Stupid Changes, Obama Style - Guns

How to get rid of guns without breaking the 2nd Amendment.

For some time now - at least the length of his campaign for President, if not longer - the mantra, theme, and repetitive refrain of Obama and his supporters has been the urgent and pressing, if not dire, need for "Change!"

At first, of course, it was the same need for change that a panhandler endorses - that is to say, "Donate please!"  And donate his listeners did, in droves.  That need didn't last long.

Now, the presumption is that Barack Obama wants to change various aspects of our laws so as to change our society.

There can be no doubt that the people of the United States deeply desire change.  As the favorable ratings of both the Republican President and the Democratic Congress dip perilously close to single digits, an interviewer could search far and wide across the fruited plain, with faint hope of finding anyone who'd say they like things just as they are.  So when Barack Obama says that the voters are calling for change, he could hardly be more right.

But that is analogous to the husband and wife squabbling over the steering wheel, concerning whether or not this is the right exit to get off the highway.  If they don't make up their mind, the car will smash into the guardrail between the highway and the offramp - and the couple is completely united in agreement that they'd rather avoid that, just as today's voters see the cliff we are heading for and call for a change.

The trouble is that you can't just agree on "change" in the abstract.  You have to propose, obtain agreement, enact, and implement specific changes.  And the problem with specific changes is that some are good, and some are bad.

In this series, we'll look at some of the changes proposed by Barack Obama and the consequences of these changes.  This way, we can reflect upon whether those particular changes would be an improvement or would make things even worse than they already are.

Let's look at Barack Obama's beliefs concerning gun ownership.  One of the (ineffective) arguments that Hillary has tried to use against Obama is his youth and inexperience.  He's been an advocate for lots of things and a good speaker, but what has he done?  Has he even had any original ideas?

In the case of gun control, Barack Obama has not accomplished anything more than echoing the usual checkbox liberalism - he says that nobody should ever be allowed to have a gun, or be allowed to defend themselves.  Yet, he also says he supports the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.  How is this possible?

In a truly impressive display of legal thinking, Barack Obama has made an original contribution to the debate over gun control.  He has come up with a way that liberals can have their cake and eat it too: to ban guns, while still keeping scrupulously to the letter of the Second Amendment.

Bob Owens reports on Barack Obama's history of gun control legislation, and says the following:

In 1999, Obama proposed to make it a felony for the gun owner if a firearm stolen from his residence and used in a crime was not "securely stored" - effectively negating the homeowner's right to self-defense.

Let's think this through for a moment.  The pure evil genius of this proposal may not be immediately apparent.  In fact, it sounds quite reasonable.  Shouldn't gun owners be responsible for safely stowing their weapons?

Consider the following scenario, one which happens frequently.

What do most law-abiding citizens want handguns for?  To defend themselves, their property, and their loved ones.  For this purpose, a rifle is more than a bit awkward; a revolver does much better.  And a shotgun locked in a gun safe in the garage is of little use when confronting a burglar in the bedroom.  That's why a good many citizens like to keep a weapon in their nightstands.

However, unlike criminals, ordinary people tend to be reluctant to actually shoot their weapon no matter how urgent the need or deserving the target.  This is true of most human beings; research performed by the Army during WWII found that 85% of soldiers did not aim at the enemy when firing their weapons.  They had a hard time bringing themselves to actually do another man to death, even when that other man was coming at them with a gun!  Modern military training is designed to remove this psychological block, and a life of crime can have much the same deadening effect, but most people haven't undergone either of these experiences.

So here is our homeowner in his bed at night with his wife, when a burglar breaks in.  Joe Citizen reaches for the pistol in his nightstand, and confronts the attacker.  However, for whatever reason, the criminal does not flee, but instead turns on him - and Joe finds himself reluctant to pull the trigger.

The opportunity passes.  The villain is upon him - they struggle for the gun.  The thief grabs the weapon and opens fire.  When the dust settles, the invader is gone...  and Joe's wife lies dead of a gunshot wound.

Most sympathies would lie with Joe.  Joe tried to defend his home and failed; his wife paid the price.  Even most gun-control advocates, while they would blame Joe for owning a gun at all, would at least extend him their condolences.

But not Barack Obama!  Under Obama's proposed law, Joe would have been liable for the felony committed with his gun - obviously unsecured, since it was stolen.

In other words, Obama would prosecute Joe for the murder of his own wife.

Is this a violation of the Second Amendment?  Certainly not - Joe still has a perfect right to own his weapon, at least until he's convicted of the felony.  So has everyone else.

But if you are liable for anything that is ever done with your weapon, even if it's stolen and has been completely out of your control - what rational non-criminal would ever dare to own a gun?

A gun registered in your name would be the ultimate time bomb.  At any moment, the police might come to your door and throw you in jail for life: a burglar broke into your house, stole your gun, and went on a murderous rampage.  Or an attacker wrestled the gun from your grip, as with Joe.  Or any number of other misfortunes; and you would pay the penalty for all of them.

What about police?  Would a police officer be liable if someone stole his or her gun and committed a crime with it?  We recently read of a police officer who got into a struggle with a perpetrator who didn't want to be arrested.  The perp grabbed her gun and shot her with it.

Would she be prosecuted for attempted suicide or some sort of criminal assault against herself?  Or is Mr. Obama's law just for civilians?

This is not to criticize Mr. Obama's intelligence.  On the contrary, this scheme is awe-inspiring in its brilliance.  At one fell swoop, Obama offers a cast-iron means of removing guns from the possession of all law-abiding Americans, while running not the slightest risk of being found unconstitutional, and all the while being able to stand up and swear with a straight face that he means no ill will towards the Second Amendment.

Indeed, Obama wants to bring change, and a fresh new perspective on the problems of the day.  Whether his ideas would actually be to our benefit is another question.  It's not even a question of whether they would work; this one certainly would, all too well.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
In all fairness, if you look through the material that Obama was endorsing, it deals with guns that are (1) gone from the owner for extended periods of time without being reported as stolen, (2) gone from owners that are known to be criminals or associated to criminals and (3) are of a certain type and caliber - shotguns for instance wouldn't apply.

His focus was on urban hot spots where guns change hands constantly.

You make a humorus point, but it's way off topic from where Obama and company *really* sit on this issue.
March 3, 2008 1:09 PM
You need to read more about what Barack said himself instead of taking the words of blogs and other Republicans who put words in his mouth or "explain his true meaning".

You claim that "he says that nobody should ever be allowed to have a gun, or be allowed to defend themselves"


In many of his speeches (I have seen two personally), writings and even on his web site he DOES support gun owner rights. He even discusses civil defense and hunting.
March 3, 2008 1:16 PM

Does he support guns for the purpose of being able to defend against a tyrannical government as was the intent of the 2nd Amendment? Or is it just about hunting and personal defense?
March 3, 2008 1:53 PM
That is a good point. Yes, it is true he mainly supports guns for recreational use, but the author here is jumping back and forth with his facts.
March 3, 2008 2:35 PM
The author may have misspoken when he said that Obama had "said" that nobody should ever be allowed a gun. But Obama has certainly written that nobody should be allowed a handgun, in responses to surveys.

Under "Gun Issues", he checked that he would "Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons." This includes every pistol ever made since pirate days. If you can't sell or transfer them, then where do you expect people to obtain them?
March 3, 2008 2:50 PM
Actually, no, that's still wrong. A semi-automatic pistol (or rifle or anything) is a weapon that is fired every time you pull the trigger. By which I mean there is no OTHER work required EXCEPT pulling the trigger. All of the original revolvers made were not semi-automatic. You had to pull the hammer back before firing them. They made both semi and non-semi automatic revolvers for a good 50 years up through the early 40s. You can still get them special made today. There are also a few small pistols that require a hammer of some kind to be pulled back first, and the trigger will not do that for you. You see this with small deringer style concealed weapons made by special tactics shops.
March 3, 2008 3:06 PM
Pew pew. Pew pew pew.

Also, a ban on semi-automatic weapons is stupid. The fail is strong with this one.
March 3, 2008 3:24 PM
I do not think that Barack really has the macro-level goal of effectively eliminating gun ownership while still technically supporting it.

I know a lot of Dems and none of them think that far ahead. They're all too busy looking down at the poor and impoverished to see the big picture.

It is good that we discuss what the big picture WOULD be if this sort of nonsense was carried out, certianly. But I don't buy the conspiracy that Obama predestined this.
March 3, 2008 4:25 PM
Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
-Article 10, New Hampshire State Constitution
March 24, 2008 10:10 AM
September 26, 2008 9:16 AM
It is disappointing that the Economist did the usual superficial analysis of the situation.

1) American rates of violence are higher than most European countries BY ANY MEANS. We have more violence with fists, knives, clubs, and other implements than other countries. America is a more violent place than many other countries; a discussion of the reasons wouldn't fit here.

The Economist didn't bother to point that out.

2) While it MIGHT be safer for everyone if there were no guns around, it's too late for that in America. There are guns all over the place. Criminals have no trouble getting hold of them when they want. The Finnish shooter was able to kill so many because the school was a victim disarmament zone - nobody else had a gun. Had the teachers been armed, the death toll would have been far lower.

The Economist didn't point that out, either.

3) In towns and cities where gun ownership is permitted, crime rates go down. This is a historical fact. Criminals, like most politicians, prefer unarmed victims.

The Economist didn't see fit to mention that.

It is easy to make these sorts of superficial charts; it's harder to present the truth in a balanced way. I'm disappointed in the Economist, they usually do a lot better.
September 26, 2008 9:25 AM
sam took the words out of my mouth on almost every point. The Economist is usually better than this. I guess they can't get them all right
September 26, 2008 11:57 AM


October 12, 2010 9:40 PM
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