Well, that was quick. Pointless, but quick

Yesterday, I asked Senator Obama to support Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s efforts to pressure Senator Harry Reid to bring H.R. 6842 up for a Senate vote. I did so with exactly zero expectation that Obama would sign the letter–the intent was simply to highlight the contrast between reality and Obama’s relentless efforts to convince gun owners that he’s on our side.

To my surprise, I have already received a reply.

Dear Kurt:

Thank you for contacting me regarding gun policy. I appreciate hearing your perspective on this important issue.

I respect the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership. But I am also concerned about the human consequences of guns falling into the wrong hands and being misused. I do not find objectionable the goal of keeping firearms out of the hands of children, terrorists, gang members and criminals in general. The question for me is how to best accomplish that goal without abridging the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and other legitimate gun owners. As I consider gun legislation, I will work to find the appropriate balance between these two objectives.

For example, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), in response to complaints about the confiscation of firearms during the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, offered an amendment that would prohibit such confiscations in areas hit by natural disaster. I voted with Senator Vitter on this amendment. On the other hand, I support the re-imposition of the ban on the sale of assault weapons that expired in September 2004 because I believe these guns are used primarily for criminal rather than sporting intent. I also support requiring gun manufacturers to install child safety locks on all of their products.

Again, I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. I do not believe that these two principles – the individual right and the rights of a community to maintain public safety – are contradictory.

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court endorsed that same view. Although it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe.

Anyone who lives in a large urban center like Chicago is aware of the terrible toll gun violence is taking on American society. As a statewide elected official who has traveled our state extensively, I appreciate how strongly sportsmen, hunters and collectors feel about their rights to own firearms. But I am convinced we can more aggressively attack the problem of gun violence without interfering with the rights of responsible gun owners.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to keeping in touch.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Nothing like breaking one’s fast on canned . . . nothing, is there?

Anyway, I’ll take that as a “No” to my request that he sign the letter.


One Response to “Well, that was quick. Pointless, but quick”

  1. Snowflakes in Hell » Obama Lies About Guns Says:

    […] got a response from Barack Obama’s Senate Office about guns: On the other hand, I support the re-imposition of the ban on the sale of assault weapons that […]

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