Will Obama Pass More Gun Control?

In the New York Times, we read:

A week has passed since J. J. Vicari huddled underneath a desk while gunshots exploded in the classroom next door. Now he is thinking about guns. Not about tightening gun laws, as President Obama urged after nine people were killed at the community college here. But about buying one for himself.

“It’s opened my eyes,” said Mr. Vicari, 19. “I want to have a gun in the house to protect myself, to protect the people I’m with. I’m sure I’ll have a normal life and never have to go through anything like this, but I want to be sure.”

Mr. Obama plans to visit Roseburg on Friday to meet the grieving families of yet another gun rampage, but many people here are bristling at his renewed call for stricter gun laws. In some ways, the rampage at the college by a 26-year-old student, Christopher Harper-Mercer, has actually tightened the embrace of guns in a rural town where shots at rifle ranges echo off the hills and hunters shoot deer and elk through the fall. Some families touched by the violence and students who fled gunfire said they now feared that the kind of bloodshed seen inside Classroom 15 of Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College could happen anywhere. Some said they were planning to buy guns. Others said they would seek concealed-weapons permits. Others, echoing gun advocates’ calls for more weapons on campus, said the college should allow its security guards to carry guns. A few said they thought that stricter gun control laws could have averted the massacre.

Before delving into the issue at hand, let’s just get this out of the way: Obama is a lame duck. He has entered that magical time in a man’s 2nd presidential term in which he basically ceases to have any further political clout. This is not always the case. Some presidents remain potent to the very end. But most do not. Most presidencies begin with a bang and end with a whimper. Obama’s administration is looking no different.

Obama’s 2nd term has had zero major policy victories. His only major political victory period has been Obamacare, which was mostly Nancy Pelosi’s doing anyway. Most people could not name anything else that Obama has accomplished politically.

By this time, I think Obama is sick of being President. I really believe this. I think he pines for the days of 2008 when he was the political darling of America. He certainly does not have this kind of prestige anymore. I think this has led him to become somewhat disinterested in his office.

There are exceptions to that. Obama appears to care fervently about gun control. He hates the idea of private citizens owning firearms. He is aghast at the notion of people being able to rely on themselves for protection from criminals, rather than relying on the government. The very same day of the Oregon shooting, he released a heavily politicized statement denouncing private gun ownership and quickly made his way to Oregon in an attempt to cash in politically on a drive toward new federal gun regulations.

This elicited an interesting reaction from the citizens of Roseburg, Oregon. Some people, perhaps a majority, welcomed his visit. But many people did not. Many people, a sizable minority at least, flatly said “We don’t want you. Get out of here.” Over 6,000 locals signed a petition telling him to get lost.

I sincerely doubt Obama is going to be able to push through any significant federal gun laws. If he could’ve, it would’ve happened after Sandy Hook. It didn’t happen. He couldn’t get it through Congress. And that was even before Republicans controlled Congress. The public on-the-whole is simply not supportive.

The Thomé General Political Theory (or TGPT, for short) regarding American politics is this: there is always a hardcore 20% on one side of an issue, a hardcore 20% on the other side, and the remaining 60% somewhere in the middle. In this case, something like 20% of the electorate is hardcore towards gun ownership rights. On the other hand, 20% is hardcore against private gun ownership and wants to ban it. The middling 60% muddles along for some time, unsure of what they want. Allegiances wibble here. They wobble there. The hardcore 20-percenters each try to convince the middle to come their way. Eventually, something gives way. Unfortunately for the anti-gun 20%, the middle has given way toward gun ownership; not in a massive watershed, but slowly and surely. Gun laws nationwide are less strict than they were 20 years ago, for the most part. Support for gun ownership is higher than it was 20 years ago.

I think Obama is contemptuous of the public. This falls in line with Progressive political belief, which thinks that the public needs wise Ph.D.-holding bureaucrats and politicians to provide guidance to society and tell us what’s good for us. Progressives become upset when the public refuses to be guided by their innate wisdom. This is why Obama has threatened to take action by Executive Order to curb gun ownership in America. If he can’t get the public to accept his innate wisdom of their own free will, then he’ll force them to accept it, goddamnit.

Problem: I doubt that will work. Once again, if he really had an ace up his sleeve, he would’ve played it after Sandy Hook. I think he’s bluffing. Also, Executive Orders are not permanent; any subsequent President can repeal an Executive Order. They just issue a new Order repealing the old one. So even if he were to use Executive Orders against ownership, it would only give the current GOP candidates ammo (the pun is always intended) to use for their 2016 campaigns. All they have to do is pledge to repeal Obama’s Executive Orders in order to galvanize a huge amount of support. This will be a detriment to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I am not sure that is a step that Obama is willing to take.

Obama, in my opinion, is becoming a little ragged around the edges. He sounds deeply bitter and frustrated in his recent statements regarding gun control. Part of this is that I believe he really does hate private gun ownership; but I think there’s also more to it. I think he wants to stake part of his presidential legacy on gun control, which is one of the Holy Grails of the political left-wing. He wants to be known as the Indiana Jones of the Left who finally acquired the Holy Grail of extensive federal gun regulation. Instead, he’s been more like the other guy who selected the wrong grail to drink from and shriveled up into a useless pulp. He doesn’t want to be a useless pulp. But useless pulps rarely have say in the matter.

Conclusion: Obama is not a long-term threat to gun ownership rights. Today is a good day to be free.

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