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Gun Owners' Guide to the 2012 Election

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
This week, the picture is finally complete. First, the Obama White House decided to leap headfirst into the gun control debate. Then came the response from Congress, which is far more interested in investigating the "Fast and Furious" scandal, in which federal agents allowed thousands of guns to be "walked" into Mexico and furnished to drug cartels. And now the final piece: President Barack Obama has filed his papers to run for re-election.

That in a nutshell is all gun owners need to know about the 2012 presidential election. After two years of avoiding the gun control debate (and violating his own campaign promises to push for additional restrictions), Obama finally is showing his true colors on this important issue. Let's not forget that this is the same candidate who once espoused a total ban on handguns and more recently supported a nationwide ban on right-to-carry laws. And if he couldn't get that done, he said he would support increasing the taxes on guns and ammunition by 500 percent. Now he is trying to be measured about his gun control objectives, using vague and gauzy rhetoric that his handlers hope will be difficult to hang around his neck.

But can there be any doubt that during a second term, Obama would unleash the full power of the presidency toward destroying our Second Amendment rights? He already has appointed two Supreme Court justices who are now on record opposing the opinions that confirm that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. And those opinions both came down on the thinnest possible margin, 5-4. If even one justice retires or otherwise departs from the court, Obama will have a clear path to install another opponent of our freedoms and tip the balance against us.


Meanwhile, unbelievably, even while the White House pursues new restrictions on our rights, the bureaucratic apparatus of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been allowing known smugglers to arm drug cartels in Mexico. By encouraging honest gun dealers to consummate the sales of thousands of guns to shady characters and then allowing the smugglers to move the guns into Mexico unimpeded, one of our own federal law enforcement agencies has been fueling cartel violence in Mexico. These shocking revelations have been brought forward by courageous whistle-blowers in ATF field offices, and the official reaction has been to divert attention and stonewall all inquiries. But the diversion tactics haven't worked; even mainstream media outlets are catching on to this appalling scandal.

But the stonewalling continues. Congressional investigators gave the ATF until March 30 to turn over the documents they requested. But the deadline flew by, ignored in flagrant bureaucratic defiance. Now the heat is really on because the ATF defied the one committee that can do something about it. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued a subpoena for the documents it is seeking. Officials at the ATF will have to furnish the requested documents and appear in person to answer questions or risk their own incarceration. How bitterly ironic is that? These are the guys who are supposed to be enforcing our laws, not being jailed for their contempt of them.


Some observers of this scandal believe that these documents will confirm the darkest suspicions over "Fast and Furious" -- that the illicit gun smuggling was allowed and encouraged in order to drive up the number of guns recovered in Mexico that could be traced back to U.S. gun stores. Anyone interested in driving up those numbers could have only one reason: to justify new restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.

Finally, this past week saw the official filing of papers for the Obama re-election campaign. Decidedly de-emphasized by the White House, this moment nonetheless marks a turning point in the administration. Now the accounting begins.

The Obama machine is detecting a profound buyer's remorse in the ranks of its original supporters -- and who could blame them? This president campaigned to end the war in Iraq, but now he's started a new one in Libya. He campaigned to close down Guantanamo, but now he's cleared the way for accused terrorists there to face military tribunals. He campaigned to push for more gun control but didn't bother until it was evident that his administration instead was defying international law and arming drug cartels. About the only thing this president promised and did force through was a massive nationalization of health care, but now he's handing out waivers to political cronies so they don't have to comply.


Despite all this, Obama could easily win re-election as it stands today. And he will be spending the next year and a half working feverishly to guarantee this result. It may well be that the best strategy to defeat him is to ask his supporters whether they have gotten what they bargained for.

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