Shotgun News, January 1, 2009, pp. 22-24

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Big Trouble

I warned gun owners. NRA warned gun owners. Gun rights groups big and small warned gun owners. And yet a fair number of gun owners turned out and helped elect Barack Hussein Obama—the most anti-gun president in history. We are in a world of hurt—and I consider it a small possibility that the doomsday scenario that underlies the Second Amendment may come to pass. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Obama transition team’s web page on November 7 told us what they are going to do: “As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade.”1 This will allow local antigun police departments (like Chicago) to engage in fishing expeditions—while endangering BATF’s criminal investigations of illegal arms trafficking.

“Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof.”2 And what does that mean? Many of the “childproof” gun proposals effectively mean the end of handguns. Significantly, many of the proposals for such “childproof” guns exempt police departments from these requirements, since police departments need guns that are reliable. As my last column mentioned, even antigun scholars can’t find any evidence that gun shows increase crime rates.

“They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.”3 What do you suppose the chances are that making it “permanent” will mean a ban not just on new manufacture, but on possession?

Make no mistake about it. Obama was on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation4—the single largest funder of antigun efforts in the United States. He has supported bans on handgun ownership in the past—and in 2004, when Illinois was considering an exception to local gun control ordinances for people who used a gun in lawful self-defense—Obama opposed it. As late as February, he supported D.C.’s handgun ban, asserting that there was no constitutional problem with it. In 2004, he supported a ban on gun sales within five miles of any school or park—which would make gun sales illegal in all but a very few, very remote parts of the U.S.5

You can get something of an idea of Obama’s ignorance of the gun issue from a questionnaire that those applying for positions with him are having to fill out. “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed?”6 In much of the United States, there is no requirement to register a gun. Obama and his people are so wrapped up in their Chicago/New York/Boston cocoon that they don’t realize this.

One of the people that reads my blog is part of the Zogby International polling group--and tells me that after the election he received a list of questions from Zogby. Here are couple of the gun questions: “If you knew Barack Obama supported a plan to place a 75% excise tax on the sale of firearms - where a $500 rifle would now cost $875 with tax, would that have made you...

“More likely to vote for Obama

”Less likely to vote for Obama

”No difference

”Not sure”

What’s going on here? One possibility is that Obama's transition team commissioned this poll to figure out which measures they can propose without impairing Obama's popularity. If these are actually measures that Obama is considering, then an awful lot of Americans were profoundly misled about what Obama stands for during the campaign. The 75% excise tax on firearms in particular would devastate the industry, and strongly discourage new firearms purchases.

”If you knew about Barack Obama's support for national legislation that would overturn concealed carry handgun laws in 40 states, would that have made you...

”More likely to vote for Obama

”Less likely to vote for Obama

”No difference

”Not sure”

I am pretty sure that even the federal courts would simply not tolerate a federal law that prohibited states from issuing concealed carry permits—but I suppose it depends on how many judges Obama puts on the bench.

Now, if this had been sent out before the election, I would have assumed that this was Republican “push-polling.” Push-polling, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is a sneaky technique where you call up voters, and ask them questions that are supposed to sound like a survey, but are really an attempt to make people change their minds—questions like: “Does Senator Smith’s history of arrests in public restrooms for indecent behavior make you more or less likely to vote for him?”

Zogby International is a well-respected polling organization with significant ties to the Democratic Party. They wouldn’t be doing Republican push-polling. And after the election? This wouldn’t make much sense. Worse, some of these proposals are so extreme and specific that it seems to suggest the first possibility—that Obama’s people are considering extreme measures to disarm the population.

Now, you are probably thinking to yourself that Congress would have to go along with these measures. For some actions, yes. But executive orders have the force of law. An Associated Press article shortly after the election quoted John Podesta, Obama’s transition chief: “There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that.”7

Much of the population may not be educated, but that doesn’t mean that they are stupid. In the weeks leading up to the election, I heard repeated news accounts of rising gun sales across the nation—and after the election, it seems to have accelerated. One of the gun stores here in the Boise area sold $20,000 worth of guns on the Saturday after the election—a very healthy day. A friend who attended the gun show in Boise that same weekend tells me that in contrast to the sparsely attended gun shows of the past, there was a twenty minute waiting line to get into the show. Guns that had not been selling for $350 at previous shows were being snatched up for $450. He saw lots of people walking out with cases of ammunition—and this is an area that has lately been hit hard by layoffs. Wisconsin reports that gun sales in the first 13 days of November 2008 were 82% higher than in the same 13 days of November 2007—and most of that increase was after the election.8

I have written before about the very real hazards of revolution. It is a last resort. We protect our liberties with four boxes: soap, ballot, jury, and cartridge, and in that order. As the Declaration of Independence observed, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” I am somewhat concerned, however, that we may be about to move from a government that merely loots our wallets for the benefit of Wall Street (as the recent $850 billion bailout was), to something considerably more frightening.

As I have mentioned in previous columns, William Ayers was one of Obama’s early political supporters—and there are a lot of connections between the two that Obama downplays or about which Obama has flat out lied. And who is William Ayers? One of the founders of Weather Underground, a radical group that set off bombs in the 1970s, firebombed the home of a judge while the judge and his family was inside, and killed armored car guards as part of robberies.

The 1982 documentary No Place to Hide has a really disturbing segment where they interviewed Larry Grathwhol, an FBI informant who was undercover with the Weather Underground. In one meeting, the Weather Underground discussed how, after the revolution, they would have to set up “reeducation camps” to indoctrinate the population in the virtues of socialism:

“I asked, ‘Well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?’ and the reply was that they'd have to be eliminated.

“And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

“And when I say ‘eliminate,’ I mean ‘kill.’

“Twenty-five million people.

“I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

“And they were dead serious.”9

Ayers has not apologized for those crimes. In an article that appeared, appropriately enough, in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, Ayers said, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”10

I really wish that I believed that the combination of Obama’s long history of trying to disarm law-abiding adults—and his association with a guy who founded a group that was prepared to justify murdering 25 million Americans because they couldn’t be “reeducated”—was just a coincidence. But it would not be the first time that a gun control fanatic got himself elected in times of economic crisis based purely on his mesmerizing effect on crowds. And look how that turned out!

Prepare for the possibility that Obama and friends may overreach. There is an enormous pent-up demand from the far left to get everything they want. If they pursue it, they are opening the doors up to a dramatic change in Congress in the 2010 mid-term elections—much like happened in 1994, when Democrats lost control of both houses at least partly because of gun control laws. (It helps that those Republicans who argued that the Party should be Democrat Lite have been utterly discredited by McCain’s loss to the most radical Democratic nominee in American history.) It is far better to solve this problem at the next election than by more…energetic means.

But I would also make sure that you have sufficient rifles and ammunition. I consider that there is a small possibility that something might happen similar to the tragedy after the Chilean Congress picked Salvador Allende as President in 1970. Allende did not enjoy the overwhelming legislative or popular support that he needed to implement his Socialist platform. Instead, his government often turned a blind eye to unlawful actions taken by a weird mix of both Chilean Communists and those from other nations (including the United States) in pursuit of their goals. Increasingly, those unlawful actions met forceful resistance from their victims.

I do hope that we don’t go down the road of Chile. The coup d’etat that overturned Allende was a bloody mess. Lots of people were tortured and murdered by the Pinochet government. Chile is still struggling with the aftermath from that era. But I shudder to think that the crowd that would consider murdering 25 million Americans for supporting capitalism might be granted positions of power in the Obama Administration—and the savagery that would likely be unleashed.

Clayton E. Cramer is a software engineer and historian. His sixth book, Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie (Nelson Current, 2006), is available in bookstores. His web site is

1 November 7, 2008, as cached by Google.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 “Barack Obama,” Washington Post,, last accessed November 15, 2008.

5 John R. Lott, Jr., “Obama's gun ban rhetoric: For it before being against it, now no longer for it,” Washington Times, August 29, 2008.

6, last accessed November 15, 2008.

7 Stephen Ohlemacher, “Obama to use executive orders for immediate impact,” Associated Press, November 9, 2008,, last accessed November 15, 2008.

8 Jacqui Seibel, “Obama election triggers run on gun sales in state,” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, November 14, 2008,, last accessed November 17, 2008.

9 Transcript and video at “Just a Little Genocide,” Confederate Yankee,, last accessed November 15, 2008.

10 Scott Shane, “Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths,” New York Times, October 4, 2008,, last accessed November 15, 2008.