Obama to Get the Dems ‘Barack’ into the Business of Gun Control
by Erich Pratt
Director of Communications
It sounded like a report from the National Enquirer. Dick Cheney and Barack Obama… cousins?
Say it ain’t so, Mrs. Cheney.
But in fact, the Vice-President’s wife revealed this bombshell in her recent book, Blue Skies, No Fences. According to Lynne Cheney, the current veep and the Illinois Democrat Senator, who wants to be the next president, are distant cousins — eighth cousins, to be exact.1
When hit with this revelation, the Obama campaign took the news in stride, saying that, “Every family has a black sheep.”2
All kidding aside, it’s too bad that Dick Cheney and Barack Obama didn’t do more shooting and target practice together in their youth, because today, they couldn’t be more polar opposites when it comes to the Second Amendment.
Whereas one would be hard-pressed to find an anti-gun vote on Cheney’s House record — as he served the state of Wyoming for many years — Obama’s gun record is just simply atrocious.
Oh sure, Obama told Iowa radio listeners last year that he is a “strong believer” in the rights of hunters and sportsmen, and that homeowners should have a firearm “to protect their home and their family.” But then in the next breath, he says, “It’s hard for me to find a rationale for having a 17-clip semiautomatic [sic].”3
Good thing the ban on magazines that Obama supports was not in effect during the Los Angeles riots of 1992. That’s when Korean merchants successfully used their semi-autos — with large magazines containing multiple rounds — to keep looters away from their stores. Their businesses remained standing, even while many others (which were left unprotected) burned to the ground.
Obama supports the existing gun control laws on the books. Nowhere in his literature or in his campaign speeches does he stake out a position in favor of repealing any gun control measure that has passed into law.
Not surprisingly, Obama supports the gun ban in the nation’s capital, saying the “DC handgun law is constitutional.”4 And he is opposed to people using guns for self-defense, when those guns are owned in localities like Washington, DC and Chicago where firearms are banned.
Illinois resident Hale DeMar was prosecuted by the town of Wilmette for using a handgun in his home to defend his family in 2003. Because Wilmette had imposed a ban on the possession of handguns, several Illinois state legislators introduced SB 2165 to protect the right of self-defense for residents like DeMar.
True to form, Obama voted against the pro-gun legislation.5
It is very telling that Obama moved further to the left than most of the liberal legislators in his state. The self-defense bill protecting gun owners like DeMar passed the state senate 41-16 and was later enacted into law over the governor’s veto (and over Obama’s opposition).
The concealed carry of firearms is another important issue for gun owners, and yet Obama is not only opposed to citizens carrying guns, he supports using federal laws to override those states which currently allow the practice.
In 2004, Obama said he supports a national ban on concealed carry because the states that allow it are “threatening the safety of Illinois residents.”6 Never mind the fact that concealed carry laws have improved the safety of citizens in the states that have enacted such laws.7
Obama has also taken a strong position in favor of the Clinton semi-auto ban which sunset in 2004. “I believe we need to renew — not roll back — this common sense gun law,” Obama said.8
Well, there’s nothing that’s “common sense” about the Clinton ban. Not only did it outlaw almost 200 types of firearms, legislators like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York tried to amend the law (before it sunset) to include additional types of semi-autos — even banning classic (wood-stock) long guns such as the Remington shotgun which Senator John Kerry received as a gift during his 2004 presidential bid.9
Bottom line: Senator Obama may not be as gun ban-crazed as the infamous Chuck Schumer. He may not lay awake at night dreaming of ways to disarm honest gun owners. But sure enough, Obama is a committed anti-gunner.
The chart below lays out the key votes and positions that Sen. Obama has taken over the past few years.
|The U.S. Senate Debated:
|Supporting concealed carry for citizens10
|Banning many common semi-automatic firearms11
|Disallowing self-defense in towns where guns are banned12
|Imposing one handgun a month restrictions13
|Requiring lock up your safety trigger locks14
|Protecting gun dealers from frivolous lawsuits15
|Outlawing gun confiscations during a national emergency16
|Squelching the free speech rights of gun owners17
|Restricting the interstate sales of firearms18
|Repealing the gun ban in Washington, DC19
1Associated Press, “Research finds Cheney, Obama distant cousins,” October 17, 2007.
3O.Kay Henderson, “Three leading Democrats talk about gun control,” Radio Iowa News, April 22, 2007.
4James Oliphant and Michael J. Higgins, “Court to hear gun case,” Chicago Tribune, November 20, 2007.
5Illinois State Senate, vote on SB 2165 (41-16), May 25, 2004.
6Obama says, “National legislation will prevent other states’ flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents.” David Mendell, “Democratic hopefuls vary a bit on death penalty,” Chicago Tribune, February 20, 2004.
7See the Gun Owners of America fact sheet at http://www.gunowners.org/fs0404.htm.
8John Chase, “Keyes, Obama are far apart on guns; Views on assault weapons at odds,” Chicago Tribune, September 15, 2004.
9Senators Chuck Schumer and John Kerry had both cosponsored S. 1431 in 2003, a bill that would have banned any semi-auto shotgun that also contained a pistol grip, which the bill defined as “a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.” According to that definition, just about any semi-automatic shotgun would be banned.
10See supra note 6.
11About the so-called “assault weapons” ban, Obama says, “I believe we need to renew — not roll back — this common sense gun law.” See supra note 8.
12See supra note 5.
13As a state senator, “Obama regularly supported gun-control measures, including a ban on semiautomatic ‘assault weapons’ and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month.” “Obama Record May be Gold Mine for Critics,” Associated Press, January 17, 2007.
14On July 28, 2005, Senator Obama voted for a provision requiring gun dealers to include the sale of a lock-up-your-safety device with every handgun sold. The amendment, offered by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), passed by a vote of 70-30. The provision amended the gun makers’ protection act (S. 397).
15On July 29, 2005, Senator Obama voted against S. 397, a bill that was designed to put an end to the frivolous lawsuits that were threatening to put many gun dealers out of business. While an argument could be made that a pro-gun Senator might vote against this bill because it contained a lock-up-your-safety provision (see supra note 14), the fact that Obama voted in favor of that trigger lock amendment (but against the overall bill) indicates his real animus against helping gun dealers protect themselves from the anti-gun lawsuits that were aimed at driving them into bankruptcy.
16On July 13, 2006, Sen. Obama voted for Emergency Powers language that saw only 16 of the most ardent anti-gun senators vote against it. The amendment provides that no money can be used by federal agents to confiscate firearms during a declared state of emergency. The amendment was added to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 5441).
17On January 18, 2007, Senator Obama voted against a pro-gun amendment to strike language in S. 1 that would infringe upon the free speech rights of groups like Gun Owners of America. The amendment, which passed, struck requirements that would have required GOA to monitor and report on its communications with its members, and could easily have led to government demands for GOA’s membership list (a.k.a. registration).
18Obama has frequently made statements which indicate that he would restrict the interstate sale of firearms. For example, he told the NAACP that, “We’ve got to make sure that unscrupulous gun dealers aren’t loading up vans and dumping guns in our communities, because we know they’re not made in our communities. There aren’t any gun manufacturers here, right here in the middle of Detroit.” Senator Barack Obama, at the NAACP Presidential Primary Forum, July 12, 2007.
19See supra note 4.