This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published on January 17, 2013 on Breitbart.com.
President Barack Obama is being blatantly disingenuous when he says he believes in the Second Amendment. He opposed it as recently as three years ago, and seems to be hoping that Americans don’t know how to use something called “Google” to realize his actions contradict his words.
In his gun-control press conference we analyzed yesterday, Obama said: “Let me be absolutely clear. Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.”
Flashback to 2008. Obama had secured the Democratic nomination, and needed to flush the anti-Second Amendment rhetoric he used against Hillary Clinton in the primaries to have a chance of winning the White House.
As an Illinois State Senate candidate, Obama answered a questionnaire in which Question 35 asked, “Do you support state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns?” His one-word answer was: “Yes.” When running for president, he made the ridiculous claim that some staffer must have answered the questionnaire by mistake, knowing many Americans don’t realize that state senate candidates usually don’t have a large campaign staff, and a person would never answer such a form without checking with the candidate.
Then in June 2008 the Supreme Court handed down its historic decision District of Columbia v. Heller, affirming that 74% of Americans are correct in believing the Second Amendment secures for law-abiding and peaceable citizens the right to keep and bear arms. The Court struck down D.C.’s almost-absolute ban on gun ownership, including a complete ban on handguns.
Reacting to this decision striking down a “complete ban on handguns,” and needing not to alienate millions of gun owners, Obama said, “I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms.”
But Obama had always supported Chicago’s gun law, and unable to let a pro-gun statement stand alone or repudiate his longstanding support for gun control, Obama added that he saw the “need” for “common-sense, effective safety measures,” then added that such a law “works in Chicago.”
Those of us who work with Second Amendment issues were pulling our hair out with frustration, because we knew that Chicago’s gun law is an almost-complete ban on guns, and a complete ban on handguns. It’s no different than the D.C. law the Court had just struck down.
Obama thought voters would never realize that fact. Until a follow-up lawsuit challenged Chicago’s gun ban, going all the way back to the Supreme Court. During that lawsuit, Obama did not order Solicitor General Elena Kagan to file a brief supporting the Second Amendment by opposing his hometown law. (If it was a case about abortion rights or gay marriage, does anyone doubt his administration would have filed a brief?)
In McDonald v. Chicago, the justices held that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right that applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment, and therefore that the Chicago gun ban Obama supported is also unconstitutional.
So now Obama claims to support the Second Amendment as he pushes new gun-control laws. The American people need to remember that he always says that while aggressively trying to strip law-abiding citizens of those very same rights.