December 21, 2008
Taking Obama at his Word on Gun Rights
To the great chagrin of gun shop owners, ammo suppliers, and those nefarious gun show peddlers, there is no longer a need for Americans to stock up on weapons and ammunition. What has been an incredible boon for the weapons market, the fear of citizens losing the right to bear arms is unfounded. The President-elect has spoken.
Knock off the snickering I am serious. President-elect Obama at a press conference December 7, 2008 assured folks that he isn't taking away their guns. It was somewhat notable that he did not mention their Bibles but since he is a Christian and the Bible was not a subject of the discussion we Bible-thumpers should have nothing to fear either.
Some may marvel at my calmness at the President-elect's assurance but the following statement is the genesis of my serenity:
"I believe in common sense gun safety law, and I believe in the second amendment and so, lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I've said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition, and I think that people can take me at my word."
What could possibly make one question the President-elect's word? It should be considered old news that Mr. Obama was completely surprised by Reverend Jeremiah Wright's hateful statements from the pulpit of the Trinity United Church of Christ*, of which the President-elect was a member for nearly twenty years.
It would be a stretch to call it a lie by Mr. Obama when back in 2004 he said "Look, I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years." How could a man say no to his country when it is obvious that he was the hope we have been waiting for, even though he said we were actually the hope. We knew what he meant.
As for the petulant political left, how could they be upset at their anointed one for changing from promising to bring an end to the Iraqi War on day one to designing "a plan for a responsible drawdown," after all the President-elect has begun receiving daily intelligence reports. One should understand that reality is becoming real to Mr. Obama.
Now it is understandable those counting on fleecing the rich folks are upset at Mr. Obama's deciding to not immediately roll back tax cuts for the rich and instead choosing to allow them to end in 2010, but how many times can a man hear that you do not raise taxes during a recession before he begins believing it? Ditto for the windfall profit tax on Big Oil!
The biggest misunderstanding of Candidate Obama was his foreign policy stance on meeting with rogue leaders and setting no preconditions for such meetings. Not only did John McCain jump on this seeming naïveté, but so did Mr. Obama's Democratic primary opponents. That was such a misunderstanding of what was explained as "a nuanced stance on diplomacy."
Finally, even the most skeptical of skeptics cannot imagine that Mr. Obama had any knowledge of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's despicable auctioning of the President-elect's vacant Senate seat. Mr. Obama stated clearly on December 9, 2008, "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening." And please do not try to parse Mr. Obama's words "so we were not, I was not aware..." as some Freudian slip. Everyone knows Mr. Obama is not as clearly spoken as when speaking from a teleprompter.
Now before anyone throws up the Rahm Emanuel link understand that it is mere speculation to try to attribute any of Mr. Emanuel's actions to the man for whom Mr. Emanuel acts as chief of staff. Clearly there are times when one keeps things from one's boss, even if it is something as important as naming the successor to his vacant Senate seat.
And Mr. Obama's hesitancy to speak of the Emanuel connection is prudent "because...it's an ongoing...investigation." The President-elect advisably stated "it would be inappropriate for me to, you know, remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know. And that's the fact that I didn't discuss this issue with the governor at all."
All the above listed reasons for caution are easily swept away by simply listening to the President-elect. Mr. Obama believes in common-sense gun safety laws, and while his stance on gun control is unclear, who can argue with common sense?
And besides, the President-elect believes "that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms," even though he also believes that "just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can't constrain the exercise of that right."
Okay, that is a little confusing, but he has been saying the same thing about gun control throughout his campaign and transition and I think I can take him at his word.
After all, he told me I could.
David Jeffers is author of Understanding Evangelicals: A Guide to Jesusland and a Cum Laude graduate from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary with a M.A in Theological Studies. He is the proprietor of the blog Salt and Light.
*corrected, thanks to an alert reader.
*corrected, thanks to an alert reader.