And the Press Goes Wild

The Google Alerts on “assault weapon” is lighting up like a Christmas tree this morning since the President came out and said what he really thinks. Papers from the Washington Post to the Chicago Tribune are atwitter on the subject. From Tam:

What I love about this is how every time he gives the gun control issue the most tentative touch with the tip of his tongue (what he actually said was “Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced,”) the media grabs him by the back of his head and turns it into a great, big sloppy slurp (“Obama Calls for Renewal of Assault Weapons Ban” blares the headline.) These guys are writing the NRA’s ad copy for them.

I tend to agree this is a good thing. We want Obama talking about this issue and the media playing it up as much as possible. The worst thing Obama ever did to NRA was to do and say nothing. It’s hard to demonize someone who really hasn’t gone after you, except for “under the radar.” Well, he’s not flying too stealthy anymore, and I’m going to bet there are people in Fairfax editing copy of that statement as we speak.

23 thoughts on “And the Press Goes Wild”

  1. Gosh! Now what about all those commenter who claimed, “He’s not after your guns, prove it or shut up!” Where do they go? *crickets*

  2. Well, at least this should end the claims that, “Obama has never tried to do anything to take away your right to buy/own guns.”

    It’s just a furtherance of what many of us have been seeing: a last-ditch effort to rev his base and get them out to vote. There is no way the AWB talk helps him with more moderates. The Dems have been avoiding it for good reason.

    Even my liberal friends last night said it was a sign that Obama’s given up the middle. That’s good for Romney.

  3. With this sort of media response to Obama saying nothing at all new, what is surprising me is that they aren’t all over Romney saying, implicitly, that if an appearance of enough “pro-gun” support could be cobbled up, as was done in Massachusetts, he too would sign an AWB — even a permanent one — as he did in Massachusetts. He straight-up said that was what made the Massachusetts AWB a good law.

    Just thinking out loud, what if an AWB was brought to his desk soon enough that few people had forgotten that the NRA had endorsed Romney — would the NRA have to Stand By Their Man, and pretend some feature had been found that made the AWB not just OK, but actually “pro-gun?” What if the “pro-gun” support for an AWB came from American manufacturers who, channeling the late Bill Ruger, wanted to restrict competition for their particular brands of semi-autos?

    Sorry, just brainstorming. . .

    1. I’m not too concerned about the scenarios you’re putting out for consideration:

      After the public flirtation that Heston was apparently directed to do, the NRA has been amazingly hard core about “assault weapons” bans. I.e. it was the first Federal gun control bill to ever pass without the NRA’s approval and they’ve maintained their opposition to it and others. I certainly wouldn’t rule out their turning on us in the future (I mean, this is the NRA we’re talking about), but I think it would gravely, perhaps fatally injure the organization. Too many people carry concealed assault weapons (handguns with > 10 round magazines), “modern sporting rifles” of all sorts (like the Remington hunting optimized versions that are perfectly fine for self-defense, which I know some local good old boys have bought for all those reasons plus the threat of a ban) are very popular, etc. Even a relatively useless toy (since you can’t buy a full auto version) like the PS90 is wildly popular, much to FNH’s surprise (and, yeah, if I could justify it, I’d buy one, right after getting a M1 Garand again)

      And the latter would make it very difficult to do a legislative AW ban with industry support. Back then Bill Ruger just had to protect the Mini-14 (no semi-auto handguns from them back then with >10 rounds, right?); now they’re selling their own variation of the AR-15 plus at least one model of self-defense handgun with a > 10 round capacity, right? Colt (well, always), S&W, “Winchester” since it’s now part of FNH, fittingly, Browning as well….

      So, who’s big and doesn’t sell an AR-15 variant or in FNH’s case, due to the restrictions imposed on them by their M16 contract, plenty of other tan or black eeeevil rifles (e.g. that bullpup, the PS90 and the SCAR, plus of course several handguns). H&K has been twice burned and is triple shy of the fire, but they aren’t that big in the US. Anyone I’m leaving out, not counting the companies that primarily sell handguns, most of which have > 10 round magazines? I suppose Kimber, which is both fairly big and M1911 focused.

      1. Just because I am in the mood, let me go farther afield, with pure speculation, that some may choose even to call paranoia:

        The NRA worries me because like every organization of every persuasion, it is under pressure — and vulnerable to that pressure, via its organization — to become a front for other, broader issues. If that happens, gun rights will become negotiable when balanced against hidden issues that certain behind-the-scenes personalities may value more. I think we already see evidence of shall we say, “mission creep,” but I don’t want to get into any pissing contests debating that. I’ll just say I’m watching.

        On the AWB issue in particular, we have the prior example of Rep. John Dingell voting for the Clinton AWB — while he was an NRA Director. He graciously resigned the next day — and went shooting at Fairfax Rod & Gun Club in Virginia — but it wasn’t too very long before the NRA was rehabilitating his image, while remaining strangely silent about his major faux pas. To me, voting for a gun ban is to go beyond the pale, where you should always remain.

        1. You aren’t paranoid if they are out to get you, and historically the NRA has been, excepting the Clinton AW ban. Their most recent atrocity was working with our favorite House member to craft a “Veterans Disarmament Bill” after Virginia Tech, which was fortunately fixed by wiser heads (e.g. Coburn in the Senate? It was Congresscritters and/or their staff that stopped that very dangerous bill language).

          The other bookend of atrocities might be the NRA’s executive leadership deciding to get out of politics at the national height of gun grabbing hysteria in the ’70s, which led to the Cincinnati Revolt, the creation of the ILA I think, etc. (and of course the current executive leadership has made damned there will never be another grass roots revolt, no matter how much money and violence that took).

          Dingell has had to have been a most difficult person for the NRA to deal with. He’s personally very nasty (I have heard eyewitness testimony on this from the dozen years I spend Inside the Beltway), and until he was purged by Team Pelosi in 2009 was very powerful. I don’t know the details-, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they handled him as best they could. Getting on his wrong side would have been extraordinarily bad prior to 2009.

          We live in an imperfect world; many would say a fallen world. We have to work with imperfect tools, most especially imperfect human beings.

      2. Harold,

        Back then Bill Ruger just had to protect the Mini-14 (no semi-auto handguns from them back then with >10 rounds, right?)

        Wrong. Ruger had the P-series autos, which held fifteen rounds.

        Coincidentally, Bill suggested a ban on magazines over fifteen rounds, not ten. It’s probably just a coincidence that Ruger and Smith were getting their lunches eaten in the LE market by an imported seventeen-shooter…

        1. Bill was the one to throw the magazine limitations out there, IIRC, as a means to deflect attention away from the idea of banning assault weapons. Worth nothing that we ended up with both, and the original AWB called for a 5 round magazine limit, rather than ten.

          1. But isn’t it said he got the Mini-14 off the enumerated list of weapons (which my Google fu is being entirely inadequate at finding, and my reference book(s) with it are still packed away).

            1. Yes, the Mini-14 was specifically identified in the appendix to the AWB as a weapon that would not be included in the ban.

        2. Thanks for the correction on my uncertainty WRT Ruger’s handgun lineup; I just don’t follow service sized handguns other than the M1911 after I discovered in my teens that it fit my hand perfectly and that I can shoot it very well.

          And you reconfirm my pledge to never ever buy a Ruger firearm; I have a “never forget, never forgive” policy towards this sort of betrayal.

  4. From Tam:

    Well, there we go. Barry decided it was safe to lick the third rail, live on prime-time TeeWee. And why not? Everybody he knows is in favor of an Assault Weapons Ban; it’s just common sense gun control.

    Including both Bushes. Who Romney is very sensibly distancing himself from (for other reasons, of course).

    1. Bush, Sr., yes. The original ’89 ban on imported “Assault Weapons” was an executive order by GHWB, and remains in effect, causing no end of mischief via “922(r)” compliance issues.

      Dubya, on the other hand, was more vague, being on the record as saying he’d sign one if Congress put one on his desk. (Which is just so much political weasel wording, since there was about as much chance of the GOP-controlled pre-’06 Congress putting an AWB on his desk as there is of me flapping my arms and flying to the moon.) His pro-gun creds are more solid than Mittens, at least, having campaigned for governor of Texas on a pro-CCW platform.

      1. Indeed, but even giving lip service to a new AW ban was not helpful, especially since the Republican majority was very new and as we found very vulnerable.

        And in terms of words this puts him about even with Obama.

        1. “And in terms of words this puts him about even with Obama.

          What I’ve been reflecting upon as odd is the way so many of our RKBA compatriots are screeching over the things Obama has said, while seeming willing to ignore totally the things that Romney did. The world of team sports is a strange one.

          If politicians’ words carried anything near the weight people seem to imbue them with, firearms ownership would not be threatened; by now it would be mandatory.

          1. To the Dubya v. Obama comparison: Dubya said he’d sign a CCW bill if it crossed his desk as governor of Tejas, and he did. Say what we want about him, but that is fact. Now, what pro-gun legislation has Barry O. campaigned on and followed through with?

            Seriously, I’m probably a Johnson voter myself, but my fellow wookie-suiters oft dismay me with their f$cking bizarre equivalencies…

        2. Harold,

          And in terms of words this puts him about even with Obama.

          Yes, if we were discussing logic, but we are not. We are discussing politics, and in politics, perception is reality.

          1. That reality of politics counts for things like getting elected and getting legislation passed. But I also care about the reality of the law, because that’s what allows me to do the RKBA things I want to do without going to prison. And Obama’s not 100% bad on that; ignoring the highly visible CCW in national parks (tied to a “must pass” consumer credit etc. bill) and the less visible carriage of guns on Amtrack (part of a funding bill), unlike Hillary!, Obama actually voted for the Katrina inspired emergency gun seizure sanctions bill. One with serious teeth, giving citizens a private right of action.

  5. It’s a bit worse than advertised, Obama’s definitely a politician of older issues, in this case Saturday Night Specials AKA guns the less well off can afford:

    Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there’s an awful lot of violence and they’re not using AK-47s. They’re using cheap hand guns.”

    Evidently the NRA is making a fuss about this.

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