An Illustrated Guide to Obama's Gun-Grabbing

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has come under fire in recent days for anti-Semitic comments posted at my.barackobama.com, a portion of the first-term senator's website where almost anyone can create a user account and post their own content. Once the offending content was flagged by bloggers, it came down. Obama defenders point out that the offensive comments were not posted by the campaign, which is undoubtedly true.

As Andrew Romano notes at Newsweek's Stumper, the Obama messaging campaign is a rigidly controlled and controlling device, "even bigger and savvier" than the Bush campaign's run by Karl Rove. But while Obama can't fairly be blamed for off-message posts on public access community blogs, he can be fairly criticized for his own stated positions, especially those that are purposefully deceptive.

Buried deep in his official campaign website's "Issues" page, under "Additional Issues," is a vague nod to sportsmen, noting that Obama has never been one, and a link to the candidate's position paper, "Barack Obama: Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen." A sharp observer would note that the document is named "Obama_FactSheet_Western_Sportsmen.pdf," which makes one wonder if the campaign recognizes the rights of hunters in the southeastern and northeastern United States as well, and non-hunting gun owners nationwide. This is far from a petty observation; the candidate himself cited his spouse, traveling though rural eastern Iowa, saying, "You know, I can see why if I was living out here, I'd want a gun."

Out here? What about everywhere else?

It is rather ironic that Obama chose to use a firearms metaphor at a fundraiser this weekend when speaking about countering Republican attacks. "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," Obama is reported to have said.

Ironic - because the fact of the matter is that the Obama campaign recognizes no constitutional right to own firearms for personal or community defense. His website claims a position of:

Respect the Second Amendment: Millions of hunters own and use guns each year. Millions more participate in a variety of shooting sports such as sporting clays, skeet, target, and trap shooting that may not necessarily involve hunting. As a former constitutional law professor, Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he greatly respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting. He also believes that the right is subject to reasonable and commonsense regulation.

Obama's campaign explicitly only recognizes the right to own firearms for "the purposes of hunting and target shooting," and insists on "commonsense regulation." What is commonsense regulation according to Barack Obama? It depends on which Barack Obama you believe is telling the truth.

In 1998 Obama stated a desire to "ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons." Many people confuse semi-automatic firearms, which use the energy created when a gun is fired to eject the spent cartridge and load a fresh round, with automatic weapons, more commonly known as machine guns.

Semi-automatic firearms are the most common firearms sold in America today.

Barack Obama's desire to ban "all forms" of semi-autos would include a ban on most common rimfire target pistols, including those used in Olympic competition.

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Barack Obama's desire to ban "all forms" of semi-autos would ban the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, and many other rimfire .22 rifles, which form the backbone of American shooting sports, from hunting to target shooting.

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