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Fact-Checking FactCheck. Org on Obama and Guns

FactCheck. org doesn't think much of the NRA's ads criticizing Obama.

They are, sadly, way off base. This is, presumably,one of the reasons why Stuart Taylor Jr. of the National Journal declared he "no longer trust the major newspapers or television networks to provide consistently accurate and fair reporting and analysis of all the charges and countercharges." He's got good reason.

For starters, FactCheck. org takes Obama at his word that he "believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms." Many gun owners are not so willing to give the benefit of the doubt, as Obama spent most of his adult life in a city with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, and, according to every record of the past 20 years, never uttered a word of objection. If a candidate claimed that he strongly opposed legal gambling, and yet lived in Las Vegas for 20 years, voters would be understandably skeptical.

Obama voted against a bill that declared that "in any Illinois municipality where gun registration is required it shall be an "affirmative defense" if the person accused of violating the registration requirement can show that the weapon was used "in an act of self-defense or defense of another ... when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business." FactCheck says, "Letting the owner of an unregistered firearm escape the penalty for failing to register is one thing, but it's another thing entirely to make it a crime to use any firearm – registered or not – in self-defense."

No, that's precisely it — local law had already made it illegal for Hale DeMar to own and use the handgun that he used to protect himself from a burglar. State lawmakers sought to change that; Obama opposed them.

If you see that vote as supporting "a right to own a handgun in self-defense", then you can see any position in any vote.

FactCheck is particularly sloppy by taking Kennedy at his word that an amendment offered in 2005 that would ban "armor piercing" bullets, but was not meant to ban hunting ammunition. As Dave Kopel laid out in detail, the amendment changed an existing ban on "armor piercing bullets" measured by the content of the bullet to a penetration standard.

Instead of a penetration standard (which would ban most rifle ammunition), a content standard was adopted. The sale or import of handgun ammunition with a significant amount of steel, titanium, or other metal core was outlawed.

The Kennedy amendment refers to rifle ammunition that has more penetrating capability than "standard" ammunition of the same caliber. In other words, a bureaucrat could decide that "standard" ammunition in a certain caliber has a certain weight and velocity, and any round with a greater weight or velocity could be administratively prohibited.

Existing law is designed to ban armor-piercing bullets while ensuring that hunting ammunition was kept legal; Kennedy's amendment, despite his claims of what he meant to do, would have opened the door, and perhaps even required banning most rifle ammunition.

On the third charge, that Obama supports a ban on handguns, FactCheck writes:

Spencer TN
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9/20/2008

Barack Obama's out with a new radio ad designed to deceive hunters, sportsmen and gun owners. The ad claims that gun owners have nothing to worry about, that as president Obama would not affect their Second Amendment rights.

Of course, the ad doesn't mention that Obama supports things like a ban on handguns, an extension of the Clinton Gun Ban, a 500 percent increase in taxes on firearms and ammunition, a ban on the most common hunting ammunition, a ban on gun stores located within five miles of a school or a park, and prosecuting people who use a gun for self-defense in their home.

The ad also doesn't mention the millions of dollars Obama steered towards gun-control groups when he was a member of the Joyce Foundation's board of directors, or his lack of support for increased penalties for those convicted of shooting near a public school.

That's Obama's real record, and that's why he can't tell America’s sportsmen and gun owners the truth.

Spencer TN
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The House today passed a bill that would scrap almost all locally imposed gun control rules in the District, voting 266 to 152 on a measure that goes well beyond a recent Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of the city's residents to own handguns.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where its future is uncertain. With just over a week to go in the legislative session, the Senate might not have the time, or the votes, to pass the law. The White House has said that it backs the measure.

The bill would severely limit city officials' ability to enact any future measure that goes beyond the firearms restrictions in federal law. The House acted a day after the D.C. Council passed its own emergency legislation that lifted some of the restrictions that gun rights advocates found objectionable.

The House bill was introduced by Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) after the Supreme Court struck down the city's 32-year-old handgun ban in June. The Supreme Court found that the city's law was so restrictive that it violated the Second Amendment.

The House bill would abolish the city's gun registration requirements and allow residents to own semiautomatic pistols and rifles. It also would allow District residents to buy guns in Virginia and Maryland and would prohibit the council from taking any action to "discourage or eliminate" private ownership or use of firearms.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) made a futile, last-ditch attempt to head off the bill. But more than 50 Democrats added their signatures to the measure, which also had broad Republican support, clearing the way for easy approval.

"We have a result that was perhaps inevitable, but it was a fight that was important to make," Norton said today. She added that she has gotten commitments from several senators to help fight the bill in that chamber.

Some legislators accused lawmakers of pushing the bill to curry favor with the National Rifle Association and gain political advantage in the November election.

After the Supreme Court ruling, the District set up a registration process for revolvers. But it continued to ban most magazine-loaded semiautomatic pistols and required that handguns be kept unloaded in homes and either disassembled or fitted with trigger locks when not being used in self-defense.

The D.C. Council voted without debate Tuesday to allow ownership of semiautomatics and to permit handgun owners to keep their weapons loaded and unlocked in their homes. But the vote had little impact on the House today.

Spencer TN
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WASHINGTON — The House moved Wednesday to compel the nation's capital to broaden the rights of its residents to buy and own firearms, including semiautomatic weapons.

Critics, led by the District of Columbia's sole delegate to Congress, decried the action. They said the vote tramples on the District's rights to govern itself and could endanger both residents and political dignitaries who so often travel across the city.

But the National Rifle Association-backed bill passed easily, 266-152, with supporters saying they were determined to give D.C. residents the same Second Amendment right of self-defense that has been available to other Americans.

Many of those speaking for the bill in debate that went well into the night Tuesday were conservative Democrats from rural districts that strongly support gun rights. Eighty-five Democrats voted for the bill.

"Number one, I'm a pro-gun Democrat," said Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark. "Number 2, if the government of the District of Columbia can take your guns away from you in our nation's capital, Prescott, Arkansas, and many other small towns across the country could be next."

The legislation is unlikely to be taken up in the Senate in the few remaining weeks of this session, but it served both to give lawmakers a pro-gun vote shortly before the election and demonstrate the continuing political clout of the NRA.

The bill, sponsored by Mississippi freshman Democrat Travis Childers, repeals the District's semiautomatic handgun ban and overturns D.C. law requiring that firearms kept in the home be locked up and inoperable. It allows D.C. residents to purchase guns from federally licensed dealers in Maryland and Virginia and repeals what critics claimed were burdensome registration requirements.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote last June, ruled that the 32-year-old District ban on handgun possession violated Second Amendment rights to bear arms. The D.C. Council responded the next month with a temporary measure allowing possession of unloaded weapons in homes but keeping the ban on semiautomatics.

On Tuesday the council went further, voting to allow residents to own most semiautomatic pistols and removing the requirement that weapons be stored unloaded and disassembled or secured with trigger locks.

That wasn't enough for the NRA and its congressional allies, which accused the council of trying to defy the Supreme Court ruling.

"This Congress has lost faith in the willingness of the District of Columbia to defend the Second Amendment," said Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind.

But nonvoting Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said Congress was violating the District's home rule rights by imposing federal dictates, something it would do to no other American city. "The House has the gall to ask for a vote to nullify the gun laws in my district, depriving my district of the right to protect itself and visitors like yourselves while denying me a vote on this floor on passage. Have you no shame?"

Norton unsuccessfully tried to move a bill that would have merely given the District 180 days to come up with new regulations complying with the Supreme Court ruling. The White House opposed that approach and supported the Childers measure, saying it would "immediately advance Second Amendment principles."

"I ask Congress, leave us alone and let us do our job," D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz said Tuesday.

Spencer TN
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Erroneous Claim of the Day: Obama’s Good on 2nd Amendment Rights. No, Really! Ben Smith has details of a new pro-Obama ad focused on the topic of… the 2nd amendment and gun rights. Seriously—a pro-Obama ad on these topics! The ad is apparently narrated by Ray Schoenke of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (see what Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign says about them here). And, not surprisingly, it neglects to mention that Obama received an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund not once, not twice, but three times: in 2004, 2002 and 1998. Similarly, it neglects to mention various items of evidence strongly supporting the conclusion that Obama thought the DC handgun ban (which the Supreme Court, er, took issue with recently) was, uh, constitutional. It’s not tough to argue that Obama is the most anti-gun presidential candidate in US history

Destin FL
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Sure, good idea, Liberals first...LOL

Destin FL
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I thought about that TB, but I was trying to maintain the separation of church and state. Flower Power! As Jimmi Hendrix plays the Star Spangled Banner in the background....

Reno NV
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I prefer Kumbaya...;-)

San Diego CA
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I think that the world would be a nicer place if all of you nasty "gun people" would just throw down your arms, grab a flower....then form a huge circle, hold hands and sing "Smile On Your brother".

Only then can we really assure our well being and pursuit of happiness. We'll get Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny to help hang the "gun free zone" signs.

Reno NV
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no biggie fun, I was sure you just read it wrong.

Willis TX
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TOPIC: Guns Guns and More Guns
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