Obama-Fearing Gun Nuts Are, Well, Nuts

Those who think Obama's re-election will bring an assault on gun ownership needn't be worried.

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Handguns fill a display case at Red's Trading Post Feb. 12, 2008, in Twin Falls, Idaho. The gun shop, stripped of its license by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, had repeated chances to fix problems but failed to, bureau inspector John Hansen testified in federal court Tuesday, March 4, 2008.

There seems to be a little confusion on the part of gun enthusiasts about what a second Obama term means for them, and how they can battle any efforts to control their firearms ownership.

First, there are the nervous sorts who raced out and bought guns rights away after President Obama was re-elected. The subtext is that somehow this president will take away their guns—and yet there is no evidence to indicate that. In fact, the opposite is true: Obama has not only not done anything to advance gun control, but he actually expanded gun rights early in his term, signing a law that allows people to bring guns onto federal land.

[ Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Nor does the ongoing Democratic majority in the Senate pose a plausible threat. The Democrats, while perhaps at heart in favor of sensible limits on guns, figured out a long time ago that they will only be the majority party if they keep pretty quiet about that—and allow some of their recruits to be staunchly pro-gun.

But while that seems a tad hysterical, as a reaction to Obama's win, it's positively rational compared to the behavior of the owner of an Arizona gun shop. Says a full-page newspaper ad in the White Mountain Independent:

If you voted for Barack Obama your business is NOT WELCOME at Southwest Shooting Authority. You have proven you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on gun control and gun rights.]

There are some obvious inherent problems with this policy. For one, how will the owner know whom a potential buyer voted for in the election? Secondly, wouldn't a gun-owning, pro-Obama voter be more likely to pull the party even closer to an embrace of the Second Amendment (omitting the inconvenient part about a "well-regulated militia")? And if someone opposes gun control, why initiate a de facto limit on gun ownership by denying your firearms business to the 51 percent of voters who indeed chose Obama?

Perhaps the owner believes there will be, as a Texas judge irresponsibly and irrationally predicted, some sort of civil war provoked by Obama's re-election—and maybe he doesn't want the other side to have guns. Or maybe it's just about the "other"—Obama's race, his unusual name, and the legions of African-Americans, Latinos, gays, lesbians, single women and everyone else who doesn't fit into the Ward Cleaver mode—that are giving the gunshop owner such a case of the nerves. He might want to get used to it. He's now in the minority.