Second thoughts on the Second Amendment

Andy Matthews

Barack Obama, the Democrats' presumptive nominee for president, has spent his public career accumulating a consistent record of hostility toward gun rights. He's done this through his financial support for anti-gun groups, his voting record and his rhetoric. Of the recently overturned Washington, D.C., handgun ban, Obama had said last November that he believed the ban to be constitutional.

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down the law as unconstitutional, however, Obama is singing a different tune, issuing a statement in response to the ruling in which he claims he has "always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms."

Well then.

How to account for the about-face? There are really only three possible explanations. One, Obama is simply utterly confused about the issue and/or the particular case (not likely, given his background as a constitutional lawyer). Two, Obama in fact was an anti-gun stalwart but was won over by Antonin Scalia's majority opinion (you can stop laughing now) and is claiming he's been consistent on the issue in order to avoid the lethal "flip-flop" charge. Or three, the only truly plausible scenario: Most Americans concur with the Supreme Court's ruling, and Obama, fully aware that he is now running in a nationwide general election, recognized the need to distance himself from his past (re: genuine) position.

That being the case, what we have here is only the latest reminder of a problem that liberal presidential candidates consistently face, which is: how to win an election as a left winger in what is at heart a right-of-center nation. Obama's solution apparently is to mask his true feelings on the issue (Does anyone really think his newly professed respect for the Second Amendment is sincere?) and hope the American people buy it.

NPRI being a non-partisan organization, we're not in the business of backing any one candidate over another. Nevadans ought to cast their vote for president however they see fit. But they ought to do so with the fullest understanding possible of where the candidates really stand on the issues. And they should be wiser than to fall for Obama's sudden shift on gun rights.