By: José Niño
Former President Barack Obama still has trouble sleeping at night over the fact that gun owners denied his administration's gun control at the start of 2013.
The NRA-ILA recently detailed some of the former president’s regrets about not passing civilian disarmament measures during his presidency. In a November interview with Oprah Winfrey, Obama reiterated his frustrations about gun owners successfully derailing his gun control plans following the Sandy Hook massacre.
Winfrey asked Obama about mass shootings, to which he responded:
I have to say, Oprah, gun violence is one of those issues that I think we are far away from the promised land on because it’s become such a cultural hot button issue. It’s become wrapped up with people’s sense of identity and the degree to which the country is divided.
Obama expanded on his thoughts about failing to ram gun grabs through in the aftermath of Sandy Hook:
But, I will say that was the not only maybe the saddest day of my presidency, but when Congress failed to do anything in the aftermath of Sandy Hook was probably the angriest I ever was during my presidency. I was disgusted and appalled by the inaction… it was all viewed as politics…
Winfrey generally agreed with Obama's remarks. The NRA-ILA called attention to the fact that Winfrey has long ties with gun control organizations. Back in the 1990s, Winfrey supported CeaseFire, Inc., a group whose principal goal was to “educate Americans to view handguns as the inherently unsafe and dangerous products they are, and not appropriate to have in any home.” Additionally, Winfrey supported the anti-Second Amendment organization Million Mom March and has been publicly in favor of a ban on semi-automatic firearms that many Americans normally use.
For Obama, the fact that gun owners organized politically to safeguard their God-given right to self-defense was unacceptable. Like many members of America’s ruling class, Obama can’t fathom why Americans want to be armed, let alone politically express their preferences for an armed society.
Although it may seem like eons ago, the Obama administration was confident that it would pass universal background checks, which would have criminalized private firearms transactions between lawful individuals, right after the Sandy Hook massacre. Criminalizing private firearms transfer would do very little to stop criminals and would be just another costly barrier to Americans’ right to bear arms.
Second Amendment organizations such as the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) recognized this from the start and mounted a strong campaign to counter Obama’s potential gun grab. Thanks to NAGR’s relentless pressure, D.C. got the message that moving gun control forward would prove to be a politically costly decision. As a result, gun control died in Congress. From there, NAGR was able to establish itself as one of America’s fastest growing pro-gun lobbies.
Chris Stone, the Director of Communications at NAGR, told GPM in an interview:
“President Obama spent two terms trying to pass gun control -- failing each time. Most people wonder why, or are left scratching their heads as to how Obama, Pelosi, and Reid couldn’t get it done. The overwhelming power of the grassroots gun lobby is why.”
Stone stressed how lawful gun owners were not fooled by Obama’s propaganda throughout his administration and knew he was no friend of gun owners:
“Ordinary law-abiding gun owners saw past his ‘friendly’ rhetoric and knew that Obama and his lackeys wanted to eviscerate our gun rights by passing Universal Gun Registration, a semi-auto ban, and so-called mental health gun bans.”
Recognizing that a gun grab was imminent, Stone detailed how NAGR quickly fought back against Obama:
"The National Association for Gun Rights mobilized our members to fight back against these schemes and put the pressure on Congress to reject gun control.
"By using targeted political programs, and regularly communicating with millions of gun owners throughout the 2013 gun control fight, NAGR was able to expose Obama and Harry Reid ‘s gun control plans and stop them on the Senate floor."
NAGR’s successful effort to stop gun control in the Obama era displayed how humble grassroots operations can rise to the occasion and defeat well-funded opponents. This anti-gun control pushback was so impactful that even to this day Obama is still visibly frustrated.
Let’s hope that a Biden administration experiences similar disappointments at the hands of angry gun owners.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.