From your cold, dead hands

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, the NRA is warning its members that Barack Obama wants to ban all handguns.

Published August 6, 2008 10:02PM (EDT)

It had seemed as if the landmark decision on the Second Amendment that the Supreme Court handed down earlier this year might, paradoxically, end up hurting the National Rifle Association. The ruling itself was a victory for anti-gun-control forces, as the court found that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. But in the process, the NRA's traditional scare tactic -- dire warnings about gun-grabbing liberals -- seemed to have been crippled, if not dealt a mortal blow.

Well, if you are willing to credit the NRA's leaders with only one thing, give them this: They're resourceful. Faced with this dilemma, the organization came up with a simple solution. It -- pardon the pun -- stuck to its guns, facts be damned.

Politico's Ben Smith reported Wednesday on a recent mailing the NRA sent to its members that included a wallet card laying out what it says is "Barack Obama's Ten Point Plan to 'Change' the Second Amendment." Smith writes that the items on the NRA's list "are not in fact his campaign positions, and in many cases [the list] seems flatly to contradict them ... How the group reaches those conclusions is unclear."

We could individually debunk the NRA's claims, and take the time to compare them with Obama's actual positions. It'd be silly to even bother, though, as clearly the group had no intention of abiding by any sort of logic in putting the wallet card together. Items 1 and 3 on the NRA's list of Obama's positions -- "Ban use of firearms for home defense" and "Ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns" -- are simply absurd. First of all, they're obviously unconstitutional. And the Democratic Party has shown no stomach for any sort of gun control recently. Democrats couldn't even keep the popular Clinton-era assault weapons ban from expiring, and their presumptive presidential nominee is going to move to ban the use of guns for home defense?

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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