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'Stand up ... be heard'

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Richard W. Carlson
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Barack Obama was campaigning in my home state of Virginia in the fall of 2008 when he said this to a large group of country sportsmen:

“I just want to be absolutely clear, alright? So, I don't want any misunderstanding when y'all go home and you're talking to your buddies and say, ‘Ah, he wants to take my gun away.' You've heard it here. I'm on television, so everybody knows it. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people's right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away.”

If you believe what Obama said in Virginia is what he believes, you must be among those very naive (or stupid) voters afflicted by the new American disease known as IDD — Information Deficit Disorder — who have supported one of the most manipulative, dishonest and egomaniacal presidents ever elected.

What a con. Obama doesn't have the power to take guns away from those Virginia sportsmen or any other Americans. Drastic re-jiggering of gun rights is the purview of the Congress and it guards that purview jealously, which forces strong limits on any Obama executive orders.

President Obama is a genuinely slippery operator. Did you know he voted against a law allowing Illinois citizens the right to use a legal handgun to defend themselves from attack in their own homes?

As Keith Koffler wrote in his White House Dossier blog, Obama's vote would have maintained a crazy status quo in Illinois that had made it a violation of an Illinois gun-ban law for a citizen to use a firearm to protect himself or his family in his own home.

The bill passed despite Obama joining hands with hard-leftist Democrats to kill it.

The remedial Illinois legislation that Koffler cited and that Obama opposed passed after public outrage sided with a man who shot a burglar in his home and was charged and fined for violating a handgun ban.

Eight years before, Obama answered “Yes” when asked by written survey whether he would support a state law totally banning “the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.”

Later, an Obama presidential campaign spokesman claimed the form had been filled out by an aide who misrepresented Obama's position. As Koffler pointed out, Barack Obama's handwriting was found on the same survey.

I own a couple of Ruger shotguns that I use for bird shooting. Ruger is a good company, responsible and well run. I know this because my longtime friend Gen. P.X. Kelley, the retired Marines commandant, was on its corporate board and was my shooting partner for pheasant and turkey many times at the old Woodmont Rod and Gun Club in Hancock, Md., sporting home of six U.S. presidents.

Ruger describes itself as the “Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens.” This is not just a slogan. It is genuine recognition that millions of law-abiding citizens use their firearms safely and responsibly every day.

“Given the forces assembling against us, merely relying upon lobbying efforts is insufficient. Law-abiding firearms owners must stand up and be heard,” Ruger said in an email to me. “This affects all of us, so we cannot stand idly by and rely upon others to fight on our behalf. Too much is at stake.”

This gun issue is about personal freedom and it is worth fighting for.

Richard W. Carlson, a former U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles and former director of the Voice of America, is vice chairman of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

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