I just finished reading most of the posts to which Glenn Reynolds so helpfully linked on this topic. I also read many of the comments in response to those posts. The gist of the discussion is that pro-Obama people say Obama doesn’t really oppose the right to arms, while pro-gun people say he does.
I don’t understand why anyone would doubt the validity of the pro-gun people’s argument.
If Obama supported gun rights, many pro-gun people, even Republicans, would support him, because many pro-gun people are single-issue voters on this topic and Obama’s opponent has a spotty record on gun rights. (The NRA and pro-gun rights voters have supported pro-gun Democrats in many elections.) Also, if Obama really supported the right to arms, it’s likely that many additional Republican, libertarian and independent voters would support him because conservatives and libertarians often interpret a politician’s support for the right to arms as a reliable proxy for that politician’s support of other individual rights. This point seems especially strong now, since many Republican voters distrust Obama’s opponent on free speech, business regulation and other big-govt-vs-individual-rights issues.
So on the one hand we have single-issue pro-gun people opposing Obama on guns, and on the other hand we have people who are primarily Obama partisans, not gun people, arguing that pro-gun people should trust Obama on guns. Who should we believe?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following
was released today by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):
“One of the most blatant lies ever to come from a politician’s mouth,”
is how the ISRA is characterizing a recent statement by U.S. Senator Barack
Obama. Speaking in the latest issue of “Field & Stream,” Obama claims that
Illinois sportsmen know him as an advocate for their rights. On the
contrary, Obama’s voting record while a state senator clearly indicates
that he has nothing but contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner.
“Any sportsman who counts Barack Obama as one of his friends is
seriously confused,” said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson.
“Throughout his tenure in the Illinois Senate, Obama served as one of the
most loyal foot soldiers in Mayor Daley’s campaign to abolish civilian
firearm ownership. While a state senator, Obama voted for legislation that
would ban and forcibly confiscate nearly every shotgun, target rifle and
hunting rifle in the state. Obama also voted for bills that would ration
the number of firearms a law-abiding citizen could own, yet give a pass to
the violent thugs who roam our streets. And, inexplicably, Obama voted four
times against legislation that would allow citizens to use firearms to
defend their homes and families.”
“Let us also not forget that Obama served as a director of the Joyce
Foundation,” continued Pearson. “While on the Joyce Foundation board, Obama
funneled tens of millions of dollars to radical gun control organizations
such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence
“If Senator Obama considers his legislative record and his
philanthropic endeavors to be acts of advocacy on behalf of sportsmen’s
rights, then I submit that the Senator is seriously confused as well,”
“Nobody knows Obama’s record on guns better than I do, and it’s rotten
to the core,” said Pearson. “I’ve been involved in Illinois politics nearly
as long as Obama has been alive. In that time, I have never encountered a
legislator who was more hostile towards or more disinterested in
sportsmen’s rights than Barack Obama.”
UPDATE2: John Lott’s recent column on this topic is well worth reading.
UPDATE3: An anonymous commenter contributes this insight:
It’s not that guns are a ‘one-issue vote’ for voters, it’s that a candidate that’s likely to respect the second amendment is also likely to respect the others in the Constitution as well. Considering how Obama is ALREADY treating the 1st amendment, coupled with his take on the 2nd, I would say that it’s a fair, if not perfect, assessment.