Last year, in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., Barack Obama gave a State of the Union performance that was filled with theatrical pandering. Seeking to capitalize on that tragedy by exploiting the understandably intense emotions that followed in its wake, the President reiterated his support for increased background checks and bans on common semi-automatic firearms and their magazines, which he referred to as "weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines."
As usual, Obama's remarks were short on evidence to support the efficacy of his proposals. That's because evidence was (and still is) sorely lacking--and experts at Obama's own Justice Department acknowledged that fact, even if the President will not.
In April, the U.S. Senate soundly rejected Obama's gun control agenda, which prompted one political commentator to call the action the "biggest loss" of Obama's presidency.
This year, Obama's State of the Union gun control rhetoric was toned down substantially but was no less disturbing, with the president pledging that he will continue to promote his anti-gun agenda "with or without Congress."
As reported by Reuters.com, Obama said, "I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say 'we are not afraid,' and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools."
What the president is saying, of course, is that he intends to continue flouting the Constitution to force his anti-gun agenda. The president's solution for preventing shootings by deranged perpetrators--a number of whom passed the very background checks he sought to expand last year--is to leverage the full weight of the Oval Office to harass and harry anybody who is associated with firearms through regulations, appointments, international treaties and accords, and by acting through his adoring proxies in the media, academia, and entertainment industry. Perhaps the president feels he's showing strong leadership by threatening to bypass Congress. We suspect that most Americans won't think so.
A new Gallup poll shows that the country's overall dissatisfaction with U.S. gun laws and policies has increased to 55 percent this year (up from 51 percent last year) but the increase came largely from Americans who say that gun laws are too strict. As reported by the National Journal, this percentage jumped to 16 percent this year, a rate that more than triples the five percent recorded by Gallup last year. Meanwhile, the article reports that the percentage of Americans favoring stricter gun laws fell seven points in 2014, from 38 to 31 percent.
As the Gallup poll concludes, "Americans have become more dissatisfied with gun laws over the past year, but this is attributable to a greater percentage who say gun laws are too strict, rather than not being strict enough. Americans' changing views could set the course for future gun law debates and legislation" (emphasis added).
Thus, the President's single-minded pursuit of gun control may well continue not only "without" Congress but against the express will of a growing segment of the American people.