Barack Obama is still upset about just how bitterly so many Americans cling to their guns. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired November 17, 2020, the former president expressed his anger with the fact that gun owners successfully organized to defeat his radical gun-control agenda in early 2013.
Obama’s chief complaint to Winfrey was that gun owners had the temerity to politically organize to defend their Second Amendment rights in opposition to his administration’s efforts. Moreover, in doing so, the former president attempted to portray the wisdom of his preferred gun-control policies as so self-evident as to be beyond the scope of politics. To the former president, the rights and concerns of the firearms community deserve no political consideration.
Of course, there was no wisdom to Obama’s preferred gun-control policy – the criminalization of private firearm transfers (sometimes referred to as “universal background checks”). In fact, Obama’s Department of Justice surveyed the efficacy of several gun-control measures, and in a memo dated January 4, 2013, a DOJ researcher concluded that the criminalization of private transfers would be ineffective absent further draconian gun-control measures, including firearm registration.
Obama’s own DOJ told the administration that the gun-control legislation he was championing would not be effective. Yet, the president persisted in pushing the ineffective policy until the legislation was defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013. A reasonable person could conclude that Obama’s decision to promote legislation that would have harmed gun owners while serving no public safety benefit was pure politics.
Gun-rights supporters should take motivation from Obama’s statements. His continued whining on guns is recognition of the effectiveness of well-informed, well-organized, and politically-active gun-rights supporters. Armed with the same dedication and effort that led to the victory over Obama in 2013, gun owners will be ready to confront the potential challenges of 2021.