With a little more than 13 months remaining in his presidency, Barack Obama appears to have clearly focused on what he sees as a major concern for the United States, and said in an interview with GQ published yesterday that he hopes his effort becomes the “dominant issue of year eight.”
Was he talking about the Islamic State, which claims credit for last Friday’s massacre of helpless people, including at least one American college student, in Paris? Nope, his focus is on gun control, and in the interview he discussed taking executive action, which he wants to make sure is “as defensible as possible legally.” His remarks inspired stories in various publications, including The Gun Mag, the monthly publication owned by the Second Amendment Foundation that replaced Gun Week.
This comes as The Trumpet, a news magazine publication in Philadelphia, reported today that October saw a record number of background checks conducted by the FBI’s National Instant Check System. There were more than 1.9 million NICS checks last month, the highest number for any October in the 17-year NICS history.
Even when adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation for gun-related checks, it was still an impressive 1.2 million, a 3.1 percent increase over October 2014. The unadjusted figure, according to NSSF, equates to a 23.4 percent increase from the October 2014 unadjusted figure.
For a president who can’t bring himself to utter the term “Radical Islam,” Obama hasn’t been quite so tongue-tied when talking about gun control. His interview was with Bill Simmons, founder of Grantland and co-creator of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series.
“In the absence of a movement politically in which people say, ‘Enough is enough’,” the president said, as quoted by Simmons, “we’re going to continue to see, unfortunately, these tragedies take place. The main thing that I’ve been trying to communicate over the last several of these horrific episodes is that, contrary to popular belief, Americans are not more violent than people in other developed countries. But they have more deadly weapons to act out their rage, and that’s the only main variable that you see between the U.S. and these other countries.”
At last check, France was a developed country. This year, Paris has been the scene of the Charlie Hebdo attack, and now the Friday the 13th slaughter. Perhaps the president should ask some of the survivors of that horror whether they think the terrorists – at least one or two who may have been home-grown – had “more deadly weapons” and whether strict French gun control laws worked.
The other day, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter offered a curious perspective. He was quoted by the Associated Press observing, “Domestic terrorism is international terrorism…There is really no level of distinction between the violence that goes on, on the streets of America on a daily basis and the episodic acts of international terrorism that also take place – primarily in cities.”
If Nutter wants to call urban gun-toting thugs “terrorists,” that’s his business. If he wants to crack down on them, that may be a good start.
The problem comes when anti-gunners push measures that penalize honest citizens for the crimes of crack heads, street criminals and terrorists, and try to sell that to the American public as having accomplished something. All they really accomplish, as The Trumpet – quoting SAF founder Alan Gottlieb – pointed out, is increase gun sales.
As this column reported last night, applications for concealed pistol licenses in King County spiked Monday and Tuesday, according to Sheriff John Urquhart. Whether that was in reaction to Paris, or just a coincidence, remains to be seen.
Got an opinion about this column? Share your views in the “Comments” section below.