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President Obama’s Biggest Failure: Gun Control

President Obama was recently quoted as saying to Fareed Zakaria that his biggest failure was his inability to impose gun control on the United States. It was a bridge too far. Even the leadership of the Republican Party, who had done little to seriously oppose President Obama’s agenda, feared the backlash from the voters more than they feared the establishment media.  Enough politicians feared the clout of  gun culture voters to stop the irrational bills fueled by raw emotion. That is not the way President Obama saw it. From washingtonexaminer.com:

“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws,” Obama told Fareed Zakaria in the TV special, “The Legacy of Barack Obama.”

Despite national anger following mass shootings throughout his two terms, Obama was unable to convince Congress to pass legislation that would change those policies, including enhancing background checks and not selling firearms at gun shows and other venues.

Obama was adamant in the days following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn., that he had done all he could to keep the U.S. afloat in the midst of other challenges, including the auto and bank bailout, and did not have the support to push a controversial gun bill now. Obama’s frustration prompted him to take executive action in January 2016.

President Obama has left a lasting legacy in the gun culture.  There are some loose ends to wrap up before we know the full extent of that legacy.

Investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal, where the administration facilitated the transfer of thousands of semi-automatic rifles and pistols to Mexican drug cartels, has been delayed and stymied by the Obama administration at every turn. It is unknown if a Trump administration working with a Republican Congress, will be willing to dive into a full blown investigation.  They may not have much choice; a lawsuit is in progress.

There is the increased homicide rate, primarily with firearms, that is part of the Ferguson effect. The repeated bashing of police and fostering the false narrative of Black Lives Matter, has resulted in a serious spike in police homicides and in doubling of the homicide rate in several cities around the country where police have shied away from vigorous enforcement of the law.  In Baltimore, in Chicago, in Milwaukee, the homicide rates have skyrocketed.

There is the mini spike in suicides with guns, particularly with older white males, who saw their jobs and careers and medical insurance all wither and disappear under Obama’s policies. True, the rate of suicide increased much faster than the rate of gun sales, but it clearly did increase.  For the first time in decades, the expected lifespan of a large group of Americans declined.

This brings us to the third, and greatest legacy of President Obama on Guns. No one can deny it. No one even tries. President Obama has been the greatest gun salesman on planet earth, ever.  No one is even close. Hitler did not come close. Neither did Stalin, or Mao. President Johnson was a piker in comparison.

Under President Obama, Gun sales in in the United States broke record after record. In this last year and a half along, each month has been the record month for 19 consecutive months. On Black Friday alone, enough guns were sold to private parties in the United States to outfit the entire Marine Corps.

Under President Obama, the private stock of firearms in the United States will have increased from about 308 million to over 405 million firearms. The ammunition industry has had to add new plants to keep up with the demand for ammunition. Record numbers of women and minorities have become gun owners. The number of carry permits for weapons has surpassed 15 million.  The number of states the do not require a permit to carry a firearm, openly or
concealed, has increased from three to eleven, and more seem on the way.  Four states were added in 2016 alone.

While many factors were involved in the election of President Elect Trump, one of the strongest policy differences between him and Candidate Clinton, was their policy on guns. Trump vigorously defended the Second Amendment. Clinton vigorously pushed for more infringements, following President Obama’s lead.

President Obama can be justly proud of his appellation as the Greatest Gun Salesman.  It will be a long time before anyone ever comes close.  It may never happen.  The gun culture correctly fought against President Obama, with considerable cost in time and treasure. But they can thank the Greatest Gun Salesman.  In this regard, he performed an enormous service for the United States.  President Obama may not desire the title, but he has earned it.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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