President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday was carefully staged to promote his gun-grabbing second-term agenda. Arrangements were made so TV cameras would pan to the faces of victims of gun violence in the House galleries. Emotional drama, as opposed to reasoned argument, is the primary weapon in the administration’s campaign to undermine a fundamental constitutional right.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the outfit funded by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, worked with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Rep. James R. Langevin of Rhode Island, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York and others to pack the chamber with victims.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi invited activists, including a fourth-grader from Newtown, Conn., who started a petition, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and anti-gun crooner Tony Bennett. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, were invited as part of their new organization’s push to nullify the Second Amendment.
First lady Michelle Obama asked a first-grade teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School and the parents of a Chicago teenager who was shot in Chicago to sit in her box.
National Rifle Association President David Keene saw the effort to stack the audience as a way to distract the public from real issues, such as the revolving door on our criminal justice system. “The willingness of the president and his allies to so brazenly exploit the victims of violence to achieve their ideological and political goals strikes me as both over the top and, shall I say it, tasteless,” he told The Washington Times.
The victims from Chicago called for gun control as part of a tearful news conference with a hundred others, even though the Windy City already enacted every law on the gun-grabbers’ wish list. As Mr. Keene noted, that’s the problem. “These are not firearms victims, but the victims of criminals and irresponsible politicians so obsessed with stripping honest citizens of their rights that they forget about the monsters they could keep off the streets if they wanted to,” he said.
Pro-gun members didn’t set up an organized effort to counterbalance the show, but Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, did invite rock ‘n’ roll legend Ted Nugent to the speech. “I am a concerned U.S. citizen and wish to represent the side of logic and honesty at the State of the Union,” Mr. Nugent told The Washington Times.
Mr. Nugent, a member of the NRA board of directors, added the use of victims in the speech was “a typical manipulation by the Chicago ACORN community scammer-in-chief and outright despicable.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found 55 percent of voters wanted the president to focus his address on the economy and deficit, while only 15 percent wanted to hear more about gun policy. The White House follows polls closely, so it confined Mr. Obama’s obsession with gun control to a smaller section of the speech.
However, his anti-gun allies made up for the lack of words from the dais with drama in the galleries. A nation’s laws should not be written based on feelings, but on facts based on research and experience. We don’t need any more gun laws from Washington.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.