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The Siege Begins

Friday, March 1, 2013

As early as the December 2011 issue of America’s 1st Freedom, in a feature entitled “Obama’s Secret Plan to Destroy the Second Amendment by 2016,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was shouting from the proverbial rooftops, warning gun owners of an “all-out war on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.” He told what the Obama administration planned to unleash should it emerge victorious from the 2012 presidential election and retain the White House.

LaPierre’s warnings leading up to the election were distinctly prescient—eerily so, considering the atmosphere surrounding firearms when LaPierre foretold in the months, then weeks, then days before Election Day 2012 of the anti-gun offensive we now face.

Looking back, the tenor of the gun-rights debate when LaPierre raised the alarm in that December 2011 issue would be considered quaint in comparison to the horrific accusations and despicable lies leveled at lawful gun owners—and the National Rifle Association in particular—in post-election, post-Newtown, Conn., America. Consider that in the same issue, frequent Freedom contributor Dave Kopel, in a feature entitled “Will Gun Owners Get Caught Sleeping?” warned that NRA members shouldn’t be lulled into a sense of complacency due to years of firearm victories at the state and federal level, along with poll results from varied sources that frequently reported a corresponding rise in public opinion regarding gun rights.

Though the question raised in the article’s title was obviously rhetorical, a similar headline today, when the atmosphere surrounding gun rights is so charged, would seem nonsensical. The gun rights debate today has shifted 180 degrees from what existed just three months ago.

Recall that it wasn’t so long ago that the Obama administration proudly boasted that, rather than curtail gun rights, it had actually expanded firearm freedom in its time in office by signing legislation allowing Right-to-Carry in national parks.

Because the administration had delayed any large-scale offensive against the Second Amendment, admirers of Obama in the media could try to paint LaPierre’s warnings as paranoia. NRA’s warnings of an imminent fusillade against the right to keep and bear arms were lampooned by the national media, who pointed toward Obama’s first-term record of avoiding gun issues (while obscuring his dismal record on Second Amendment issues as a state and federal legislator) as proof the man was a friend of gun owners.

While the media dusted off its favorite synonyms for “paranoia” when it gave any coverage at all to the NRA’s predictions, the Obama administration bided its time until a second term was secured. No longer beholden to voters, its plan to dismantle the Second Amendment could commence. The only thing needed would be a large-scale tragedy to exploit.

Thus, the pieces were arranged and waiting on Dec. 14, 2012, when evil descended upon Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. 

What gun owners face today is what LaPierre warned would come to pass should Obama retain the presidency. Obviously, it wasn’t prophecy on his part, but a clear-eyed, sober summation of the Obama administration’s gun-ban calculus. It was simply recognizing what was there in front of all of our eyes all along.

None of this is truly in response to the Newtown tragedy; this anti-gun onslaught was the plan all along. A brutal symptom of a nation awash in a culture that celebrates violence, greed and a lack of responsibility, to the anti-gunners Newtown was a cue in a script they’ve followed since Obama was elected to his first term in office.

In the December 2011 feature, LaPierre warned, “The steps they’ve taken so far clearly indicate—and concretely support—the all-out war on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms that they positively plan for their second term.”

In this and in countless other NRA articles and other association communications, LaPierre, NRA-ila Executive Director Chris w. Cox, NRA President David Keene and others reiterated the point that a second Obama term would be disastrous for the Second Amendment. 

Sadly, too many Americans failed to heed these warnings, and so it begins. Election Day 2012 could one day be looked back upon as the moment the NRA’s last 25 years of harD-fought gun-owner victories started to slip away. Worse still, history could remember Election Day 2012 as the moment the Second Amendment began to be reduced to a relic, nothing but an empty husk that once contained the one right that ensured the survival of all other individual rights.

Right now, though, hope survives. To preserve our rights, every gun owner and freedom-lover must answer the call to join beneath the banner of the NRA, before it is too late. 

As a state senator and a U.S. senator, up until his presidential election in 2008, when NRA named him the “most anti-gun president in history,” Obama cultivated a reputation as a rising star in “progressive” politics by supporting all manner of anti-gun proposals.

Obama undoubtedly entertained anti-gun fantasies despite his lack of public action on guns in his first term, as LaPierre and Cox warned. Occasionally, though, there would be a sinister glimpse of what awaited gun owners.

As LaPierre noted, within a week of Obama’s first presidential victory, the presidential transition web page at http://change.gov listed these anti-gun proposals as priorities of the Obama-Biden White House:

Renewing and strengthening the Clinton “assault weapons” ban; Opening up sensitive BATFE “trace” data for manipulation by anti-gun politicians; Imposing restrictions that would severely restrict gun shows in an effort to close the fictitious “gun-show loophole.”

No sooner had these “priorities” appeared online than the page was pulled down by the Obama team without a single word of explanation. Yet today, with a second-term victory behind them, the Obama administration and its friends in Congress have begun speaking freely of instituting these anti-gun proposals—along with many others—in the name of the children killed in Newtown, despite the fact not one would have saved a single child’s life that morning.

As with the web page, Obama the tactician was quick to keep a cover over any overt talk of gun control during his first term. Even before his first inauguration, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., was insistent that Obama’s team should lend White House support to a magazine ban. “They told me that’s not for now, that’s for later,” she told Newsweek. Brady Campaign head Sarah Brady was similarly told that anti-gun initiatives during the first term would remain, for the time, out of sight. Obama reportedly told her in a 2011 meeting, “I just want you to know we are working on [gun control] … We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

Under the radar, of course, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department was coordinating the government-sanctioned delivery of thousands of American firearms straight into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. This covert operation, “Fast and Furious,” was designed to lend credence to the administration talking point, long ago proven false, that 90 percent of the firearms used in cartel violence originated in the United States—the better to ban the guns, come a second Obama term.

Obama’s first term was also spent quietly shoring up Supreme Court support for a future gutting of the Second Amendment. Obama’s two nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court—Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—both professed unyielding respect for the individual right to bear arms that the Second Amendment protects and the Heller case upheld. They would support it, that is, until it actually came time to make a ruling on the matter; in the McDonald v. Chicago case, Sotomayor turned her back on individual rights and voted with the 5-4 minority. Kagan’s pedigree as an operative in President Clinton’s administration reveals her likely stance on a future Second Amendment ruling. And chances are, President Obama could appoint upwards of three justices to the Supreme Court, which could allow both of these landmark cases to be reversed in this second Obama term or soon after.

LaPierre and others in these pages have also pointed to those who populate Obama’s cabinet as a reason to fear a coming onslaught. From Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel and Eric Holder to Cass Sunstein and Harold Koh, a common thread has run through his appointments past, present and, we can only assume, future—an abiding hatred of gun rights.

Finally, despite the Obama administration’s protestations of being pro-gun, it reversed the Bush-era stance on the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), signaling a willingness to participate soon after Obama took office. This move, LaPierre continually warned, leaves our Second Amendment rights vulnerable to outside influence. 

And if any question remained whether Obama’s second term would see his administration begin the business of destroying the rights of American gun owners, behold what transpired on Wednesday, Nov. 7, one day after the election: the U.S.  mission to the United Nations made clear its support for renewed ATT negotiations. And so it began.

Following a costly, time-consuming presidential election, the NRA had little time to regroup before the shocking news from Newtown forever changed countless lives—and the debate on gun rights in America.

No sooner had the news arrived that 20 children and six adults were killed than the NRA found itself the target of vitriol and lies the likes of which hadn’t been seen before. Despite the fact a psychologically damaged monster acted alone, anti-gunners attempted to blame the NRA and its 4 million law-abiding members for the violence that day.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become the new face of America’s anti-gun movement, was quick to take the bully pulpit and denigrate the NRA, while his cohort New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo—hoping to lend his presidential aspirations a boost—forced through the state legislature a package of anti-gun laws including a broader “assault weapons” ban, an unprecedented ban on magazines that hold more than seven rounds of ammunition, as well as restrictions on gun shows. 

Illinois lawmakers have proposed one of the most draconian semi-automatic bans in the nation, as well as a ludicrous idea to force lawful gun owners to purchase liability insurance to cover the costs of the criminal acts of others.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced her intentions to introduce a new “assault weapons” ban—the anti-gunners’ Holy Grail of late—as soon as possible (see feature, p. 38). 

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., introduced four bills, including proposals for a national gun-owner database, a ban on ammunition magazines, ammunition restrictions and restrictions on gun shows, while Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Rush Holt, D-N.J., both introduced bills that would require more stringent licensing requirements. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., introduced a gun-show bill of his own, which also includes deadline requirements for reporting a stolen firearm, while Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, sponsored legislation that would raise the minimum age for carrying a handgun.

Note, by the way, that all of the bills mentioned in the previous paragraph were introduced on just the first day of the new Congress. All are supposedly meant to stop a repeat of the Newtown murders, though not a single one would have made a difference that day. And though an endless loop of big-name Hollywood stars came together to make a video demanding such laws be passed, in reality all this legislation will do is increase burdens on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. (At the same time, notice the dearth of legislation aimed at the production and dissemination of violent films, games and other entertainment.)

But it was President Obama, of course, who took the lead in lowering the boom on the Second Amendment following the Newtown murders. He convened a “gun violence task force,” led by gun-ban perennial Vice President Joe Biden, promising to work tirelessly to deliver options for more gun control. To lend the proceedings an air of legitimacy, the task force met briefly with the NRA to discuss options for reducing violence but, according to a statement released by the NRA, Biden’s group “spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners—honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.”

On Jan. 16, Obama and Biden hosted a news conference detailing the plan of action upon which their task force had settled. While claiming fealty to the Second Amendment, they unveiled plans to enact a new and harsher “assault weapons” ban, impose a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines and institute “universal” background checks on private gun sales—universal for everyone except criminals. The plan also fires up the Centers for Disease Control’s anti-gun propaganda mill, calls for a study broadening the categories of people banned from possessing firearms and promotes “smart gun” technology that could fail in defensive situations. 

The list—which seems to contain nearly every failed piece of anti-gun legislation from the past 25 years—goes on and on. Of course, these proposals would do nothing to stop violent crime; but then again, such laws never do.

Yet, behind the clamor of anti-gun hordes was one group that advanced a proposal that actually could help save lives in schools: the NRA, which announced an emergency response plan called the National School Shield Program.

Of all the proposals forwarded since the Newtown tragedy, this one alone could truly save lives. Of course, the NRA was met with ridicule from the anti-gun national media and the liberal establishment in Washington, D.C. Not because the plan wouldn’t stop a future Newtown—because it absolutely could, better than any of the hundreds of gun-ban proposals we’re bound to see nationwide in the coming months—but because it doesn’t fit the gun-ban plan that the Obama administration has had in the works for four years now. 

Countering Obama’s anti-gun offensive will take all the resources of the NRA, joined by America’s millions of law-abiding gun owners. Renew or upgrade your NRA membership, and encourage your friends and family members to do the same. Get involved—volunteer your time and resources to the NRA, introduce someone to the shooting sports and become a voice for law-abiding gun owners in your community. And contact your state and federal legislators, and help them understand the simple but vital truth that sacrificing the Second Amendment will never make anyone safer. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.