If you’re wondering where the insistence by some conservatives and Fox News comes from that the Obama administration wants to take all of American’s guns away then a good place to start will be the rhetoric of some GOP lawmakers.
The context: Attorney General Eric Holder has always been an advocate of some forms of gun control. He has also made it known that he personally would like to see a ban on assault weapons. So some cable and radio personalities who seek to whip up an audience — and some elected officials who seek to whip up and win over audiences — have generalized this and talk about the administration seeking to disarm Americans and in effect take all guns away.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) said this week that the administration will try “all sorts of things” to chip away at the individual right to own a gun, warning of gun control policies aimed at “disarming us.”
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Cushing, Oklahoma, Coburn warned that Attorney General Eric Holder “doesn’t believe in the second amendment” and “doesn’t even know what an assault weapon is.”
“He doesn’t believe in our right to own and hold a gun,” Coburn said of Holder, whose nomination he vigorously opposed. “He doesn’t believe the Second Amendment means it’s a right for me to have a gun to protect myself.”
Coburn added: “Disarming us is not the answer.”
Coburn was likely referring to Holder’s belief that the Second Amendment confers a “collective right” to own guns, as opposed to the “individual right” interpretation that Coburn and other conservative embrace.
There’s more so go to the link — which also provides the actual audio. Last week The Hill had this item about Holder’s real (versus characterized by political opponents) stance as shown in his interview with CBS’s Katie Couric:
Attorney General Eric Holder said the White House did not tell him to back off after he called for the reinstatement of the assault-weapons ban in late February.
In an interview with CBS that aired on Wednesday, Holder said, “No one’s told me to back off. I understand the Second Amendment. I respect the Second Amendment.”
Yet Holder’s comments on gun control were more tempered than his remarks in Mexico six weeks ago, when he said that “there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons.” Holder added at the time that the reinstatement of the ban, which expired in 2004, would have a positive impact on the drug-related violence in Mexico.
Asked if the gun issue has become political and if Democrats are getting cozy with the National Rifle Association (NRA), Holder responded, “I don’t think it has and in fact, I look forward to working with the NRA to come up with ways in which we can use common-sense approaches to reduce the level of violence that we see in our streets and make the American people as safe as they can possibly be.”
Holder initially dodged a question on “closing the gun-show loophole” but when pressed said, “These are issues that we’ll have to discuss. The president will be the one who will ultimately set policy — things that are politically saleable and things that will ultimately be effective.”
Asked if the gun show loophole falls in those categories, Holder said, “That’ll be one of the things that I’ll discuss with the president.”
Newsweek offers this on the administrations actual position:
Running for president in last year’s Democratic primaries, Barack Obama promised to restore a federal ban on certain semiautomatic assault guns—a position that’s still on the White House Web site. The ban was originally passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress in 1994 and lapsed five years ago. In recent years the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has also lifted virtually all restrictions on imports of foreign-made assault weapons, permitting a flood of cheap Romanian, Bulgarian and other Eastern European AK-47s to enter the country, according to gun-control groups. “There’s been an absolute deluge of these weapons,” says Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center.
But Obama and top White House aides have all but abandoned the issue. Emanuel helped orchestrate passage of the original assault-weapons ban when he worked in the Clinton White House. Now he and other White House strategists have decided they can’t afford to tangle with the National Rifle Association at a time when they’re pushing other priorities, like economic renewal and health-care reform, say congressional officials who have raised the matter. (According to his office, Emanuel couldn’t be reached for comment because he was observing the Passover holiday.) A White House official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal strategy, says, “There isn’t support in Congress for such a ban at this time.” Ben LaBolt, a White House spokesman, says, “The president supports the Second Amendment, respects the tradition of gun ownership in this country, and he believes we can take common-sense steps to keep our streets safe,” pointing to $2 billion in new funding for state and local law enforcement in the stimulus package.
……The new Democratic squishiness on guns is all about politics. Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are determined to protect the seats of “blue dogs” from rural districts who are essential to preserving the party’s majority in the House. “The Democratic Party understands this is a losing issue … It’s a dead loser,” says Democratic Rep. Dan Boren, of Muskogee, Okla. “Its one of the reasons they lost the Congress in 1994 and Al Gore was not elected president in 2000.”