Down the Rabbit Hole With Fox News’ Latest Obama Gun Conspiracy
Down the Rabbit Hole With Fox News’ Latest Obama Gun Conspiracy
By: Sarah Jones
July 22nd, 2012
Wondering why you can’t go anywhere without bumping into a ranting, screaming crazy person nattering on about Obama taking their freedom away? It’s Fox acid.
Come down the rabbit hole with a recent Fox News article titled, “UN gun control treaty will reveal gun laws Obama really supports” to break down the anatomy of the Fox News Obama’s coming for our guns lie. Turns out, the very narrow ledge of “reality” they preach over is buttressed on nada but “feelings” that lead to vague conspiracy theories.
John Lott starts off badly with these faulty assertions:
The Obama administration is undoubtedly the most hostile administration to gun ownership in US history, with Obama having personally supported bans of handguns and semi-automatic weapons before becoming president. And remember the recent scandal where the Obama administration was caught allowing guns go to Mexican drug gangs, hoping it would help push for gun control laws.
Okay, so wow. If you believed all of that, you’d be paranoid too.
Trouble is, this is a lie upon a lie upon a lie. The first link “proving” Obama is the most hostile administration on gun ownership goes to a John Lott blog post titled, “President Obama’s Anti-Gun Agenda Shows No Sign of Stopping.” Only Lott shows no signs of Obama’s actual policy-based anti-gun agenda. He can’t show policy because it’s not true.
To get a quote to back up his “I know what Obama really wants to do” allegations, Lott links to page 3 of an article at Washington Post. Here he uses this Sarah Brady recollection of the President speaking to her in a meeting. She says Obama said to her, “I just want you to know that we are working on [gun control]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar,” to prove his accusation that the President has the worst record on gun control. So, a second hand quote is the equivalent of policy in Lott’s mind. Peer harder. Nope. There isn’t more than that.
Lott must have missed the first sentence on page 3 that reads “But in Obama’s Washington, national trauma does not lead inevitably to reform.” The WaPo article continues with a list of Obama’s gun regulation stances and notes, “Since taking office, the president has done none of that, and before the midterm elections, he shelved a proposal requiring gun dealers to report bulk sales of high-powered semiautomatic rifles. In his State of the Union address, just weeks after the Giffords shooting in January, Obama made no mention of guns.”
Did Lott not read the article? His Sarah Brady quote does exist. So this is a nugget of gold for the truffle sniffing conspiracy theorist. However, Lott left out a quote of Sarah Brady pointing out that even Dick Cheney agreed:
In the meeting, she said, Obama discussed how records get into the system and what can be done about firearms retailers. Her husband specifically brought up the proposed ban on large magazine clips, and she noted that even former vice president Dick Cheney had suggested that some restrictions on the clips might make sense.
If Sarah Brady’s recollection of Obama’s words are to be taken at face value, then so must her words on Dick Cheney, and if Dick Cheney agreed, than the Obama administration can’t be the worst ever when it comes to “feelings”. See, if we can judge a policy record on feelings (and we can’t, but we are because we’re down the Fox hole), then Cheney’s feelings count too.
In fact, the entire WaPo article is about how, and I quote, “Democrats have no plans for serious gun-control initiatives”. But Lott found his one quote to buttress his paranoia and quickly moved on, satisfied that he had “proven” that the Obama administration is the most hostile gun rights administration ever in our history.
Lott then claims he know the President personally feels about guns, because he personally supported bans – but this, too, is a bust, for it links to another Lott article written in 2008, before Obama was President, in which Lott says Obama “nodded his head yes” to a question about a DC ban.
No, seriously. He nodded.
Another charge, “He (Obama) also opposed letting people use a self-defense argument if charged with violating local handgun bans by using weapons in their homes.” Yes, Obama did this, because they were violating an existing law. It’s called being a constitutional law professor.
FactCheck already busted the NRA on this lie back in 2008 at the same time as Lott was spreading it (his arguments read like an NRA flier):
The NRA bases this overheated claim on a vote Obama cast on March 24, 2004, in the Illinois state Senate. He was one of 20 who opposed SB 2165. That bill, which passed 38 – 20 and became law, did not make it a crime to use firearms for self-defense, however. Rather, it created a loophole for persons caught violating local gun registration laws.
Not once does Lott link to an actual policy the President has tried to push to regulate or reform guns laws. He can’t; there aren’t any. He could have linked to the expansion of gun laws under Obama, but on this topic, Lott is silent.
Lott’s attacks on Obama’s gun positions echo the NRA’s, which have been fact checked repeatedly and found false. In 2008, FactCheck found: “A National Rifle Association advertising campaign distorts Obama’s position on gun control beyond recognition. ”FactCheck notes that instead of facts, “the NRA, however, simply dismisses Obama’s stated position as “rhetoric” and substitutes its own interpretation of his record as a secret “plan.” Said an NRA spokesman: “We believe our facts.”
Yes, they believe their feelings are “facts” down that Fox hole.
FactCheck continues, “Perhaps so, but believing something doesn’t make it so. And we find the NRA has cherry-picked, twisted and misrepresented Obama’s record to come up with a bogus “plan.”"
Indeed. Lott further justifies his position based on the conspiracy theory that the Fast and Furious faux scandal was all about Obama wanting to use gunrunning to ban guns. You recall Fast and Furious scandal, wherein suddenly NRA conservatives cared about a gun death and it was the gun not the people who killed people. Well, Lott doubled down on that crazy conspiracy. This is seriously warped thinking. A conspiracy based upon a conspiracy, which is based upon their own policies! We descend further down the hole.
The entire reason the Fast and Furious guns could be sold and arrests couldn’t be made was due to the exceptionally lax gun laws in Arizona, according to the ATF officials actually involved. Those laws are courtesy of conservatives and the NRA, so they are afraid of the result of their own policies. Talk about crazy.
The fear drums are far from over. Lott warns that this treaty holds dire consequences for Americans, because even though it won’t be passed by the US Senate, “ratification is just a matter of time until a left-wing government takes over.”
Never mind that the treaty is aimed at keeping guns from the hands of rebels and terrorists – and if a Republican were in office, Fox would be preaching going along and giving up all of your freedoms willingly lest you lose your patriotism sticker in your hesitation to bow down without asking any questions. I can see the Dixie Chicks down here.
Lott’s entire argument consists of fill in the blanks, assign a motive, and ad hominem style “Obama feels” this way and thus, these are “our facts”. It’s murky, unstable, and if you believed it all, you’d qualify as crazy because it’s quite simply untrue that this President “is the most hostile administration to gun ownership in U.S. history.” False.
The truth is found in the policy. When Democrats say Republicans are waging a war on women, a mountain of actual legislation they’ve proposed proves this accusation. Whereas, the President and the Democrats have done nothing policy wise to push gun control. Again, the President has expanded gun rights. So it’s irrelevant how he feels about the issue. The issue is how does he govern.
Although it’s sadly irrelevant, the truth of how Obama “feels” about gun laws is probably found here, in this 2003 statement:
Obama: While a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable, I believe reasonable restrictions on the sale and possession of handguns are necessary to protect the public safety. In the Illinois Senate last year, I supported a package of bills to limit individual Illinoisans to purchasing one handgun a month; require all promoters and sellers at firearms shows to carry a state license; allow civil liability for death or injuries caused by handguns; and require FOID applicants to apply in person. I would support similar efforts at the federal level, including retaining the Brady Law.”
There’s an important difference between Lott’s conspiracy oriented, feeble crystal ball reading of Obama’s “future intentions” and real policy. It’s called reality.
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