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From The Editor | Silence From The White House

From The Editor | Silence From The White House

Photo credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While President Barack Obama likes to play fast and loose with truth and frequently makes up facts to fit his agenda—especially on the firearm issue—it was “facts” and “truth” that he focused on at his recent town hall meeting on guns.

“I’ve said this repeatedly, I’m happy to meet with [the National Rifle Association],” Obama told Anderson Cooper at the made-for-TV fiasco. “I’m happy to talk to them, but the conversation has to be based on facts and truth ...” 

For many gun owners, hearing Obama talk about “facts” and “truth” is laughable. He’s the president who says he “supports the Second Amendment,” while at the same time proclaiming the Supreme Court to be wrong in upholding our individual right to keep and bear arms.For many gun owners, hearing Obama talk about “facts” and “truth” is laughable.  

Yet that wasn’t the president’s only jab at the NRA that night. “They’re just down the street,” Obama quipped. “There’s a reason they’re not here.”

That reason was made quite obvious a few days later when NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called Obama’s bluff—and then went all in.

“Mr. President, pre-screened questions that lead to your long-winded answers are anything but an honest dialogue,” LaPierre said. “But I’ll tell you what: I’ll meet you for a one-on-one, one-hour debate with a mutually agreed-upon moderator on any network that will take it.” 

Some proclaimed the move to be out of line—too bold a move in challenging the president of the United States to debate. Yet that’s exactly what Obama had asked for—he just didn’t expect NRA would take him up on it.

LaPierre built his case quite well in his challenge to Obama, even pointing out that the facts and truth are exactly what Obama wants buried

“Americans will judge for themselves who they trust and believe on this issue—you or the NRA,” LaPierre continued. “Let’s see if you’re game for a fair debate. It’s your chance to show the American people you’re not afraid to meet the NRA on neutral ground.”

While many American gun owners cheered the challenge, the response from the White House has been less than overwhelming. It seems rather than really wanting a dialogue on guns, the president enjoyed having his say on guns without being challenged with facts and truth. In a nutshell, he’s taken his ball and gone home, not making a peep about the challenge—or whether he’s still “happy to meet with” the NRA.

If you wonder what might make the president hesitant to debate LaPierre on national television, here are are just a few points he likely doesn’t want to discuss in public.

  • While Obama's hometown of Chicago is awash in violent crime—there were more than 500 murders last year—his proposals would only affect law-abiding citizens. After all, who would expect a violent felon willing to ignore a law against murder to respect a law limiting gun purchases?
  • One of Obama’s 23 executive directives in January 2013 was to “amp up prosecutions of federal gun laws.” Yet prosecutions for gun violations actually began a decline in 2013, dipped further in 2014 and dropped to an all-time low for the Obama administration in 2015. The 2015 fiscal year actually represents a 15.5-percent drop in prosecutions from five years ago and a 34.8-percent drop from the midway point of Bush’s eight years in office.
  • Obama already has the power to drastically cut violent crime by targeting the small percentage of actual violent criminals who cause most of the mayhem. As LaPierre puts it: “If the president held a press conference tomorrow morning and directed every federal jurisdiction to round up every felon with a gun, drug dealer with a gun and criminal gangbanger with a gun, law enforcement would have thousands of violent thugs in handcuffs and squad cars by sundown. Instead, he waits for a crime that fits his agenda … and blames the NRA. Mr. President, we will not accept blame for your failure.”
  • Obama claims he had to act on “gun safety” because Congress has “failed to act.” In reality, Congress has acted—several times it has rejected Obama’s proposals. What the president actually means is Congress hasn’t rubber-stamped his gun-control agenda like he had hoped.
  • In announcing his recent executive orders, Obama said: “The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked.” Truth is, that statement is completely false. Federal law requires all firearm dealers, manufacturers and importers to be licensed, and requires such licensees to initiate a background check on a non-licensee to whom they intend to sell or otherwise transfer a firearm, without regard to where the transfer takes place. You can’t just legally buy a gun over the Internet and have it delivered to your home. The reason there is a perceived “different set of rules” is because criminals don’t follow the rules!

These are just a few of the specific things Obama likely doesn’t want to debate, and there are many, many more. Fact is, most of his statements concerning firearm ownership are misleading at best, and lies at worst.

I’d say it’s time for the president to put up or shut up on gun ownership in America. If he’s not willing to address these important issues on an even playing field on network TV, he should knock off all the spin and misleading statements made when there’s nobody around to question their validity.