Guns grabbed: Zero. Minds changed: Also zero.

[contextly_sidebar id="YDoe67OMH50x62VLoYC3OS5T6OWR0sNv"]Barack Obama took his call for slightly expanded background checks for gun purchase to CNN Thursday night, in an hour-long town hall where the president took some tough questions from pro-gun activists, and made the case that any action to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them is worth pursuing. He repeatedly stated he was not engaged in a plot to seize all Americans' guns, which left opponents of gun safety measures convinced the president intends to immediately confiscate all privately owned firearms and abolish the Second Amendment.

CNN's Anderson Cooper started the forum by pointing out the event had been arranged by CNN, not the White House, and while the NRA had been invited to participate, they had declined. An NRA spokesman issued a statement explaining, “The National Rifle Association sees no reason to participate in a public-relations spectacle orchestrated by the White House.” The statement was peppered with emojis showing guns and a frowny face sticking its tongue out, and closed with a picture of Calvin pissing on an Obama campaign logo.

Despite the NRA's reservations, several pro-gun advocates asked Obama questions, including Arizona's Pinal County Sheriff, Paul "I'm not your sweet Babeu" Babeu, who said the expanded background checks the president planned wouldn't have stopped any of the recent mass shootings, and asked what Obama would "have done to prevent these mass shootings and the terrorist attack," given that virtually all guns in recent mass shootings were acquired legally.

Obama diplomatically refrained from mentioning the scandal a few years back when Babeu tried to deport his illegal-immigrant gay Mexican boyfriend, or allegations Babeu had slept with a student at a creepy re-education camp he ran, which would have been pointless ad hominem distractions and quite unfair (but entertaining). Instead, Bamz acknowledged no single approach will eliminate all crime:

Look, crime is always going to be with us. So, I think it's really important for us not to suggest that if we can't solve every crime, we shouldn't try to solve any crimes.

Obama added that while it's impossible to prevent every crime, it's certainly possible to reduce the lethality of attacks through tighter regulation of the kinds of weapons available, noting that while the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre had no prior criminal record, he nonetheless had access to an arsenal his mother had bought:

And, so, the question then becomes, are there ways for us, since we can't identify that person all the time, are there ways for us to make it less lethal when something like that happens [...]

Right around the time of Newtown, in China, a guy was obviously similarly deranged, had a knife and started attacking a bunch of school children. About the same number were cut or stabbed by this guy, but most of them survived. And the reason was because he wasn't yielding (sic) a semiautomatic.

Obama stopped short of suggesting he supports a ban on assault weapons or restrictions on magazine capacity, although in the past he has said he did (though even then he pointed out most murders are committed with handguns); such measures would require Congress to pass laws, an activity it has shunned as distasteful in recent years.

Another questioner, Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor who has become an advocate for women owning guns, wanted to know why Obama doesn't want her to be safe:

I have been unspeakably victimized once already, and I refuse to let that happen again to myself or my kids. So why can't your administration see that these restrictions that you're putting to make it harder for me to own a gun, or harder for me to take that where I need to be is actually just making my kids and I less safe?

Obama pointed out "there's nothing that we've proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm," adding, "There are always questions as to whether or not having a firearm in the home protects you from that kind of violence" and "there's always the possibility that that firearm in a home leads to a tragic accident." These points angered a lot of people at Twitchy, because how dare he say such things to a rape survivor? (He did of course begin his answer by saying he admired her strength and that what she'd experienced was horrific, but clearly Obama wants women to be defenseless, the brute.) Obama went on to say, in terms of his proposals, the expanded background checks would help keep guns out of the hands of would-be criminals, which was probably somehow condescending, too.

The questioners chosen by CNN were evenly split between those favoring and opposing restrictions on guns; fittingly, since Friday is the fifth anniversary of the Tucson Massacre, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was there with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, who asked one of the better questions of the evening: Even if Barack Obama were a power-mad dictator bent on imposing tyranny, how on earth would that even be possible?

[when] we testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, we heard not only from the gun lobby, but from United States Senators that expanding background checks will, not may, will lead to a registry, which will lead to confiscation, which will lead to a tyrannical government.

So, I would like you to explain: with 350 million guns in 65 million places, households, from Key West, to Alaska, 350 million objects in 65 million places, if the Federal government wanted to confiscate those objects, how would they do that?

The absurdity of the prospect drew laughter and applause, and led to the one truly strange moment, after Barry said the notion of a conspiracy to take all the guns was rooted in distrust of the federal government, and Anderson Cooper decided maybe this was an unfair characterization:

COOPER: now, let me just jump in here, is it fair to call it a conspiracy ...

OBAMA: ... well, yeah...

COOPER: ... because a lot of people really believe this deeply, that they just don't...

OBAMA: ... no...

COOPER: ... they just don't trust you.

OBAMA: I'm sorry, Cooper, yes. It is fair to call the conspiracy, what are you saying? Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can impose martial law...

COOPER: ... not everybody, but there's certainly a lot of...

OBAMA: ... but a conspiracy? Yes, that is a conspiracy! I would hope that would agree with that.


Obama added, "Well, look, I mean, I'm only going to be here for another year. I don't know -- when -- when would I have started on this enterprise, right?" But isn't that exactly the sort of cover story you'd expect?

In the panel discussion following the town hall, rightwing numpty Hugh Hewitt cried bitter tears at how mean the president had been, dismissing fears of Barack Obama taking away all the guns and declaring martial law as some kind of conspiracy, since after all, Obama's always comparing America to Australia, and they really did take away all the guns, so clearly that's what Obama wants, even though he says he recognizes the Second Amendment:

It's not a conspiracy to worry about this president's abuse of power. He put out an unconstitutional executive order about immigration. He unconstitutionally limited Hobby Lobby's rights. It's not a conspiracy to be concerned about where he's going, and to mock, minimize, and to denigrate the people whom you ought to be serving is deeply disappointing.

Also, alleged communist Van Jones, while generally pleased with Obama's performance, said he'd botched his answer to Kimberly Corban. He felt Obama should have offered to buy her a gun, because that's the proper thing to do, considering her awful experience. We are not making this up. Apparently, despite the fact that guns are more likely to be used to kill or injure someone in the home than to be used for self-defense, crime victims should be offered a false sense of security, if only for the sake of chivalry.

Thankfully, the panel discussion soon ended and we could get back to our Jessica Jones marathon, where revenge and power fantasies are clearly labeled as fiction.

[CNN / CNN transcript / NYT / Twitchy]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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