On Wednesday, President Obama addressed the 122nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (a transcript is available at this link). The president aptly praised the work of America’s law enforcement community. He mentioned the “astonishing statistic” that “[o]ver the last 20 years, police have helped cut the violent crime rate and homicide rate in America by almost half.” He also noted that “over the past few years, the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty has fallen to their lowest levels in decades,” with 2013 seeing “the fewest cops shot and killed in the line of duty since 1887.” We’ll give credit where credit is due – one has to appreciate Obama’s honesty in admitting that crime rates have fallen to historic lows in a period where firearm sales have skyrocketed.
Clearly, America is doing many things right when it comes to protecting the safety of the public and officers alike. You might think the president’s priority would be to identify, model, and expand the strategies and techniques that have led to these historic gains. We’ll give credit where credit is due – one has to appreciate Obama’s honesty in admitting that crime rates have fallen to historic lows in a period where firearm sales have skyrocketed.
Instead, Obama used the occasion to call for a retreat from America’s tradition of lawful firearm ownership and use, a tradition Americans have embraced at record levels while enjoying record progress against violent crime. Clearly, and as usual, Obama fails to grasp an understanding or appreciation of how firearm ownership contributes to the security and safety of our communities.. But then, ordinary, upstanding Americans have never been the president’s main concern. Instead, he is consumed by what he considers the country’s “legacy” of “disparities” and “bias.” He even made a point of telling the chiefs that before he “had a motorcade,” he had gotten tickets he didn’t deserve.
He also went on to insult their intelligence, and the intelligence of the American people, by ridiculously asserting, “[I]t is easier for a lot of young people in this city and in some of your communities to buy a gun than buy a book. It is easier in some communities to find a gun than it is to find some fresh vegetables at a supermarket. That’s just a fact.”
If by “fact” he meant “lie,” then we agree. But not otherwise. And certainly not as applied to people who are acting lawfully.
Of course, anybody wishing lawfully to buy a firearm at retail has to follow a process that involves appearing in person at a licensed dealer, showing valid government-issued identification, filling out a six-page federal form, and undergoing a mandatory background check. And those are just the federal requirements. Some states add considerably more, including licensing, training, and waiting periods.
For criminals who disregard the law, the process is of course considerably easier. But the president only offered policies that would affect the law-abiding, including the same tired suggestions of “universal” background checks and a ban on what he misleadingly called “military-style assault weapons.” His own policy advisors, meanwhile, have told him what additional steps would be necessary to enforce these restrictions, including gun registration and the mandatory surrender of formerly legal firearms. Simply put, the president was not offering serious solutions to crime.
And the cops who work the streets know it. In April 2013, PoliceOne.com, a leading website for law enforcement officers, released a survey of some 15,000 current and former cops. Nearly 80% opined that a ban on private transfers of firearms between law-abiding citizens would not reduce violent crime. More than 70% said the same thing about an “assault weapons” ban. Meanwhile, more than 91% agreed that the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime should have stiff, mandatory sentences, and no plea-bargains.
The police chiefs who Obama addressed are of course professionals, and most of them received his comments politely. Comments on a number of law enforcement websites, however, indicated that many officers were not impressed and did not consider the president’s remarks sincere or credible.
Neither did we. While we can take some comfort in the fact that Obama’s increasingly bold rhetoric is paired with his increasing irrelevance, all that could change with the next election. A number of his would-be successors have openly embraced even more extreme gun control schemes, with Hillary Clinton openly suggesting a national “buyback” program “would be worth considering.”
Only your activism and your vote can stop them. Next November, make sure your rights are protected. Stand with the NRA and defend the Second Amendment!