Obama: ‘I Am Constrained By A System That Our Founders Put In Place’
President Obama said that the Constitutional system that he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend constrains his ability to tackle gun control. He’s right — that’s how it was designed.
While Obama hedges his language about a document the Constitutional scholar once said was ‘deeply flawed,’ it is clear that he wishes he could ‘do more’ to carry out his vision of a perfect world — one where the only people with guns work for the state. From CBS News:
“I believe there doesn’t have to be a conflict in reconciling these realities,” Obama said in Denver, where he stepped up his call for background checks for all gun purchases and renewed his demand that Congress at least vote on banning assault weapons and limiting access to large-capacity ammunition magazines.
“There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights,” he said.
Obama projects into the minds of his audience a ‘reality’ where citizens are relatively disarmed, there is never any murder, and the government doesn’t abuse the rights of the citizenry.
This facile portrayal ignores the historical and international record; whether we are talking about there being no worldwide correlation between gun control and total homicide rates; the violent crime rate going down in the U.S. 73% since the 1970s as gun ownership has gone up; or the negligible effect of the first Assault Weapons Ban in 1994.
Nonetheless, the president wants to see universal background checks, and argued that it is ‘over the top’ to claim that elected governments would ever take away guns.
You hear some of these quotes, “I need a gun to protect myself from the government.” “We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.” [Pause] The government is us. These officials are elected by you. I am elected by you. I am constrained. They are constrained, by a system that our Founders put in place. It’s a government of and by and for the people. … So surely we can have a debate that’s not based on the notion that somehow your elected representatives are trying to do something to you other than potentially prevent another group of families from grieving …
We’ve got to get past some of the rhetoric that gets perpetuated that breaks down trust and is so over the top that it just shuts down all of the discussion. It’s important for all of us, when hear that kind of talk, to say “hold on a second.” If there are any folks who are out there right now who are gun owners and you’ve been hearing that the government is taking away your guns. Get the facts. We’re not proposing a gun registration system. We’re proposing background checks for criminals.
If one might provide just a brief list of counter-factuals:
- Exhibit A: National registry precedes gun confiscation in Canada.
- Exhibit B: National registry precedes gun confiscation in Britain.
- Exhibit C: National registry precedes gun confiscation in New Zealand & Australia
- Exhibit D: Russia completely disarms populace and its current homicide rate is four times America’s.
As far as there being ‘nothing to fear’ from the government, one should say that to the some 250 million victims of murder-by-government in the twentieth century.
This is, after all, coming from the same U.S. government that promised transparency, but is widely recognized to operate in the shadows. It is the same government responsible for running guns to Mexican drug cartels under Fast & Furious, resulting in hundreds of murders (this is not seriously in dispute).
It is the same administration that could care less about the murder of an ambassador and three others in Benghazi; and meanwhile lied about the terrorist attack being caused by a video and subsequent protest. It is the same administration that asks citizens to sacrifice rights in the name of security; but hesitates and even refuses to call clear cases of terrorism what they are — like Benghazi and Fort Hood – all the while humiliating women and children at airports in the name of fighting ‘terrorism.’
One wishes that Democrats would get it straight. Is government run by the one-percenters, like President Obama and his associates, or is the government “us”? Because pure democracy is the great lie of demagogues who promise the masses everything their hearts desire — a world free from violence, a nation without real work or want — but vault themselves to the heights of power, meanwhile gutting electoral processes, the rule of law, and individual freedom.
Without the balance of fear brought about by an armed populace, the government will even more flagrantly disregard the will of the people. When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny. That observation is as true today as it has ever been; and the arrival of just another politician promising hope and change, but delivering disaster after disaster, doesn’t change that reality.
UPDATE: The following is a video that draws on 2008 debate footage of then-candidate Barack Obama saying government can ‘constrain’ the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Remarkably, Obama employs the same ‘two realities’ language that he used in his speech in Denver this week.