(Manassas, VA, 22 November 2010) President Obama has named yet another anti-rights extremist to a high government position – this time to a position directly overseeing, interpreting, and enforcing the nation’s gun control laws. Andrew Traver, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has been named to become the next Director of the troubled agency.
Traver, who has risen through the ranks at ATF over a 23-year career, is reputed to be well-liked by his peers and subordinates on a personal level, but not particularly respected for his effectiveness or management skills. The Traver appointment is seen as another example of President Obama’s hostility towards guns and gun owners, as Traver has a long history of opposition to individual rights and support for government restrictions on firearms.
Speaking in Mexico, the President today acknowledged his support for renewing the so-called "assault weapons" ban, but also showed respect for political power of the gun rights movement, saying that he and his administration might not have the political wherewithal to pass a ban. Having sidestepped the call to pass a renewal, he then suggested enforcing existing law, pointing out that it’s already illegal to smuggle guns into Mexico. A remarkable insight, Mr. President.
Mr. Obama has put us on notice that he will pass the ban if he can muster up the political muscle. It is the duty of the gun rights movement to see that any thought of a new ban remains expensive.
April 17 Update
The Washington Times ran the Obama story in today’s edition focusing on Obama’s call for passage of the Inter-American Arms Tready (full text here) to mark guns with their country of origin and to establish all manner of tracing and registration schemes.
I can't completely agree with Brian Doherty — I wouldn't say that our Second Amendment rights are "safe" under Obama. Doherty mentions Obama's choice of Eric Holder for Attorney General. The Attorney General can do plenty of damage to your gun rights without the help of Congress.
Yet the trend seems to be moving firmly in both directions. Hillary's Senate seat has been filled by the NRA A-rated, pro-choice, pro-gay rights Kirsten Gillibrand. Her mix of opinions, while jarring in the mainstream, sounds familiar to Reason readers. Could Senator Gillibrand be part of a new trend? Or will her position on guns "evolve?"
At The Firearms Coalition, we've taken a similar position to Doherty's. Get ready and wait. The Democrats have truly painful memories related to gun rights going back to the 1994 election. It's possible they've learned. If the Republicans are counting on another mass political suicide among the Democrats, they just might have a long wait.
The pick hints that the Democrats do not plan to press the gun issue, at least not during Obama's first term, much to the dismay of the Brady Bunch. And, quite possibly, to the dismay of the Republican Party leadership which would love to see the Democrats repeat their 1994 mass political suicide. It appears that, for now at least, Republican hopes of the Democratic Party defeating themselves by over-reaching have been dashed— at least on the gun issue, and at least for now. If this move is a reliable indicator of the Democrats' strategy, the Republican strategists who counted on returning to power on a backlash may be in for a long wait.
(April 28, 2008) The topic of guns came up unexpectedly in the Hila-Bama Follies with Obama expressing the opinion that blue-collar voters are a tough sell for the Democrats because many have been left behind in the economic expansion and they are the first to feel economic contraction. “They get bitter,” Obama intoned, slipping a foot deeply into his mouth. “They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Obama’s “bitter” blooper was just another description of the “Angry White Males” whom the Democrats learned to fear in 1994. That, of course, was the year that GunVoters turned out in droves to punish the 103rd Congress for the Clinton gun ban, changing ownership of the House for the first time in decades, and turning out a sitting Speaker, the first time that had happened in a century and a half.
Anti-gun Mayor (and potential presidential candidate) Mike Bloomberg and his group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” have created a television commercial purportedly intended to generate momentum for closing the so called “gun show loophole.” What the ad will do more than anything else is highlight Sen. John McCains betrayal of gunowners when he made a commercial on behalf of Citizens for Gun Safety supporting legislation to close the imaginary loophole several years ago. From a political standpoint, only McCain is damaged with this new ad which is scheduled to air in candidates home states and in Pennsylvania prior to their April 22 Primary. It is a safe bet that GunVoters will respond negatively to the spot and it will make it even harder for McCain in his efforts to woo this important voting block. The timing of the Bloomberg spot suggests that it is intended to damage John McCain and remove GunVoters from the election equation in November. Could this be a proverbial artillery barrage to soften up the beach before Bloomberg launches his own campaign for president? Maybe, or perhaps it is a payback for some perceived wrong of the past. Whatever the reason, McCain is going to discover that it is painful to shoot yourself in the foot – especially when that foot is firmly planted in your own mouth. McCain supplied the gun and ammo and put his own foot in his mouth and now Bloomberg is pulling the trigger.