Monday, January 16, 2012

Obama’s Record on Gun Control

Candice Lanier - Last week, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling upholding an Obama administration policy that requires federally licensed firearms retailers, in states bordering Mexico, to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles.  Opposed by two NRA-backed firearms retailers and by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an appeal will be filed on behalf of its affected members. 

According to the NRA-ILA, the plan, concocted by Attorney General  Eric Holder’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, requires all of the 8,700 firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days, if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines.  (The plaintiffs in the case pointed out that this would impact approximately 20 times more dealers than had been subject to any similar “demand letter” before. But, in this decision the court nonetheless found the new requirement “limited in scope.”)

Watch the NRA-ILA video

TheRightofthePeople.Org argues that the BATFE has no legal authority to take this action and points out that the flood of new paperwork (BATFE estimates 18,000 reports per year) will squander scarce law enforcement resources that should be spent on legitimate investigations.
Additionally, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) called the new policy “the height of hypocrisy,” and accused the Obama administration of restricting the gun rights of border state citizens “when the administration knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico.  Smith continued by saying that “limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem.”

Though last year the U.S. House of Representatives voted on and passed, by a vote of 277 to 149, an amendment to H.R. 1 that prohibits the use of federal funds for the upheld reporting scheme, the amendment was not included in the final version of the bill due to Senate inaction.  The amendment was proposed by Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.) 

However, in March 2011, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced legislation (S. 570) which would prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.  The bill would prohibit the use of federal funds for the multiple sales reporting scheme proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  You can track the bill’s status here.

Obama’s Record

"As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can't constrain the exercise of that right."

Barack Obama - April 16, 2008, Democratic Primary Debate, National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
Facts – Obama on Gun Control
-Opposes four of the five Supreme Court justices who affirmed an individual right to keep and bear arms. He voted against the confirmation of Alito and Roberts and he has stated he would not have appointed Thomas or Scalia.

-Voted for an Illinois State Senate bill to ban and confiscate “assault weapons,” but the bill was so poorly crafted, it would have also banned most semi-auto and single and double barrel shotguns commonly used by sportsmen.

-Voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry

-Has endorsed a 500% increase in the federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition.

-Has endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership

-Supports local gun bans in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities.

-Voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense

-Was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and “research.”

-Supported a proposal to ban gun stores within 5 miles of a school or park, which would eliminate almost every gun store in America.

-Supports a ban on inexpensive handguns

-Supports a ban on the resale of police issued firearms, even if the money is going to police departments for replacement equipment.

  • Opposed bill okaying illegal gun use in home invasions. (Aug 2008)
  • Ok for states & cities to determine local gun laws. (Apr 2008)
  • Respect 2nd Amendment, but local gun bans ok. (Feb 2008)
  • 2000: cosponsored bill to limit purchases to 1 gun per month. (Oct 2007)
  • Concealed carry OK for retired police officers. (Aug 2007)
  • Stop unscrupulous gun dealers dumping guns in cities. (Jul 2007)
  • Keep guns out of inner cities--but also problem of morality. (Oct 2006)
  • Bush erred in failing to renew assault weapons ban. (Oct 2004)
  • Ban semi-automatics, and more possession restrictions. (Jul 1998)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jul 2005)