For the last eight years, the NRA has been ringing the warning bell, telling their gullible audience that President Obama is coming for their guns.
Except he isn’t. And gun sales have actually gone through the roof, as have the number of shootings, during his presidency. And when confronted with one gun shop owner during a town hall meeting in Indiana, President Obama spelled that out very, very clearly.
“Just not true”
On Thursday night, President Obama joined Gwen Ifill for an interview and town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana. After the broadcast, however, the president stuck around, and continued to take questions from the audience.
One of those questions came from a gun shop owner named Doug Rhude. Rhude challenged Obama’s record on gun control, and in the process, trotted out all of the usual rhetoric that gun supporters are known for when they do their damnedest to prove everyone but them is wrong:
Knowing that we apply common sense to other issues in our society, specifically like holding irresponsible people accountable for their actions when they drink and drive and kill somebody, and we do that without restricting control of cars and cells phones to the rest of us, the good guys, why then do you and Hillary want to control and restrict and limit gun manufacturers, gun owners and responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us, the good guys, instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions?
You can count the number of heuristic errors in that statement, but President Obama handled it better than I would. “First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats or whoever you want to choose are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns,” the president began, “is just not true.”
He went on to add that there were “enough guns for every man, woman and child in this country” and there were more guns sold “since I have been president than just about any time in U.S. history.”
“And at no point have I ever, ever proposed confiscating guns from responsible gun owners,” he said. “So it’s just not true.”
The President would go on to note there was a way to have “common sense gun laws” without punishing “responsible gun owners”:
So, sir, I just have to say, respectfully, that there is a way for us to have commonsense gun laws. There is a way for us to make sure that lawful, responsible gun owners like yourself are able to use them for sporting, hunting, protecting yourself, but the only way we’re going to do that is if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment. And that’s how the issue too often gets framed.
During his answer, the President also noted that because of the NRA, the government was unable to keep individuals suspected of sympathizing with ISIL from purchasing firearms:
What I have said is precisely what you suggested, which is, why don’t we treat this like every other thing that we use? I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I got people who we know have been on ISIL Web sites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun.
This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer. And if he wants to walk in to a gun store or a gun show right now and buy as much — as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.
Now, I dislike this appeal to terrorism on principle, but I think the president makes an excellent point, if accidentally: if you truly are serious about fighting terrorism, rather than using it as a convenient excuse to racially scapegoat Muslims, why the hell would you allow a potentially dangerous terrorists to buy firearms willy-nilly? That’s not just counterproductive, that’s inviting terrorist attacks.
Furthermore, the notion that you can’t restrict rights is straight up wrong. While Free Speech Warriors will claim up and down they have the right to say whatever they please, they actually don’t: schools and businesses can and will restrict your freedom of speech, and things like libel, slander, plagiarism, and copyright violations are not protected forms of speech. These can and will get you in trouble with the law, freedom of speech or not.
So the bigger question, I feel, is this: why should we award the second amendment any special privileges we don’t allow the first?
Watch the video below:
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