The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been saying for the past two years that President Obama would ban guns if given a second term. Mr. Obama had been careful to pretend otherwise until last week's debate, when he let slip his intention to ban certain types of firearms. That has sparked a renewed political war on both sides of the issue.
Mr. Obama's revelation has energized the pro-gun forces. "The president peeked out from behind the curtain and said, 'Guess what, the NRA has been right all along. I am anti-Second Amendment and you can take my protestations to the contrary and shove 'em,'" NRA President David A. Keene told The Washington Times. "Those gun owners watching saw the threat to their rights firsthand. And we will do our level best at the NRA to see that those not watching will get the message before they vote."
For its ground game, the NRA hired 25 campaign field representatives in May to work the 13 swing states, and they have since recruited thousands of volunteers to make calls and visit gun shows, ranges and clubs. By Nov. 6, the group predicts it will have made more than 50 million mailers and phone calls for the election, about 55 percent for the presidential race and the rest for congressional seats.
In the last month of the race, the NRA will spend about $1.5 million a week on TV and up to $1 million on Web video ads, bringing its total spending this cycle to between $20 million and $30 million. Within 48 hours of the debate, a new TV ad was on the air in Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio that shows then-Sen. Obama promising in 2008 that he won't take away anyone's guns.
The ad contrasts that statement with the president "stacking" the Supreme Court with anti-gun justices and his newly revealed second-term plans to renew the so-called assault-weapons ban. "Obama's even opened the door to a handgun ban," the announcer intones.
The gun grabbers aren't far behind. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he was starting his own super PAC and would spend $15 million to advance the anti-gun agenda.
"You're not going to beat the NRA overnight," hizzoner told the New York Times. "As you get going, people start realizing that there's a sane group of people out there that want them to do intelligent things, and that's where their support is going to come from."
He will dole out the campaign cash to candidates at all levels who support undoing the Second Amendment. He'll also run attack ads on candidates who advance gun rights.
As Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney battle it out in the swing states, many of those voters will happen to be outside, enjoying deer-hunting season. Mr. Bloomberg's money may help in some Northeastern congressional races, but states like Michigan and Ohio are chock-full of hunters who won't want to be disarmed by new laws that miss the target.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
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