Where is Obama on Gun Rights?
Not surprisingly, here, there and everywhere.
He believes (as do I) that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to bear arms. But, he supports reasonable regulations on those rights. So where does reasonable regulation end and infringement on an individual's rights begin?
Obama is actually straddling the issue somewhat like the Bush Administration did when it filed a brief in the [D.C. gun] case last month. He does support individual rights, but says—and this is the qualifier--the government can impose reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. And he then suggests that pretty much any existing laws are reasonable.
Here's Obama's position and the video of his remarks. Shorter version: He straddles.
He declined, just as the Bush Administration did, to take a position on whether the DC gun ban violates the 2nd Amendment. He said instead that states and cities should have broad latitude to regulate guns—even if the Constitution guarantees an individual right to own them.
“The city of Chicago has gun laws, so does Washington, DC,” Obama said. “The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang bangers and random shootings on the street isn't borne out by our Constitution.”
So Obama is in the same place as Bush on the D.C. Gun case.
Instead of embracing the categorical approach of D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman, who said a ban on handguns was a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment, the Bush Administration’s brief argued for a balancing test. It refused to take a position on the DC gun ban, and instead urged the Court to send the case back to the lower courts to apply the different, less strict standard.
...And if it’s constitutional to ban all guns in a city, as DC basically does, what’s the point of the 2nd Amendment? If that’s not unconstitutional, conservatives ask, what is? Nothing, they say.
Obama’s position on the 2nd Amendment may make that point for them. As he said today: “I think there's a lot of room before you (start) bumping against a constitutional barrier for us to institute some of the common-sense gun laws that I just spoke about.”
55 Senators, including 8 Democrats, Russ Feingold among them, signed onto a brief in the D.C. gun case last week taking the position that the gun ban infringed on an individual's right to bear arms.
Barack Obama, who says he believes in an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, was not one of them.
Incidentally, Obama was not one of the 55 senators (including Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold and eight other Democrats) who signed a brief last week arguing the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right and that the DC gun ban was unconstitutional. That brief, also signed by 250 members of the House and Vice President Cheney, urges the Court to strike down the gun ban—and adopt Silberman’s test. Obama wouldn’t go that far. Neither would the Bush Administration.
I've written a little about Obama's record on gun control before.
Chicago Defender December 13, 1999,
Obama unveils federal gun bill
Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home.
He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms
Here's the Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2004:
In 2001, Obama was one of just nine senators to vote against a bill that toughened penalties for violent crimes committed during gang activity. Obama said the law did not clearly define a gang member and he questioned why lawmakers were targeting Hispanics and blacks for stiffer sentences.
Two years earlier, after the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, Obama voted "present" on a bill requiring juveniles to be prosecuted as adults for firing a firearm on or near school property.
Obama also voted against a bill permitting gun owners to claim self-defense when using a gun in their homes if the local community bans the use of handguns. Obama said municipalities should control local gun regulations, not the state.
"That law eviscerated anti-handgun ordinances in some communities," Obama said. "The way I feel, Wilmette should not determine Mattoon's firearms ordinances and Mattoon should not determine Wilmette's."
Associated Press, Sept. 11, 2004:
-Voted 'No' on letting people claim a self-defense protection in court for using a gun in their homes despite local weapons bans. (SB2165, 2004)
-Voted 'Yes' on letting retired police and military police carry concealed weapons. (SB2188, 2004)
Chicago Tribune, August 20, 2004:
Last week, Obama won the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police. Union officials cited Obama's longtime support of gun-control measures and his willingness to negotiate compromises on bills backed or opposed by the FOP.
(Articles available on Lexis. com.)
I can't figure out where he stands. He's all over the map. This happens on just too many issues with him.
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