

  2. “The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”
    Thomas Jefferson

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  4. In reply to Mr. Thomas and trusting Obama on Gun Control – How could
    you be so naive. The Constituion and Mr. Obama have differences when
    it comes to many issues, inluding gun control. I trust him about as far as
    he can be throwned. Understand after issues like Fast and Furious that
    this goes to the top. He needs to remove the Ist and 2nd Ammendant to
    put his agenda through. Wake up Thomas

  5. Obama doesn’t respect the US Constitution and wants to do away with the 2nd Amendment in particular so that he can better control the population by disarming it. Firearms are not the problem . Lack of ethics , the lack of teaching the concept of right and wrong , violent video games , movies , TV programs , and no concept of cause and effect has brought a generation of desensitized youth . Witness the ages of the shooters in four of the recent horrendous mass murders in recent years.The other was carried out by a Muslim extremist at Ft, Hood , TX .

    • The shooters were not desensitized youth, ‘they’ were our corrupt to the bone government. Turn off the TeLIEvison, break out of your isolated bubble, and do your homework.

  6. How about any new gun sales having a required psychological test along with firearm safety classes being successfully completed before a sale is made. ALSO I seem to remember a cooling off period before a purchase along with criminal
    background check.
    Along the same lines as driving license we make
    sure our driving people are safe on the roads taking the same approach towards firearms might
    help control who owns firearms and what’s appropriate for the masses of people.
    Strict laws on who is the key.

    • REALLY??? I don’t remember a psyche test or cooling off period the last time I renewed my drivers license. Besides, there’s nothing in the constitution about them so let’s ban cars. We’d solve the drunk driving problem and save far more lives than banning guns would. People like you convince me that man will not make it as a species.

    • I agree with Cooper, and as for the car v. gun control these are not the same. You can’t compare the two. Cars can be used as weapons, but come on, people who are mentally unstable should not be allowed to bear arms. I have strong feelings on this because my husband was not mentally stable and bought a shotgun. He got upset because I left him and drank and abused drugs and then pulled the trigger. He left his 3 boys behind, and the last thing he told my youngest son on the phone was daddy is not in his right mind. I feel there needs to be stricter laws on gun control. People who have been convicted of drug use, alcohol use should not be allowed to bear arms. Nor should anyone with a background of domestic violence or any type of violence. People need to stop attacking others with this serious issue, we all have our opinions, there is no need for name calling. How would you feel if a loved one of yours was killed by a gun because of someone with a mental problem shot and killed them?

      • I agree with you, ‘Someone’, but what is at issue here is that those laws are already on the books. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits certain categories of people from possessing firearms. Some of the categories include (but are not limited to): convicted felons, fugitives from justice, unlawful drug users, and those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act required that those who would purchase guns be run through a background check before they be allowed to actually obtain a gun. The NICS system allows for these background checks to take place often over the space of a single phone call.

        These laws are obeyed by every single person that legally obtains a firearm (whether it be for self-defense, sport, target practice, or hunting). The people that refuse to obey these laws and illegally obtain guns (more often than not, ones that would not be allowed to legally obtain a firearm) will continue to get their guns, regardless of any new legislation passed. Passing new laws is NOT the answer…

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  8. The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the right to bear arms. Has any law ever been so ambiguous? What are arms? What does it mean to bear them? At least with the first amendment we know exactly where we stand: Freedom of speech. It couldn’t be any clearer. But, the right to bear arms leaves the second amendment open to different interpretations. We need gun permits to carry a concealed weapon. Do we need knife permits? No. Yet both can, and often do, cause death. We can own a gun, or a rifle, or a sub-machine gun, or a machete, and dozens of other tools to kill, even our own bare hands. So, gun control is a debate in our country that makes no sense unless you broaden the ban or acceptance to include all instruments of death…

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    • So how do you propose to go about permitting someone’s bare hands? How about pens, pencils, rocks, sticks, the list is almost endless. The answer is to start teaching responsibility to kids again. Blaming TV, video games, sugar, the internet, et al has created a mode of thinking where nothing is anyone’s fault. Too fat? Blame McDonald’s. Got caught driving drunk? Blame the the brewery. It has to stop.

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