Obama Wants to Send Our Guns Overseas

(Yeah, yeah, we know it's a Glock.)<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zorin-denu/5450047294/">ZORIN DENU</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Barack Obama’s stealth war on guns continues apace: The White House is currently working to ease restrictions on exports of guns and other American-made weaponry, a move that could be a boon for domestic gunmakers.

The Department of Homeland Security has reservations about the rule changes, stating in a memo that they could make it harder “to prevent or deter the illegal export/transfer of lethal items such as advanced firearms to criminal groups, terrorist organizations or enemy combatants.” Gunmakers, however, are pleased as punch. “Our industry supports the White House Export Control Reform Initiative,” a lawyer for the firearms manufacturers’ lobby group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Washington Post.

How is the National Rifle Association going to spin this? The 4-million-member pro-gun group has put an electoral target on Obama’s back, but it also needs to do right by arms manufacturers like Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger, which have given the NRA as much as $39 million since 2005, according to the Violence Policy Center (PDF).

The NRA is a big-tent organization—or, rather, a big tinfoil-hat organization. This rule change could feed right into their Obama conspiracy narrative: The president is just pretending to have no problem with guns, so he can really drop the hammer on gun owners in his second term! As NRA President Wayne LaPierre wrote in the Washington Times last November:

The Obama administration hatched a political conspiracy to deceive Americans and hide its true agenda to dismantle the Second Amendment and our freedom. By delaying its anti-gun legislative agenda, it’s tried to dupe gun owners into believing our fundamental freedom is safe.

The political calculation of the White House is clear: Deceive the voters and get re-elected at all costs and then, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling the Second Amendment and destroying American freedom forever.

LaPierre’s been trying to pull the trigger on this conspiracy theory for a while, as my colleagues Kevin Drum and Tim Murphy have pointed out. Perversely, the NRA needs Obama to hand gun lovers a big win in order for its doomsday prophecy to gain currency. So will NRA members buy that increased gun exports actually signal a coming crackdown? As LaPierre says, “Gun owners aren’t fools—and are not fooled.”

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate