Is Obama really as obtuse as his debate with a gun-store owner suggests?

Is Obama really as obtuse as his debate with a gun-store owner suggests?
Bad day at the Nielsens. (Image: Video, via Daily Mail)

I can appreciate that Barack Obama has had the media running interference for him since Day 1, brushing his periodic “Bushisms” under the table and trying to put a happy face on his many failings. But you have to offer up special kudos to Business Insider’s Jeremy Berke for his latest feat of journalistic legerdemain.

In an article titled “Obama had some strong words for a gun-store owner who confronted him at a town-hall event in Indiana,” he demonstrates remarkable skill at making the president appear not just rational in defending his indefensible position on guns but smart!

The occasion was an “after party” of sorts, once the TV cameras had been turned of at a PBS Newshour Q & A in Elkhart, Ind. last Wednesday. The president stuck around to field a few more questions when he was asked the following by Doug Rhude, a gun-store owner:

Knowing that we apply common sense to other issues in our society, specifically like holding irresponsible people accountable for their actions when they drink and drive and kill somebody, and we do that without restricting cars and cell phones to the rest of us, the “good guys,” why then do you and Hillary [Clinton] want to control and restrict and limit gun manufacturers, gun owners, and responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us, the “good guys,” instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions.

Obama’s typically lengthy answer began:

First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats or whoever you want to choose are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true.

But, as John Nolte has noted at Breitbart, Obama has on more than one occasion praised Australia for the mandatory firearms “buy-back” scheme it implemented after a mass shooting there. In the same speeches he has hinted at the need for the government here at home to clamp down in similar fashion and has tried repeatedly to recruit American voters to pressure Congress.

In short, when it comes to confiscating guns, he would if he could.

Likewise for Clinton, who just this morning on ABC’s “This Week” refused to say whether she believes in a constitutional right to bear arms.

But Obama wasn’t quite finished attempting to convince a critic that he is one of the “good guys.” Writes Berke:

Obama then claimed there have actually been more guns sold since he has been president than any time in US history. And it’s true: Gun sales — based on the number of FBI criminal-background checks — increased by 65% over the period between 2008 and 2013, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The clear implication is that gun sales have risen because Obama has been so hands-off, so laissez-faire. But that notion is laughable. Any time there has been a shooting in the last seven and a half years, he has wasted no time climbing up onto his bully pulpit to politicize the incident.

One real explanation for the spike in sales is suggested by this graph from a New York Times article from March titled “Gun Sales Soar After Obama Calls for New Restrictions”:


From the article itself:

More guns were sold in December than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released in January.

The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

The situation is somewhat akin to a spike in the sale of candles, flashlight batteries, and non-perishable food items when a severe storm is approaching a locality. People take extra precautions when adverse conditions approach.

In the case of Hurricane Barack, an old adage applies: Forewarned is forearmed.

Here is a video of the exchange:

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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