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Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama's 2nd Amendment Double Speak

The Wall Street Journal had an article this week titled "Obama and the Power of Words." While the Second Amendment was not the main topic of this article, Obama's power of oratory was the subject, Obama's position on the issue was used as an example. In the example we see why gun owners must look deep into what the candidate says to get the real meaning of his words.

In the article, Stephen Hayes, a writer for the Weekly Standard, wrote about Obama's rhetorical skills, making a comparison to former President Ronald Reagan, and explains how conservatives will be making a mistake if they try to portray him being an empty suit full of fluffy oratory much the way the press did with Reagan in 1980.

Hayes noted how Obama has "the unique ability to offer doctrinaire liberal positions in a way that avoids the stridency of many recent Democratic candidates." As Hayes explains it, Obama's trick is that when he talks about a contentious issue, he almost always, according to Hayes, begins the answer with a respectful nod in the direction of the view he is rejecting.

Hayes details how during a townhall meeting at Cornell College, Obama was asked how his administration would view the Second Amendment right to bear arms. He replied: "There's a Supreme Court case that's going to be decided fairly soon about what the Second Amendment means. I taught Constitutional Law for 10 years, so I've got my opinion. And my opinion is that the Second Amendment is probably -- it is an individual right and not just a right of the militia. That's what I expect the Supreme Court to rule. I think that's a fair reading of the text of the Constitution. And so I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish, protect their families."

That's the "respectful nod" (though I don't know what fishing has to do with the subject). The Senator continues, and note he avoids the usual "but" as he gets to his view: "Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community...So when I look at Chicago and 34 Chicago public school students gunned down in a single school year, then I don't think the Second Amendment prohibits us from taking action and making sure that, for example, [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] can share tracing information about illegal handguns that are used on the streets and track them to the gun dealers to find out -- what are you doing?"

Obama concludes the answer with: "There is a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected that is not mutually exclusive with making sure that we are shutting down gun traffic that is killing kids on our streets. The argument I have with the [National Rifle Association] is not whether people have the right to bear arms. The problem is they believe any constraint or regulation whatsoever is something that they have to beat back. And I don't think that's how most lawful firearms owners think."

Never mind the fact the NRA makes it perfectly clear criminals and those who are a danger to themselves and others should not have the ability to own firearms, even to the point that some other gun groups don't think the NRA is sufficiently pure on the issue. Noting that however would not have suited Obama's desire to take a swipe at the NRA though.

The press will take the first part of the answer, "it is an individual right and not just a right of a militia" and portray Obama as not being a threat to gun owners. In fact, they will portray him as supporting the Second Amendment. I can just hear the American Hunters and Shooters Association, the gun ban group masquerading as a pro-gun organization, using it when they endorse him for president.

As gun rights activist, it will be our job to make all gun owners aware of Obama's record (there will be more on that later) and what his true views are should he win the Democratic nomination.

Hat tip to Cam Edwards for pointing out this article on NRANews' Cam and Company this week.

You and hear more about Obama and the Second Amendment here.

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