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‘Bland’ new Obama plan contains no specific details

Anti-gun agenda details disappear from Obama website

The secret of magic is misdirection. As the Great and Powerful Oz told Dorothy, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Of course, the little guy behind the curtain was pulling all the levers that made the great and powerful Oz, well, great and powerful. Today, however, the topic is not magic, it is misdirection and camouflage. Over the post-election weekend (Nov. 8-9) a number of our readers sent me a link to the website www.change.gov. In case you don’t know, that website belongs to President-elect Barack Obama. The particular link I received in multiples was the “Agenda” link – where the President-Elect had laid out, in detail, his agenda and plans for the incoming administration. Here’s what the link said about the Obama plans in regards to firearms: “Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information and gives police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight illegal arms trade. “Obama and Biden also favor common sense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn’t have them,” the website stated. “They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.” As they say in the hills of Kentucky, “Them’s fightin’ words.” Especially when it comes to three prominently mentioned items: the Tiahrt Amendment, the “gun show loophole” and the expired “assault weapons ban.” Those are key issues in the ongoing battle to preserve the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as accepted by the vast majority of gun owners – and the NRA. The Tiahrt Amendment prohibits the release of federal firearm tracing information to anyone other than a law enforcement agency conducting a bona fide criminal investigation. “Anti-gun activists oppose the restriction, because it prevents them from obtaining tracing information and using it in frivolous lawsuits seeking huge financial judgments against law-abiding firearm manufacturers when a criminal uses a gun to inflict harm, even if the manufacturers have complied with all applicable laws,” said Marion P. Hammer, past president of the NRA. As for closing the gun show loophole, “There is no loophole,” Hammer says. “Under federal law, a firearm dealer must conduct a background check on anyone to whom he sells a gun, regardless of where the sale takes place.” On Obama’s goal of “making guns childproof,” the NRA says, “childproof is a code word for a variety of schemes designed to prevent the sale of firearms by imposing impossible or highly-expensive design requirements, such as biometric shooter-identification systems. While no one opposes keeping children safe, the fact is that accidental firearm-related deaths among children have decreased 86% since 1975, even as the numbers of children and guns have risen dramatically. “Today, the chances of a child being killed in a firearm accident are less than one in a million,” Hammer states. It seems that the assault weapons ban is an issue that simply will not die. It keeps surfacing, despite the fact that law enforcement officials have testified it did absolutely nothing to reduce crime. It did, however, create a very active market for “pre-ban” guns and magazines. “Guns that were affected by the ban are used in only a tiny fraction of violent crime – about 35 times as many people are murdered without any sort of firearm (knives, bare hands, etc.) as with “assault weapons,” says Hammer. “Despite predictions that the ban’s expiration in 2004 would bring about the end of civilization, for the last four years the nation’s murder rate has been lower than anytime since the mid-1960s.” Today, suggesting a permanent “assault weapons ban” fails to recognize the once maligned black-rifle’s now being ubiquitous in shooting. From precision long-range shooting competitions to the deer woods, the AR-style rifle is the most adaptable of all available firearms platforms. It truly has become the “All-American rifle.” Banning the AR-platform, for any reason, would deal a significant blow to the already laggard firearms and hunting industries. The AR-style rifle platform is the sole bright spot in the long gun sector. Other types of rifles are languishing, as evidenced by reductions in workforce and manufacturing output. By comparison, several manufacturers specializing in components for the AR platform are increasing output, not curtailing operations. Much of the growth can be attributed to the fact American hunters and shooters have accepted – and embraced – the versatility of the platform. Indeed, the firearms industry has recognized the increased popularity, and are adding a dizzying assortment of chamberings that allow everything from target to big game hunting. That growth and acceptance is why our readers and industry leaders were alarmed at the clear pronouncements on the www.change.gov website. Today, however, there’s something even more alarming on that website. Formerly clear pronouncements on Obama’s plans for the future of the U.S. on everything from domestic security to international relations are gone. In their place, a rather bland statement says the Obama/Biden administration has “developed innovative approaches to challenge the status quo in Washington and to bring about the kind of change America needs.” Once clearly-enunciated action items have been replaced by a reassurances that the Obama Administration has “a comprehensive and detailed agenda to carry out its policies.” From there, it talks about principal priorities; again only in generalities. The return to generalities may be in response to the wide distribution the earlier information got in talk radio, internet chat rooms, blogs and other places where the Obama campaign frequently found itself the topic of scorn, derision and a less than lukewarm reception. It may also be a sign that the new administration realizes that clearly enumerating plans allows opponents to plan their counter-measures accordingly. After all, the expression goes: “Forewarned is forearmed.” In this instance, I’m afraid, being anything but vigilant in all matters regarding the right to own firearms - of any kind – may be to the detriment of all. That means not being asleep at the switch in the time leading up to the inauguration on Jan. 20. It may seem paranoid to be worrying – publicly – about something as simple as the changes in a few web pages. But sometimes a little paranoia is a good thing.