Paranoia on gun control victimizing Obama.
President Obama has no chance, locally or nationally, to win the sportsmen's vote.
Gun rights groups, attacking him even before he took office, successfully instilled fears that he'd take away our guns if elected. To the surprise, if not embarrassment, of many, Obama has made no such attempt. In fact, record quantities of guns and ammunition have been purchased during his first term, initially emptying shelves and driving up prices. The fear may not have been helpful to Obama, but it has been great for gun sales.
Organizations like the NRA and Safari Club International, both of which I belong to, relentlessly warn that if Obama is re-elected - with nothing to lose this time - he'll finally show his true colors and take away not only our guns, but our freedom, as well. They have cast this election as the most important of our lifetime. Prone to paranoid hyperbole, jumping on the smallest hint of any danger to our gun rights even when there isn't one, they've lost considerable credibility beyond their membership.
With the recent mass killing inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., President Obama would have had the ultimate stage to promote that alleged antigun agenda - if he really ever intended to do so. Once again, he steered clear of taking a position against guns. It's not clear who has been more disappointed with Obama's leaving gun laws alone, the disappointed antigun rights groups that hoped for radical changes or the pro-gun factions that need a target to maintain their power and influence.
Sportsmen are scared, though, believing rumors designed to enrage them. Most recently, Obama adversaries spread word that the United Nations, in trying to pass an international gun treaty, is clandestinely participating in Obama's alleged conspiracy against America's gun owners.
Being president of the United States isn't easy, especially when you come from a big, impoverished city that's averaging a death a day from bullets, and fearful citizens are crying out for action to end the violence. It's not easy being president when you're faced with an increasingly dangerous world in which a lucrative international business of illicit small arms trading contributes to global violence, human rights abuse and political instability.
How does the president at once deal with Iraq and Afghanistan, promote world peace, repair an about-to-collapse economy and domestically satisfy both nonshooting groups that are afraid for their lives, as well as other equally fearful pro-gun groups that demand firearms for their self-defense? Quite a job, considering his salary is allegedly less than half that of the head of the NRA. Whatever the president does, someone's going to castigate him. Cooperation would help, but that might mean contributing to his success - and a second term.
Groups like the NRA and SCI can't lose, though. If Obama doesn't take away our guns during a second term - an outcome far more likely than their fearful forecasts - they can say their efforts prevailed. To at least some degree, they'll be correct. The NRA has undeniably earned the appreciation of all of us who enjoy our shooting and hunting traditions. We'll always be indebted to them for their crucial role in preserving our Second Amendment rights. But their politically evolving message and far-right connections are troubling.
The nonsense about the U.N. is one example. The chain email circulating across the country this year is a tedious re-run of the same U.N. conspiracy message sent and later debunked in 2009. The treaty has actually been in the works for about 10 years, long predating Obama's input. According to Amnesty International, the treaty is intended to prevent the international sale of arms to human rights abusers. Now that it's nearing completion, the Obama administration is being targeted for helping get this done.
Proponents say the treaty is designed to help diminish violence around the world by preventing arms from getting into dangerous hands. Many other heads of state want this to happen, too. It's consistent with the reasons Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Solutions to minimize the spread of those arms are in America's best interest. Somehow, though, Obama foes have twisted this peace-seeking effort to mean that the president wants to use an international treaty to sneak confiscating gun laws into America and take away our freedom. The accusation has no vestige of truth.
The President has clearly stated on numerous occasions that the Second Amendment provides American citizens the right to bear arms for their protection, safety, hunting and other legal uses. Furthermore, the State Department has also affirmed that it wouldn't support an international treaty that banned legal firearms in America.
Even if an American president wanted to confiscate guns via a circuitous international treaty, he could never bypass Congress to do so, as treaty ratification requires the approval of two-thirds of our Senate. There have been at least 13 Democratic and 45 Republican Senators saying they wouldn't agree to an international treaty if it would in any way jeopardize current rights on domestic ownership, manufacture, assembly, transfer or purchase of firearms. Most politicians know they stand little chance of re-election if they climb aboard any attempt to confiscate our guns.
In addition, our Supreme Court has already ruled that the District of Columbia's attempted ban on handguns, regardless of its constant shootings and killings, was unconstitutional. It would never allow an international treaty banning guns to affect us here at home, as well. The safeguards for gun rights are in place at every level.
Obama should win or lose the 2012 election based not on the red herring of gun rights and freedom, but on his ability or inability to take us in the right direction to solve the real challenges facing America.
Mark Blazis can be contacted by email at email@example.com
Today and tomorrow - Paraplegic sportsmen's special deer hunt.
Tomorrow - Muzzle-loader season opens through Nov. 13 in NH.
Tomorrow and Sunday - TarTan Gordon Setter Club hunting test for pointing breeds. Sharpe's Farm, Rtes 202 and 9, Hopkinton, NH. Info: Richard Dwyer: (603) 456-2414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday - Northboro bird walk. Forbush Bird Club. Meet at Guiseppe's Grille parking lot on Hudson St. at 7:30 a.m. Leader: Laura Lane (508) 480-8259.
Sunday - Singletary Rod & Gun Club gigantic monthly meat raffle. 2 p.m. Open to the public.
Monday - Bear season opens in Massachusetts through Nov 24 in zones 1-9 only.
Thursday - Trout Unlimited meeting. Guest speaker Russ Cohen: "Why We Should Care About Wild Trout Streams and Their Inhabitants." Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester. 6 p.m.
Nov. 10 - Roads & Water: Maintenance and Protection. Massachusetts Association of Conservation Committees Fall Conference. Clark University, 8 a.m.-noon. Info: email@example.com.