The Spectacle Blog

Obama’s ‘Inartful’ Gun Lies

By on 6.26.08 | 10:31AM

Barack Obama seems ready to lie about, er, clarify his position on guns, ABC News reports:

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Alexa Ainsworth Report: With the Supreme Court poised to rule on Washington, D.C.'s, gun ban, the Obama campaign is disavowing what it calls an "inartful" statement to the Chicago Tribune last year in which an unnamed aide characterized Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as believing that the DC ban was constitutional.

"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

The statement which Burton describes as an inaccurate representation of the senator's views was made to the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 20, 2007.

In a story entitled, "Court to Hear Gun Case," the Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant and Michael J. Higgins wrote ". . . the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he '...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.'"

The Chicago Tribune clip from Nov. 20, 2007, is an inaccurate representation of Obama's views, according to Burton, because the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has refrained from developing a position on whether the D.C. gun law runs afoul of the Second Amendment.

I may not be as sophisticated as the folks in Obamaville, but to me, when somebody says, "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional," far from being "inartful," it's rather a crystal clear statement that he things the D.C. handgun ban is Constitutional.

This is only the latest in the evolution of Obama's public statements on handguns.

In a 1996 questionnaire Obama filled out when seeking the endorsement of the progressive group IVI-IPO, Obama emphatically answered "yes" when asked whether he would support state legislation to "ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns."

I have a copy of the document, ironically because the Clinton campaign was handing them out in the spin room following the Democratic debate in Philadelphia, during which Obama tried to claim that his handwriting wasn't on the document (also untrue).

In a 2003 questionnaire with the same group, this time when he was running statewide for U.S. Senate, he was more equivocal:

Do you support legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of

a. handguns?

While a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable, I believe reasonable restrictions on the sale and possession of handguns are necessary to protect the public safety. In the Illinois Senate last year, I supported a package of bills to limit individual Illinoisans to purchasing one handgun a month; require all promoters and sellers at firearms shows to carry a state license; allow civil liability for death or injuries caused by handguns; and require FOID applicants to apply in person. I would support similar efforts at the federal level, including retaining the Brady Law.

b. assault weapons?

Yes.

c. ammunition for handguns and assault weapons?

I would support banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons and limiting the sale of ammunition for handguns.

Notice that he says a complete ban is not "politically practicable," suggesting that would be his ultimate goal if it were. Should be interesting to see what his opinion on guns turns out to be today.
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