Why Obama is Losing Gun Control

Jennifer Rubin lists ten reasons Obama is losing the gun control debate. I agree with Uncle on the most serious factor he’s overlooking. Personally, I think this is an ego thing for the President. Having just wrapped up a close election win, and having spun off his campaign into a new non-profit to push his agenda, I think he wanted to show the political class that his new political machine could take on the NRA and win. Clinton had taken on the NRA, and still brags about it from time to time in speeches. If Obama was going to show OFA had what it took to control the Democratic Party moving forward, he would also have to take on the NRA, as Clinton did.

Of course, this is not over. You can bet there will be a combination of OFA organizing and Bloomberg’s money pushing the gun control issue in the 2014 elections. It would be a great thing not just for gun rights, but for the country as a whole, if the narrative becomes that the Obama machine, even backed up by Bloomberg’s money, couldn’t beat us on the gun issue. That will weaken Obama’s political reputation, and put a damper on his agenda. It will also help, with our newly energized base, to turn this issue around and begin to counter attack. Our goal should be nothing less than teaching them that by messing with us, all they do is make the situation worse for themselves.

23 thoughts on “Why Obama is Losing Gun Control”

  1. It’s all about the 2014 elections. That’s where the next decade of gun rights will be won or lost to a significant extent.

    Here are the big questions:

    How many people who have been voting for Democrats will change their vote as a result of the anti-gun push?

    How many people who haven’t been voting at all will show up and pull the lever for pro-gunners as a result of the anti-gun push?

    Most of the people who read blogs like have always voted for the most pro-gun candidate and always will. That subset won’t be changing election outcomes (outside of extra campaigning for candidates).

    1. very true. i think there will be very few people changing their vote for democrats due to the gun issue. But i think that there’s a lot of other issues you can use to beat up the democrats in 2014. And i think that it’s important that every gun owner knows and talks about the other issues to help sway those who are non gun owners.

      1. I’m optimistic that we’ll see a decent number of people change their vote. A good friend of mine is a gun enthusiast. He has a Tapco’d-out AK, talks about prepping, loves to shoot.
        But he’s always voted Democrat. He even voted for jug-ears. But he’s never really thought too much about his vote. His parents vote D, his friends vote D, and the media tells him to vote D. And so he does.

        He’s 25 and just bought his first gun 4 years ago. He’s never associated the democrats as the anti-gun party. There’s a huge generation of shooters like that. They weren’t around for the AWB and have never seen anyone going after their gun rights. I think gun-owners under age 30 are they key.

  2. In 2 months we’ve lost Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, soon to be Delaware and probably most of the rest of the East and maybe another Southwest state. Illinois I’m not sure. What they get past congress may be minimal or nothing at all but still that’s quite a few states where literally handing someone a gun just to hold even on your property is a 5 year felony. And I hope you’re right that they are punished in the polls next election.

    And if McCain and Graham oppose it is not because they don’t want to ban private transfer but maybe they realized as per my letters and other peoples letters to McCain and phone calls how “transfer” is defined (IE: touching a gun you don’t own is a felony and loans are a felony) Still I don’t have much faith in them.

    1. I find it hard to count NY, NJ, MD, CT, etc as loses since they’ve always been in a position to pass whatever gun control they want. New laws in those states don’t represent a ton of progress for them since they’ve controlled those areas for years. Colorado is the only true loss so far in my opinion.

      People keep saying what a brilliant strategy the antis came up with going state-by-state. That’s BS. They’re resorting to that strategy because they have to.

      When Sandy Hook happened, their goal was to ram gun control through Congress Cuomo-style. The fact that it’s been 3.5 months and they haven’t even been able to get anything to the floor for a vote is a tremendous defeat for them.

      1. Good point RP. They are having success in the very places one would expect. The southeast and the plain states(maybe not Minnesota) are safe, as is most of the west with the exception of California. Still nada at the federal level.

    2. So, how’s Illinois doing on their concealed carry legislation? They’ve got, what, two months to go?

  3. Sebastian,

    I definitely think you are right about it being an ego issue for potus. He’s the first black president, he was able to pass universal healthcare, the wet dream of the democrats (and the failure of hillary clinton – you know he’s got to be gloating about that one over H.C.). He’s in Legacy building mode. Gun Control is another wet dream issue for democrats, so when the opportunity rose, he grabbed it and tried to add another notch to his belt.

    If 2014 turns out to be a bust for conservatives in the key states that have passed gun control, then i think we’re going to see a lot of anti’s saying that they’ve broken the back of pro-gunners. If there is no backlash in the polls, then we’re going to see the antis push into new ground like post-civil war carpetbaggers did in the south. The stuff with maig in PA is just them testing out the waters and developing their
    infrastructure for the next wave.

    Any way you look at it, we’re not going to see the end of this in our lifetime or in next two generations. I remember seeing someone post a comment about how they watched their father support gun rights only to have to do it again a generation later. Well, this is the gun owner’s burden.

  4. I have a slightly different take. RP is on to something, with the reference to 2014. Beyond that though, this is also a fight over the Supreme Court and the 2016 elections.

    Personally, I think gun control was a great opportunity for the President.

    1) He felt political pressure to do something, and needed to keep his base engaged and he could use this to help grow those he needed in urban areas to support him for the much bigger fights ahead. Which leads to. . . .
    2) Financial issues: Sequestration, budget, military spending, labor issues, etc. All are much bigger and more important fights. By occupying the press with talk of gun control he was able to keep attention away from the messy compromises and little battles he needed to undertake to better position Democrats long term in the fight for control of federal money AND he also could use the issue to further attack the Republican base.
    3) 2014 Race. Obama have up to 12 vulnerable seats at play, only a 5 vote margin for control of the Senate. On the other side, he’s only 5 seats away from a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Both are vitally important with regard to Supreme Court appointments. Democrats know what Republicans do when they sense a vulnerable opponent. They dramatically over-reach and the Republican base can’t help but gush at the opportunity to nominate a “true” conservative. Which, always blows up in their face. By focusing on gun control, a fight they know they won’t win, Obama might be seeking to sucker the Republicans into nominating true conservatives in those 12 rural senate races and dooming the GOP to more tea party driven election losses as the true conservatives simply can’t keep their mouths shut on basic issues like rape and abortion and immigration and gays etc.
    4) 2014 Elections again: At the same time, by pushing an issue that is so toxic in these states – and one he knows wont pass – he gives the Republican’s an opportunity to over reach in their nomination but also gives those rural senators the opportunity to look reasonably concerned, to offer reasonable rural approaches, and then to take credit for killing off the Diane Degette and Diane Feinstein type crazy proposals. That bolsters the 2nd Amendment credentials for those Red State Democrats and makes them easier able to defend against attacks as being necessary to the defense of the 2nd Amendment (this is the Reid is better than either Schumer/Durbin debate that the 2nd Amendment Community and the 2%ers have so much trouble with).
    5) Obamacare: I’m still waiting for Obama to turn around and co-opting the NRA into endorsing implementation of Obamacare as a clear tool to use in addressing mental health issues, the war on drugs, and suicides (and therefore addressing 27,500 or so of the 30,000 firearm deaths a year).

    1. If that really is Obama’s strategy, it’s a dangerous one. It does however, highlight a key for the GOP: run decent candidates.
      The Democrats in the Senate are very vulnerable in 2014. They’re in a position to stomp on the Dems unless they run jackasses like Aiken or Santorum.

  5. Personally, I think Obama is just doing this to keep his base happy. Remember, he already is a Lame Duck, and I think he’s just letting the Dogs run Free after being Penned up for Four Years. He knows he’ll NEVER be Impeached,and he can always point to Bloomberg or Biden or whoever and say “Hey! Take it up with them!” How much Capital has he put into backing Feinstein for example?

    So if they Gun Control, he’s Happy to sign the Bills. If they don’t, well, better luck next time. It’s no skin off his nose in either case.

  6. Maryland isn’t lost so much as holding status quo. Even in HB281 passes, it is not the bill that O’Malley wanted and he thought it was a slam-dunk, couple of weeks and a new state order for firearms.

    He has had to coerce or force Democrats into voting for this literally down to the wire on the Maryland session (ends this weekend). That was not in the plan. If gun control was a shoe-in here in Maryland, it would already be New York.

    A lot of gun owners, senators and delegates in Maryland, Democrats included, are outraged over this. They are risking their careers for O’Malley with aspirations of 2016. He wanted to out-Cuomo Cuomo. Look how that worked out in New York.

    Hundreds of MD gun owners stood in the gallery during the HB281 debates with “2014” written on their hands for the delegates to see. What did the WaPo report for that day? The two dozen Moms Demand Action rally outside. But the delegates did see this and there is now a campaign in Maryland to get people to change their voter registration to Democrat to vote in the primaries for 2014 and throw the incumbents and those who are supporting O’Malley out. Since it is a one-party state, reshape from within. If this works, the message gets sent.

    Unfortunately, Maryland is a state, short of becoming Detroit, where the Courts are really the only hope. Wollard will likely decide the “bear” portion of the 2nd at the Supreme Court (since its appeal was overturned on the basis that the state’s view of “public safety” allows them to define at-will the exercise of the right outside the home. Doesn’t even meet rational basis scrutiny).

    They may get more gun control here but they’ve had to pay for it. Well over 1 million e-mails, hundreds of thousands of phone calls, rallies against these bills that have literally caused the fire marshall to close the State House to traffic (which had never happened in the history of the state) and so on. I think there are a lot of delegates and senators looking for political cover right now, no matter how thin. The last Senate speaker who support gun control lost his job. If this passes, history is likely to repeat itself.

    I’d prefer forward motion but despite being a so-called pushover as one of the “Seven Sisters of Gun Control”, the anti-rights forces have had to pay for each yard they gain and they will pay more when the bill comes due.

    We have not and will not forget this.

  7. Countertop hits it on the head regarding GOP election failures. On a related note, gun rights resonate with more than just social conservatives and libertarians. There’s an opportunity here to split civil libertarians who vote democrat because of issues like gay rights and abortion, as well as pro-gun liberals (we DO exist), away from the Democratic Party. If NRA and the Republicans would try some outreach instead of constantly preaching to the choir, they might stand to pick up some major support – or at least steal it away from anti-gun Democrats. It might even outweigh the loss of support from the social-conservatives-in-libertarian-clothes in the Tea Party.

    1. as well as pro-gun liberals (we DO exist)

      As I talked about above, you guys are the key to getting ahead in the fight in the long-term. Convince all your liberal friends to stop voting for gun-grabbers!! :-)

    2. Outreach? In what way? I have heard this before, truly don’t get it. Please explain.

      1. Divorcing gun rights from other social issues would be a good start. Even if you believe Obama is a socialist destroying America one gay marriage and abortion at a time, I’m not sure it’s entirely on-topic in gun rights circles. I realize it’s fun to say, and it fires up the base. But it’s not going to resonate with anyone else, and will probably turn off quite a few people – even the ones already irritated at him for other reasons, be they gun control, the bailouts, drone strikes, whatever. I’d consider the leaving of that rhetoric outside of pro-gun circles to be an example of “outreach,” as it makes non-conservatives feel a bit more welcome. To me, it seems akin to the attitude adjustment I’ve heard people advocate to make gun shops less intimidating to women and other people not inclined to venture into pools of testosterone and know-it-all-ness. That’s also “outreach” which is happening and is good.

        Another example: the “Liberalism is a mental illness!” bumper sticker.

        If liberalism is a mental illness, doesn’t that make all liberals ineligible to own firearms? (I know, only if they’ve been adjudicated liberal or confined to a drum circle for more than 30 days) :p Seriously, I see that bumper sticker prominently for sale at pretty much every gun show I go to…I think folks might feel more comfortable bringing their liberal friends if liberal hate wasn’t invariably part of the experience. I love going to gun shows and always bring a friend, but while MY enjoyment of firearms well exceeds any potential offense taken, that may not be true for people who are uncertain about whether gun-ownership is for them (the bumper sticker basically tells them “no, it isn’t”), or who are just curious about these gun shows they hear so much about.

        I realize we don’t have control over the actions of our fellow gun owners and gun show sellers/patrons. But we CAN all spread the word: be aware of how we look to outsiders – some of them might become insiders if we let them.

        1. Sorry Daniel, but this is just another example of the thinking we blame Leftists for so much. No matter what the issue is, it’s always the Right’s fault, from their point of view.

          Well, no dice. The anti-gun sentiment that runs through the Left is firmly *The Left’s own fault*. We didn’t turn the left off firearms rights, they did that all by themselves *as a direct result of the nature of their philosophy*. Gun owners on the Left have to start realizing what a pariah they are in their own community.

          The NRA will always be rejected by the Left because they will always see it as being on the Right. The Leftist leadership ensures it remains that way, in cahoots with many Left-wing gun owners who have no concept of the damage they do.

          We’ve tried the outreach, with limited success. The only people who can save the Left for firearms rights is the Left, more specifically Leftist gun owners.

          So, what have you good people on the Left done to further firearms this week? What’s your plan for removing Gun Control from the Democratic platform? How many people have you taken to the range for the first time this year? How many so-called “Right wing” gun rights organizations are you members of, or have canvassed for on your FB page or blog?

          I don’t see a lot of this from the Left. I do see a lot of hammering the NRA, as if somehow that’s helping the right they supposedly value.

          I think it’s time for the Left leaning gun owners to get their act together and their house in order. It’s up to you to save the Left. NOT US.

          1. First, as one learns in victimology, there’s a difference between assigning blame and discussing what can be done to change things in the future. I’m not saying the Right is the reason the Democratic party is against gun rights. I’m saying that right now, there are many politically homeless gun rights supporters that might vote Republican in the next two elections, but it’d be nice to entice them to continue doing so in the future. If we keep handing the anti-gun media ammunition showing only social conservatives as gun rights supporters (see Louie Gohmert’s recent comments about the slippery slope of magazine capacity restrictions being EXACTLY THE SAME as the slippery slope of gay marriage), we aren’t making it easy for them to do that. Remember, they may not be single-issue voters (indeed, most people are not). I’m sure someone will claim that if you’re NOT a single-issue gun voter, you’re not truly pro-gun, but it’s easy to be a single-issue voter when the politicians who agree with you on that issue also agree with you on everything else (or if gun rights is the ONLY or the main issue you care about).

            Second, I’m a pro-gun Unitarian Universalist who believes in abortion, gay marriage, and taxpayer funded secular public education. So, yeah, I’m a pariah regardless of where I go – ESPECIALLY among mainstream liberals and conservatives. UUs somehow believe being anti-gun is “standing on the side of love,” implying I’m some kind of hateful bigot for being pro-gun, and when someone on the pro-gun side asks “how can the Democrats oppose armed guards in schools” someone else inevitably replies “well, they support murdering babies, don’t they?” All I’ve been asking is that within a gun-rights context (like a gun show or any political action specifically aimed at gun rights), we exercise a little discipline and stay on the topic of gun rights – which necessarily entails not bashing people who disagree with us on completely unrelated issues. Because those people can be invaluable allies in this fight. We can disagree about the other stuff later.

            And, incidentally, I don’t see being anti-gun as an inevitable symptom of being liberal. The orientation of pro/anti-gun people to conservatism/liberalism seems more a result of socialization, not based on individuals trying to maintain consistent political beliefs (if it were, more liberals would be pro-gun). Gun control is as much a policy of paternalist statism as the high-cap soda ban, blue laws, or the Patriot Act.

            As for pro-gun liberals “getting our house in order,” the way I see it, it’s not my house. I just stay there from time to time. The Republican party is ready for a change to start winning again, and the Democrats have practically handed them a BUNCH of young voters they could easily turn into lifelong Republicans if they can avoid screwing it up. SCOTUS ruling in favor of gay marriage could help them do this, removing the threat of anti-gay legislation from the reasons for non-social conservatives to vote against them.

            As it stands, I’m voting for and contributing to those politicians who’ve stood with the pro-gun side here in MD, and straight Republican nationally. The first step to removing gun control from the Democratic platform is electoral behavioral conditioning on a greater scale than 1994. A concurrent step for me is convincing all my liberal friends they can achieve the goals of eliminating poverty and uplifting minorities and all that AND annoy conservatives (which is one of the main reasons most liberals do things in the first place) without messing with gun rights, as all the liberals they’d annoy in the process represent an unacceptable level of collateral damage.

            But the question remains: will Republican primary voters put gun rights and winning ahead of social conservatism and losing? After all, if you vote for an unelectable pro-gun candidate over a more electable but less conservative pro-gun candidate in the primary, does that not amount to a vote for gun control? I seem to be hearing that pro-gun liberals should sacrifice their other ideals to vote pro-gun. Do pro-gun conservatives care so little about gun rights as to refuse to even welcome those liberals into the fold, let alone make the same sacrifice? I know people who are ready to vote Republican on guns but can’t get past the social conservatism. This fight’s going to be won in the middle, by people crossing party lines – not just by conservatives turning out the base.

    3. I used to think the parties were equally bad.

      Now it is 100% clear to me that the far left of the Democratic party wants me on a boxcar or in prison. Just read Schumer’s private transfers bill and imagine how the ATF plans to abuse the trafficking bill. Listen to what the Dems are saying about veterans and women when they let their useful idiots talk in public (and conservative media is present). Look at what is getting passed in CT and NY and MD. They want people like me and my family dead or in prison.

      I’m socially fairly liberal. I’m cool with legalizing weed and civil unions for everyone and find SoCos like Rick Santorum to be obnoxious. I opposed PATRIOT ACT and was really disappointed to see Obama cave on civil liberties. It is painfully apparent though that one party in this country has a raging hard on for extreme gun control measures that will put me in jail for a long time if the SWAT team doesn’t just kill me when they shoot my dog.

      Even if my Democrat behaves (and Sen Begich has been doing great thus far on RKBA despite his MAIG roots), he contributes votes towards confirming Supreme Court Justices like Sotomayor who will be reliable antigun votes for decades and contibutes to a Dem edge that puts Chuck Schumer one heartbeat from leading the Senate.

      This whole last year or two has highly alienated me from the D party. I’m not a huge fan of the Rs but am willing to put in the time and effort to make good changes at the primary process.

      Hopefully I’m not alone. The Democratic Party as an institution must be punished in 2014 and 2016 for this gun grab. Some collective (electoral) punishment is definitely in order to drive the 1994-esque lesson home: hang out with gun grabbers and you get burned. That’s just how it has to be.

      1. In the States that passed the recent gun control laws, nothing will change…simply because..there. is. no. alternative. Those states, along with NJ, are run by Dem machines…they will not support any alternative to the Dem’s currently holding seats, unless they retire. That is why the incumbents are always voted back in. And the Republican party is too weak to do anything about it…they hold on for dear life the little bit that they currently have.

        So any beating up of the Democrats will happen where they are vulnerable….

  8. Any discussion of Obama’s gun control efforts must start with an understanding of Obama’s history.
    As an Illinois politician, in the Illinois Senate, very nearly the only activity recorded by Senator Obama was gun control. His background as a child of the Joyce Foundation, which he was even president of for a while, tells the story pretty clearly.
    The amount of money Joyce pours into gun control is staggering. Sending forth very highly trained operatives, which is what Obama really is, is what they do. Obama is their highest-reaching star.
    He’s merely paying back the millions of dollars invested in his creation.
    It’s no secret that he opposed civilian firearm ownership: he said so, point blank and in plain English, more than once. Nothing had changed. He’s learned to lie and evade better than before, but if he was ever actually challenged in a real debate, he’d revert in a blink to his total-ban ways. He couldn’t help himself.
    He’s in the debt of the Joyce crowd, and he’s got a debt to pay.

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