Friday, May 22, 2009

There is one thing that can be said of President Obama with certainty — his election has had a phenomenal effect on gun sales.

Across the country, ammunition prices are soaring and many guns are in short supply as weapons fly off the shelves at stores. This is a telling economic indicator about consumer confidence as many Americans stock up for fear that the end is nigh. It’s also a logical reaction to gun-owner fears that Democrats will implement far-reaching new gun controls. There is cause for concern. Leaders in the Obama administration and Congress have stated that they plan to limit what guns Americans can buy and that guns should be registered.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Feb. 25 that, “As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi poured fuel on the fire five weeks later by admitting that Democrats want to register guns. “It’s a Democratic president, a Democratic House,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “We don’t want to take their guns away. We want them registered.”

The gun controllers are at odds with public opinion. Despite Americans constantly being bombarded with attacks on guns by an anti-gun media, Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, notes that “Attitudes toward gun control have become more conservative, people not wanting gun control.” A Gallup poll released April 8 shows that only 29 percent of Americans support banning handguns. According to Gallup, “the latest reading is the smallest percentage favoring a handgun ban since Gallup first polled on this nearly 50 years ago.”

Popular support for the Second Amendment isn’t lost on all congressional Democrats. On May 12, 27 Senate Democrats voted with 39 Republicans to end a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying legal firearms in national parks. The amendment was attached to unrelated legislation to regulate credit cards. The same tactic was used Feb. 26 when an amendment striking down most of the District’s gun-control laws was attached to a Senate bill giving the District a vote in Congress. Twenty-two Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, voted for this amendment, which passed 62-36.

It’s too early to celebrate Democratic respect for gun rights. Some Senate Democrats who voted for the national park amendment complained that they were painted into a corner on the issue. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, the party’s chief vote counter, told National Public Radio last week that they were concerned about “how many more times they’d have to face such votes.” Democrats are torn between their constituents’ support for gun rights and an Obama administration committed to gun control.

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