Obama to Push Gun Control in Second Term?

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Well, well, well. Per the Washington Examiner:

With President Obama’s final election behind him, gun-control advocates said they expect the White House to begin pushing through an assortment of gun restrictions in coming months.

Obama rarely talked about guns during his re-election campaign, and when he did, it was mostly to reassure voters he had no plans to take away their constitutionally protected firearms.

The president certainly didn’t talk about it very much during his re-election run — an indication of just how unpopular gun control has become and of the considerable damage that the issue has done to Democrats in the past — but when he did engage with the subject, he said things like this:

You know, just a couple of weeks ago, actually, probably about a month, I saw a mother, who I had met at the bedside of her son, who had been shot in that theater…I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets. And so what I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.

This echoed a commitment that Eric Holder has made on more than one occasion, including telling a press conference in 2009 that “there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons.” 

The Examiner goes on to quote some gun control advocates who are feeling optomistic:

“I am certain Obama thinks our gun laws are insane, and he doesn’t ever have to run for office again,” said Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “It won’t be lost on many people that a sportscaster was willing to speak out about the issue but Obama hasn’t found the guts to take on Republicans yet.”

Everitt said White House aides have privately assured gun-control advocates that the president would tackle the issue in his second term but didn’t commit to specific proposals.

Still, this is not a 50/50 issue and if Obama does decide to go down this road, it won’t just be “Republicans” that he has to “take on” — it will be Americans, including those in his own party. Enthusiasm for gun control is at a record low: Only 26 percent support a ban on handguns and 42 percent back a ban on “assault rifles.” Meanwhile, crime is down nationwide, despite historically liberal gun laws; the Supreme Court has solidly sided with the Second Amendment in the last decade; and Democrats in both houses of Congress appear to have learned their lesson from the Clinton years, during which many Democrats who had supported the gun control measures in the 1994 Crime Bill lost their seats — all the way up to the Speaker of the House.

Good luck, Mr. President.

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