Is Obama Gun Salesman of the Decade?
President Barrack Obama will no doubt, as all US Presidents have, leave a legacy. One of his legacies seems to be one of a giant increase in firearms ownership and an unprecedented acquisition of arms and ammunition by the American public.
What happened in 2008-2009?
After President Obama's 2008 victory over the McCain-Palin Republican ticket, the sales of firearms and ammunition skyrocketed. According to research from the Wall Street Journal, collections of federal excise taxes on the sale of new firearms and ammunition, a proxy for gun sales, rose to $453 million in 2009, a 45% jump from the year before. According to the same this week, Cabela's saw a 25% increase in new gun buyer's right after the 2008 election, and continues to see strong sales, aided by an uptick in female and younger customers. For those who can remember back just three short years ago the price of anything 5.56/.223 or 7.62 (in any flavor) suddenly inflated and the ammunition in those same calibers suddenly went on backorder across the country.
This was pushed in large part by candidate Obama's pre-November 2008 rhetoric voicing support of the Clinton-era Assault Weapons ban being renewed. Vice President Biden also voiced support of an assault weapons ban prior to 2008 and in 2004 while in Congress was a champion for it. Obama, unlike many past presidents, was never photographed carrying or shooting a firearm, was not a member of the NRA, and never served in the military. All of these factors have led to an uneasiness that prompted gun owners to buy it "while they still could."
Obama's actual record 2008-2012
The President's record on gun control and firearms legislation thus far is more red than blue. The President has signed no single piece of significant gun control legislation into law. In fact, in 2009, President Obama signed the credit card holders' bill of rights, which includes an amendment allowing firearms at the nation's National Parks and wildlife refuges-- an extension of Second Amendment rights. Another 2009 piece of legislation signed by the President is the Wicker amendment that allowed transport of personal firearms on Amtrak trains.
The most embarrassing anti-gun gaff that the current admiration has endured is the continuing ATF gunwalking scandal. The scandal, also known by its ATF project name as Operation Fast and Furious, monitored the sale of over 2,000 firearms, of which nearly 700 were recovered as of October 20, 2011. Officially intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers, the guns were allowed to walk over the border and have been tied to a number of civilian, military and police deaths including Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Some have made it as far as Colombian drug cartels. The tactic of letting guns walk, rather than interdicting them and arresting the buyers, led to controversy within the ATF and a huge Congressional investigation has been ongoing.
What about after 2013?
For some second amendment advocates, the November 2012 elections are a contest between Aliens and Predator-- no matter who wins we all lose. Romney has in past years voiced support of an Assault Weapons ban and had signed anti-2A laws while governor of Massachusetts. While he is an NRA member, he does not come from a military background nor is an avid shooter. It has been voiced by several political talking heads that the very pro-NRA Paul Ryan, who is an avid sportsman, was picked to help compensate for this as something akin to Mitt Romney's stunt double.
The current President has in recent days made statements voicing concerns about firearms and gun control. In a speech to the National Urban League, he said in July, ""I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms," Obama said." But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities." This of course may be nothing but election year rhetoric but nonetheless has led to another increase in firearms sales.
After a summer of highly publicized shootings at movie theaters, Sikh Temples and downtown Manhattan, the media is harping on gun control polls. In a recent CNN poll some 60% of respondents favored "A ban on the sale and possession of equipment known as high-capacity or extended ammunition clips, which allow some guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before they need to be reloaded" and a haunting 76% favored "Requiring gun owners to register their guns with the local government."
I wish I could say it was getting better guys. Remember, gun control isn't about guns, it's about control.