Guns

Obama Perhaps Not as Anti-Gun as Feared

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

When President Obama was elected, gun advocates feared the new President would roll back Second Amendment rights. Sales of guns and ammunition skyrocketed. Well, more than a year later, Obama has not tackled gun control, and several states have actually eased gun laws.

According to a report in The New York Times, gun opponents are disappointed with the President. They say he has failed to deliver on such campaign promises as closing a loophole that allows unlicensed dealers at gun shows to sell firearms without background checks, reviving the assault weapons ban, and pushing states to release data about guns used in crimes.

Instead, he signed bills allowing guns to be carried in national parks and in luggage on Amtrak trains.

“We expected a very different picture at this stage,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group that last month issued a report card failing the administration in all seven of the group’s major indicators.

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“The president supports and respects the Second Amendment,” White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said in response to the Brady Campaign's failing grade. “And he believes we can take common-sense steps to keep our streets safe and to stem the flow of illegal guns to criminals.”

Still, gun rights groups remain skeptical of the administration.

“The watchword for gun owners is stay ready,” said Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association. “We have had some successes, but we know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us.”

That Mr. Obama signed legislation allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains should not be seen as respect for the Second Amendment, Mr. LaPierre said. The two measures had been attached as amendments to larger pieces of legislation — a bill cracking down on credit card companies and a transportation appropriations bill, respectively — that the president wanted passed, Mr. LaPierre said.

Meantime, The Times reports states are taking matters in their own hands, perhaps preempting possible action from the Administration:

In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a bill last week that allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month...

Arizona and Wyoming lawmakers are considering nearly a half dozen pro-gun measures, including one that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. And lawmakers in Montana and Tennessee passed measures last year — the first of their kind — to exempt their states from federal regulation of firearms and ammunition that are made, sold and used in state. Similar bills have been proposed in at least three other states.