Obama: I'm thinking I'll spend my last year in office focused on gun control

Your alternate headline comes from Charles Cooke: “President Obama announces record gun sales in 2016.”

So two of his major priorities heading into a presidential election year are (a) gun-grabbing and (b) telling Americans they’re un-American for worrying about importing thousands of Muslims from the site of the most vicious sectarian war on Earth. Good luck, Hillary.


“The main thing that I’ve been trying to communicate over the last several of these horrific episodes is that, contrary to popular belief, Americans are not more violent than people in other developed countries,” Mr. Obama said. “But they have more deadly weapons to act out their rage.”

Asked by interviewer Bill Simmons of HBO if gun control will be the “dominant” issue on his agenda next year, Mr. Obama replied, “I hope so.”

“We have this weird habit in this culture of mourning and, you know, 48, 72 hours of wall-to-wall coverage, and then … suddenly we move on,” Mr. Obama said. “And I will do everything I can to make sure that there’s a sustained attention paid to this thing.”

Passing new gun-control legislation in the middle of a presidential campaign with both chambers of Congress controlled by Republicans should be a snap. Especially with polling like this:

About half of all Americans oppose stricter gun control laws, a larger segment of the population than those who support tighter controls on guns, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday.

Nearly three weeks after the latest mass shooting claimed the lives of nine people, 52% of Americans now oppose stricter gun control laws, 6 percentage points more than the 46% of Americans who support such laws. That’s a wider gap than in June when CNN last surveyed Americans on gun control, finding that the public was equally split at 49% on the issue…

Most non-white Americans — 55% — support tighter gun control laws, while 43% stand opposed.

There is also a gender gap when it comes to support for tighter gun control laws. While 14% more men oppose gun control restrictions, women are nearly equally split on the question with 49% in favor and 48% opposed to such legislation.


The last few lines show you why this wouldn’t be as disastrous politically as it might seem at first blush. In terms of policy, it’s a disaster for the left for the reason Cooke gave; you would think O might have learned by now that every rhetorical feint he makes towards gun control ends up injecting many more guns into circulation as buyers stock up before the feds clamp down. The best thing he could do to limit new sales would be to shut up about guns already. But he won’t because this is a legacy play for him: He wants to be remembered as a president who fought against gun ownership even if his ongoing battle has done more to boost gun ownership over the past seven years than the NRA has.

Politically, on the other hand, this might pay off insofar as Hillary’s strategy will have less to do with outreach to centrists and more to do with re-mobilizing the Democratic base that twice delivered victory to Obama. That means plenty of pandering to liberals, young voters, minority voters, and women, and gun control plays well with all of those groups. That’s why she’s already started talking up executive action to close the, ahem, “gun-show loophole” by treating even low-volume sellers as gun dealers required to conduct background checks for purposes of federal law. Obama’s team had previously concluded that he didn’t have the legal authority to do that as president, but whaddaya know — as soon as Hillary began pushing it, they reconsidered and started whispering that maybe they have the authority after all. Why Obama would want to quash one of Hillary’s campaign promises to the left by implementing her proposal himself, though, I don’t know. Again, I assume it’s a legacy thing: Even if it’ll backfire by panicking gun owners (and maybe by encouraging low-volume sellers to sell more, not less), it’s something for his presidential resume. He may end up wrecking American health insurance and arming Iran with a nuclear weapon and doing squat to stop ISIS from building a jihadi caliphate, but damn it, the man did what little he could to block gun sales. That’s quite a political epitaph.


By the way, here’s what he said in the same interview with GQ about what he’s learned as president:

OBAMA: What I didn’t fully appreciate, and nobody can appreciate until they’re in the position, is how decentralized power is in this system. When you’re in the seat and you’re seeing the housing market collapse and you are seeing unemployment skyrocketing and you have a sense of what the right thing to do is, then you realize, “Okay, not only do I have to persuade my own party, not only do I have to prevent the other party from blocking what the right thing to do is, but now I can anticipate this lawsuit, this lobbying taking place, and this federal agency that technically is independent, so I can’t tell them what to do. I’ve got the Federal Reserve, and I’m hoping that they do the right thing—and by the way, since the economy now is global, I’ve got to make sure that the Europeans, the Asians, the Chinese, everybody is on board.” A lot of the work is not just identifying the right policy but now constantly building these ever shifting coalitions to be able to actually implement and execute and get it done.

Isn’t this the same guy who rewrote ObamaCare’s statutory deadlines unilaterally and then declared amnesty for millions of illegals by royal decree? And now he’s grousing that he didn’t have enough power? No wonder gun owners are worried about confiscation.

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023