Last week, we reported on the anti-gun legislative agenda proposed by President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, headed by former Clinton administration operatives John Podesta and Rahm Emanuel. (That document was quickly removed from the official transition website, but you can still see it at http://www.nraila.org/pdfs/obamaurbanpolicy.pdf.)
This week, it became clear that the new administration’s anti-gun agenda even infects the process of staffing the administration. A widely disseminated questionnaire for those applying for administration jobs asks:
“(59) Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”
Of course, the questionnaire does not ask similar questions about any other type of personal property. For example, applicants are not asked to list any cars they own, who drives the cars, or what accidents the cars have been involved in—even though far more deaths and injuries each year involve motor vehicles than involve firearms.
Though past involvement in a gun-related mishap might be politically embarrassing, it is unclear why the transition team would find it more embarrassing than some other kind of accident. And if misuse of a gun would cause an applicant to have a criminal record or to get involved in litigation, that would be disclosed under other questions, such as those about lawsuits against the applicant or applicant’s spouse, and about criminal investigations, arrests, charges or convictions.
Besides being unnecessary, the question misleads applicants about existing firearm laws. The question demands that applicants provide “complete ownership and registration information” about all firearms owned. But only five states have statewide gun registration; of these, and only Hawaii requires registration of all types of firearms. And Federal law specifically forbids creation of a federal registration system (and we intend to keep it that way).
The question also asks applicants to report any lapse in registration, but this, too, is misleading. Only New York City and three nearby counties require periodic renewal of a firearm registration, and then only as part of the process for renewing a handgun license.
Finally, the question asks applicants how the firearm is used. Once again, if an applicant is not using his gun to commit crimes, how could this possibly be relevant to a person’s fitness to serve in the Obama administration?
The possibilities are chilling.
Will applicants who own firearms for self-defense in the home be disqualified, given Obama’s votes at the state level to disallow self-defense arguments by people who used guns to protect themselves in the home, in spite of a local gun ban?
Will applicants be disqualified if they legally carry a firearm for self-protection outside the home, given Obama’s ongoing opposition to state Right-to-Carry laws, and his call for an unconstitutional federal law to outlaw Right-to-Carry?
Will hunters be disqualified, given the endorsement of Obama’s candidacy by the Humane Society of the United States, one of our nation’s most radical anti-hunting lobbies?
One thing is for sure: If the Obama team thinks these are good questions to ask job applicants, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll want to ask the rest of us, too.