Obama, Romney Shoot It Out Over Gun Rights

The Obama camp, including the media, wasted no time trying to burnish President Obama’s Second Amendment credentials after Mitt Romney told a crowd at the National Rifle Association that the president was not protecting gun owners’ rights.

“We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners,” Romney said at the St. Louis convention. “President Obama has not. I will.”

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president’s record “makes clear the he supports and respects the Second Amendment, and we’ll fight back against any attempts to mislead voters.”

The Associated Press jumped to Obama’s defense with a story that countered Romney’s words with statements such as “the topic has rarely arisen during (Obama’s) time in office.”

It’s the sort of reportorial assertion that masquerades as balance but is more likely to appear in a story about a GOP member slamming the president than vice versa.

Romney does have a changeable record on gun rights, having said in 1994, “I don’t line up with the NRA,” then becoming an NRA member a decade later. But at least his history moves in the right direction.

Obama’s camp seems to be promoting the thesis that because the president hasn’t pushed for outrageous limits on guns that he therefore is some sort of Second Amendment champion. The more likely truth is that he knows congressional resistance from Republicans is strong.

As is often the case with Obama, to discern his real position on gun issues, it’s useful to look at the people around him.

Since taking office, the president has appointed a number of anti-gun zealots to high office, such as Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Then there’s the Big Daddy of the anti-gun crowd, Eric Holder, who once talked about having to “brainwash” the public into being against guns, yet administered the Fast and Furious operation that put powerful U.S.-made weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Romney also brought up a good point at the NRA conference, raising the question of President Obama’s recent open-mic comments to the Russian President Medvedev.

“In a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election,” Romney said. “As he told the Russian president last month when he thought no one else was listening, after a re-election he’ll have a lot more, quote, ‘flexibility’ to do what he wants.  I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that, but looking at his first three years, I have a very good idea.”

It’s not a minor point, especially with Obama’s recent executive order allowing him to declare martial law in peacetime without approval of Congress.