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President's Column

By Ronald L. Schmeits, President

Defend Your Rights From Arrogant Politicians

In its first two years in office, the Obama administration made its feelings on health care and the economy no secret. On gun control, though, it was far less candid. I’m sure you have much to do with that—when Bill Clinton and Al Gore aggressively pushed their gun control agenda on the American people, they paid for it dearly in the 1994 and 2000 elections. That memory is doubtlessly on the president’s mind.

Then came January’s tragedy in Tucson.

Unfortunately, reflection over the fallen soon gave way to grandstanding, opportunistic politicians who now call on the president to “do something” about guns. So anything that might win a vote next year was thrown out there—blanket bans, an “assault weapons” ban, magazine restrictions and more. Their proposals have a lot to do with getting elected, but nothing to do with reducing crime.

It’s our duty to demand that our elected officials respect and defend the freedoms our Constitution guarantees.

While politicians pander for votes, police departments across the country are cutting officers to make ends meet, like in Camden, N.J., where almost half the force was let go. Or Oakland, Calif., where budget setbacks cost 80 officers their jobs and the department can no longer respond to burglary calls. Instead of enhancing law enforcement, these politicians just want more laws. Never mind that those laws won’t do any more to stop a madman than the ones we already have, and never mind that we don’t have the resources to enforce them. Unlike catching and incarcerating criminals, banning guns costs a lot less. Now, the rising, desperate chorus from anti-gun politicians is putting pressure on the White House.

President Obama hasn’t been completely silent on firearm issues, though. He and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both falsely claimed that 90 percent of guns recovered from crimes in Mexico originate from the United States. As Mexico continues to devolve into a narco-terrorist state, Obama is under greater pressure to “do something.” Once again, your rights could become collateral damage in political games.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives attempted to infringe law-abiding citizens’ freedoms when it requested a new, unauthorized multiple-sales reporting scheme that is, thankfully, being resisted by the U.S. House of Representatives. (See “Border Battle Heats Up,” p. 16.) The request for “emergency” authority ignored the porous border and instead focused on American citizens—a purely political action that greatly overstepped the BATFE’s boundaries.

And President Obama recently nominated Andrew Traver to be the new BATFE head—if you’ve seen him before, it may have been on a deceptive NBC Chicago news report where he let the reporter fire a fully automatic AK-47 and implied that machine guns were available to gang members through normal retail outlets.

Obama’s other appointments, such as Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, have ensured anti-Second Amendment voices will be around long after his term ends. Justice Sotomayor dissented from the majority opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, which ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms no matter where you live. Kagan joined the Court after that opinion, but has given no indication of differing from Sotomayor on the Second Amendment.

And the threats don’t end there. As I detailed in February, Mexico isn’t the only foreign country Obama has allowed to influence our constitutional freedoms. His administration’s 2009 reversal of the U.S.’s position on the Arms Trade Treaty signaled it would prefer our laws be subjected to “global norms” than to our own Constitution.

Another reversal—of the administration’s own 2009 decision—banned the importation of hundreds of thousands of M1 Garand rifles and M1 carbines from South Korea, despite these firearms being legal to own, use and produce in America.

When we convene in Pittsburgh, Pa., for our Annual Meetings, we’ll discuss how to deal with these and other looming threats to our Second Amendment rights. The White House hasn’t fully pushed its gun control agenda yet, but we all know it will.

It’s our duty to demand that our elected officials respect and defend the freedoms our Constitution guarantees. And if they don’t, it’s our duty to replace those politicians with leaders who will. Power doesn’t come from political games and sound bites, and what’s right doesn’t change with the latest opinion poll. Let’s remind them in Pittsburgh!