A right-winger's guide to fighting gun control

Six ways conservatives are threatening to fight back against President Obama's proposed gun laws

By Jillian Rayfield
Published January 17, 2013 8:00PM (UTC)
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The right has resorted to fiery language and questionable proposals to prevent President Obama from implementing gun control measures. But which of their dubious strategies is right for you?

Here's a guide to the latest talking points taking hold among conservatives:


Impeachment: It began with Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, who said that he could decide to file articles of impeachment if President Obama signs "unconstitutional and unconscionable" executive orders to implement gun control. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., followed up on the idea, saying it was "on the table." And both got a handy boost from former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, who implied it could be an option.

Gun ban bans: One idea that's gaining momentum in the state legislatures is the prospect of passing a ban on gun bans. In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant and state House Speaker Philip Gunn said they would attempt to block any of Obama's executive orders, which are “overreaching and anti-constitutional violation of our rights as American citizens," from being enforced in the state. Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr proposed arresting federal agents who tried to enforce the laws. Wyoming state Rep. Kendell Kroeker introduced legislation last week to make it a felony to enforce laws banning high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Republicans in Texas and Wyoming have proposed similar measures.

Nullification: The idea of blocking Obama's executive actions apparently appealed to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is planning to introduce legislation at the federal level to make those actions "null and void." 


Angry rhetoric: First it was the suggestion that gun control could lead to a new Third Reich in America, based on the erroneous idea that Hitler implemented gun control during his rise to power. Since, Obama's been attacked for everything from hypocrisy because of his support for abortion, to implementing a "dictatorship" because of his executive actions on gun control, to taking cues from Saddam Hussein because he spoke about the children who wrote to him in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. "He’s even using children," said Rep. Steve Stockman. "It reminds me of Saddam Hussein when he used kids."

Good old-fashioned politicking: After temporarily shutting down its lobbying outfit in the wake of the Newtown school shootings, the NRA is back on Capitol Hill with its lobbying team, now also relying on union workers to make the case that the gun manufacturing industry helps create jobs. And that's not all: As part of what the NRA referred to as "the fight of the century," the group is releasing attack ads against gun control, including one that slammed President Obama as an "elitist hypocrite" for using armed Secret Service to protect his children.

Lawsuits: When in doubt, there are always lawsuits to be filed. Larry Klayman, who founded the conservative legal shop FreedomWatch, filed a suit over what he called illegal meetings between Obama and Joe Biden with lobbyists. “The American people, whose rights to gun ownership stem from colonial times and are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, are being illegally shut out of the process," Klayman wrote in a statement.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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Barack Obama Conservatives Gun Control Newtown School Shooting Nra