Stumping in Virginia in September 2008, Barack Obama reassured a crowd, "I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away." More than year into his presidency, Obama has proved as good as his word. The administration has had little to say about personal firearms, except that they should be permitted in national parks and on Amtrak trains. Obama's near-silence on gun control has prompted a few analysts to try and triangulate his position on the issue. With three years left in Obama's term, what can gun owners expect?
- No Fear, predicts Chicago Tribune columnist and gun-rights advocate Steve Chapman; Obama is too politically shrewd to risk losing independent voters in a Second Amendment battle. "On this issue, he took such a strong, clear position during the campaign that he has no room to maneuver. That was not accidental. It was deliberate — the equivalent of burning his ships to eliminate the option of retreat."
- He Just Hasn't Gotten Around To It Yet, thinks Warner Todd Huston at Big Government. Huston scoffs at Chapman's naivete and points out that Obama's had a busy year. Once his schedule clears up, and once he has a bit more political capital to burn, there's no reason to think he won't make gun control a priority. Huston writes, "Just because Obama hasn’t had the time to go after our gun rights doesn’t really mean he isn’t inclined to do so."
- Perception Is Everything Politico's Ben Smith points out that regardless of Obama's actual record, voters everywhere have the idea that he wants to limit individual freedoms, among them firearm ownership. Smith notes that "no matter how little Obama and Democrats do on gun control -- and they couldn't do less -- there's still a widespread view that he's doing a lot."
- The Biggest Friend to the Gun Industry True/Slant's F. Paul Wilson bemusedly notes that in the first year of Obama's presidency, "Americans bought a record 14 million+ guns. That’s more than 21 of the world’s standing armies – combined." Based on this data, Wilson half-jokingly nominates Obama for "NRA's Man of the Year."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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