The Right Opinion

Will Obama Follow Cuomo's Example on Guns?

A storm gathers against the Second Amendment.

By Arnold Ahlert · Jan. 11, 2013

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joined the parade of progressives and their media apparatchiks looking to exploit the Newtown massacre. On Wednesday, in the part of his State of the State speech devoted to gun control, Cuomo urged the state legislature to enact the strictest gun laws in the nation. “Gun violence has been on a rampage as we know firsthand and as we know painfully," thundered the governor. "We must stop the madness, my friends. In one word, it’s just ‘enough.’ It has been enough. We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured.”

Such descriptions are in the eye of the beholder. What Cuomo outlined would give the Empire State the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. “Number 1: Enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, period!” he shouted. “Number two, close the private sale loophole by requiring federal background checks. Number three, ban high-capacity magazines. Number four, enact tougher penalties for illegal gun use, guns in school grounds and violent gangs. Number five, keep guns from people who are mentally ill. Number six, ban direct Internet sales of ammunition in New York. Number seven, create a state check on all ammunition purchases,” he added.

In a radio appearance on December 20, Cuomo attempted to emphasize the idea that he does not want to take away peoples' guns and that he himself is a gun owner. “My position is this…there is a balance here and I understand the rights of gun owners, I understand the rights of hunters,” he told radio host Fred Dickers. “As you know, I have a gun.” According to a spokesman for Cuomo, the governor bought a shotgun while he was Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary from 1997 until 2001. Cuomo once used it for hunting, but stopped using it once he became governor. It currently sits in a locked case with a trigger lock on the gun itself.

Thus, it came as little surprise that Cuomo chose to address that particular aspect of gun ownership to make his case on Wednesday. “No one hunts with an assault rifle,” he shouted. No one needs ten bullets to kill a deer! Too many innocent people have died already! End the madness now!“

This is utter sophistry. The framers of the Constitution didn’t write the Second Amendment to facilitate hunting. They wrote it so that ordinary Americans could protect themselves from a variety of threats, including would-be totalitarians. And the notion that a magazine capacity of ten bullets or less will keep people safer, while one that holds eleven or more leads directly to a Newtown and therefore must be eliminated, smacks of the "do something” mentality to which politicians resort when they have nothing of substance to offer.

Genuine substance reveals that there are times when ordinary citizens are faced with threats, such as multiple intruders into one’s home, or an encounter with a street gang, where a magazine with more than ten bullets may be the difference between life and death. Perhaps a reporter with a bit of honesty or backbone might be willing to ask the governor how many bullets are contained in the magazines of the guns his bodyguards carry to protect him.

The answer to that inconvenient question would undoubtedly inform the overbearing hypocrisy that surrounds this issue. Nothing speaks more clearly to the concept of “do as I say, not as I do” than the self-righteousness of politicians surrounded by armed protectors telling their fellow Americans to “end the madness” that amounts to having the exact same opportunities to protect themselves enjoyed by the political class, as well as many of the self-righteous celebrities and media members looking to exploit tragedies like Newtown.

Furthermore, every one of the aforementioned proposals made by the governor, with the possible exception of keeping guns away from the mentally ill, is made with the full and equally hypocritical knowledge that they will only apply to law-abiding citizens. Since it is impossible to believe that there is even one politician in the entire nation who believes that stricter gun control laws will have the slightest effect on the nation’s criminal element, one is left to conclude that disarming law-abiding citizens is nothing more than an effort to make them as dependent as possible on the state to protect them.

Even Cuomo’s claim that he would limit the ban to “assault rifles” is pure hokum. The “assault” label, despite what liberals would like you to believe, is a political “catch-all” designation that does not refer to any special “killing machine” feature, but could fit any number of modern firearms. Assault “rifle” is even more complicated. Although the term was once used to refer to semiautomatic rifles beginning around WWll, the definition was so vague that legislators had to list specific models of guns and/or gun characteristics when the assault weapons ban was enacted.

Fully automatic rifles, aka machine guns, have been outlawed for civilians since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934 – unless they get special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department. Even more daunting for those politicians who think they can somehow stuff the proverbial genie back in the bottle is the reality that there are approximately 270 million firearms currently held by civilians, a number equivalent to almost 89 percent of the entire population.

Yet Cuomo will persist. Undoubtedly he is buoyed by Pew Research Center survey indicating that 49 percent of Americans now believe that controlling gun ownership is a bigger priority than protecting the right to own firearms, while 42 percent said the opposite. Human Events columnist John Hayward explains the meaninglessness of such a poll. “A ‘right’ is not something that politicians can take away because they disapprove of it, or even because they can persuade some percentage of voters to share their disapproval,” he warns. An unnamed national Democratic strategist put the governor’s latest pitch in the proper context. “Everything with Cuomo is politics,” he revealed. “He could have done anything he wanted on gun control in his first two years, but now it’s in the headlines.”

That goes double for Joe Biden and the Obama administration. For the two years before the 2010 election, Democrats had complete control of Congress and White House. They did nothing to advance a gun control agenda. Yesterday, Biden met with the NRA, hoping to either win their support, or soften their opposition to limiting ammunition sales and banning assault weapons. The NRA released a statement revealing the meeting was little more than an effort to attack the Second Amendment. “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners–honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans,” it read. “It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen.”

Biden countered with a tiresomely familiar progressive familiar bromide. “I’m not sure we can guarantee this will never happen again, but as the president said, even if we can only save one life it would make sense,” he contended. “And I think we can do a great deal without in any way imposing on and impinging on the rights of the Second Amendment.” Using Biden’s “logic,” one could ban anything that has caused a single death. As for doing a great deal without impinging on the Second Amendment, one is left to wonder how that squares with the Vice President’s statement that he and the president believe some as-yet-to-be-revealed aspects of the Second Amendment are vulnerable to executive order.

Yet perhaps the most ominous development of the day was Attorney General Eric Holder's reported meeting with large firearms retailers, including Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest, and others, such as Bass Pro Shops, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The implications of such a meeting might best be explained by another story reported Monday at the CNS News website. In a Facebook posting, Joe Sirochman, owner of the American Spirit Arms gun manufacturing company, accused Bank of America of freezing his accounts. “After countless hours on the phone with Bank of America, I finally got a manager in the right department that told me the reason that the deposits were on hold for further review–her exact words were–'We believe you should not be selling guns and parts on the Internet,‘” he wrote.

Considering Eric Holder’s scandal-ridden track record, highlighted by a contempt of Congress citation for his refusal to turn over critical evidence in the Fast and Furious gunrunning investigation, it isn’t much of a stretch to think that he would be more than willing to put the full force and fury of the Justice Department behind an effort to get gun retailers to “reconsider” their commitment to selling firearms. For an administration that believes the president is capable of bypassing Congress completely to get the gun control measures he wants, intimidation by the Attorney General is small beer by comparison.

Thus, from Cuomo and Biden, to Holder and President Obama the progressive agenda regarding gun control is being laid bare, as is the transparent effort to get something done as quickly as possible so that raw emotion can be exploited to facilitate the effort. So much so that Biden has committed to getting the president his full recommendations by next Tuesday, well ahead of the president’s end-of-the-month deadline request. “I committed to him I’d have these recommendations to him by Tuesday,” Biden said. “It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act.” For a president and his party that rammed a healthcare bill through Congress before Americans “could find out what’s in it,” such calculated haste is nothing new. Once again, the most transparent administration in history is poised to run roughshod over the opposition, and possibly the constitutionally-mandated separation of powers as well, to get what it wants, when it wants.

As for Andrew Cuomo, he is doing nothing more than surfing a wave he hopes will carry him to the White House in 2016. As his speech pattern got shriller and shriller, he told New Yorkers to “forget the extremists” and “end the madness now!” In other words, you either agree with Cuomo, Biden, Holder, Obama and their agenda, or you’re an extremist whose affection for the right to bear arms is madness. The only thing sadder is a thoroughly compromised mainstream media backing them to the hilt, oblivious to such irony, even as they too would kick the Constitution to the curb if it saves “just one life.”

Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.