Q: Is the D.C. law prohibiting ownership of handguns consistent with an individual’s right to bear arms?
A: As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right, in the same way that we have a right to private property but local governments can establish zoning ordinances that determine how you can use it.
Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008
Obama was being misleading when he denied that his handwriting had been on a document endorsing a state ban on the sale and possession of handguns in Illinois. Obama responded,“No, my writing wasn’t on that particular questionnaire. As I said, I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns.”
Actually, Obama’s writing was on the 1996 document, which was filed when Obama was running for the Illinois state Senate. A Chicago nonprofit, Independent Voters of Illinois, had this question, and Obama took hard line:
35. Do you support state legislation to:
a. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.
b. ban assault weapons? Yes.
c. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? Yes.
Obama’s campaign said,“Sen. Obama didn’t fill out these state Senate questionnaires--a staffer did--and there are several answers that didn’t reflect his views then or now. He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire, but some answers didn’t reflect his views.”
analysis of 2008 Philadelphia primary debate Apr 16, 2008
Respect 2nd Amendment, but local gun bans ok
Q: You said recently,“I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns.” But you support the D.C. handgun ban, and you’ve said that it’s constitutional. How do you reconcile those two positions?
A: Because I think we have two conflicting traditions in this country. I think it’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions.
Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008
Bush erred in failing to renew assault weapons ban
KEYES:[to Obama]: I am a strong believer in the second amendment. The gun control mentality is ruthlessly absurd. It suggests that we should pass a law that prevents law abiding citizens from carrying weapons. You end up with a situation where the crook have all the guns and the law abiding citizens cannot defend themselves. I guess that’s good enough for Senator Obama who voted against the bill that would have allowed homeowners to defend themselves if their homes were broken into.
OBAMA: Let’s be honest. Mr. Keyes does not believe in common gun control measures like the assault weapons bill. Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits from what I can tell with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, to kill people. I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban.
Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004