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Will Guns Sink Obama in Va.?

Tim Craig

The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence announced today it is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill) presidential campaign.

"Senators Obama and Biden know that we make it too easy for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons in this country," Brady President Paul Helmke said in a statement. "They know that our weak gun laws have too many loopholes, which lead to over 30,000 deaths and 70,000 injuries from guns every year."

But in a state like Virginia, which his home to the National Rifle Association and more than one million hunters, the endorsement carries considerable risk. The NRA, which has endorsed GOP nominee John McCain, is already running ads in Virginia noting that Obama once supported a ban on handguns in Chicago.

And if Obama has made any gains in rural Virginia, it will be tempting for Republicans to use the Brady Campaign endorsement to undercut Obama on the gun issue.

According to the Associated Press, Obama supported a ban on all forms of semiautomatic weapons and other restrictions on firearms when he was in the Illinois legislature. Obama now says he is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment and will not, as president, seek to interfere with an individuals' right to own a gun for hunting and self-protection.

Last year, a legislative committee in Virginia easily defeated an effort by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to close the so-called gun show loophole in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings. The bipartisan vote sparked little public outcry, reinforcing Virginia's reputation as a place where gun control doesn't sell.

But in a Washington Post poll last year, nearly six in 10 Virginia residents say they think the United States should have tougher gun control laws There is a large gender gap on this issue: Nearly seven in 10 women favor stricter gun laws, while men are split evenly

Last year, however, former state senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis ( R) campaigned on the gun control issue in Fairfax County but she still lost her race. Democratic senate candidate Janet Oleszek also ran on the gun issue in Fairfax County - she was even endorsed by several families of the Virginia Tech victims - but she also lost.

By Tim Craig  |  October 13, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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As a lifelong Republican I have looked long and hard at the issues the candidates and the Bush and Reagan legacies and the current state of my beloved country and have reached the same conclusion as many other lifelong Republicans. I Quit! Obama 2008!

Posted by: dMIner | October 13, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

There are thousands of law-abiding gun-owners, like myself, a woman and a senior citizen, who enjoy the sport of target shooting. Anyone with any common sense knows that a criminal who wants to commit a crime could care less about "any gun laws". Where do you get your information on 30,000 gun deaths every year and 70,000 injuries?

Posted by: Helen Merritt | October 13, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It would have been nice if you had mentioned that Obama supports 2nd Amendment rights. I hope he supports a reasonable interpretation.

Posted by: MikeF | October 13, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Many gun owners are paranoid. This is because the NRA constantly tells them that their gun rights are being threaten. I myself am a gun enthusiast. I live in a "blue" state with strict gun laws. However these laws restricts those who wish to acquire firearms unlawfully. Infact I own class 3 firearms such as full auto machine guns and silencers. I followed the law so my rights to own a gun even exotic guns are secure. And for the record I scorn the NRA. Moreover for anyone to think their gun rights is the most urgent issue in America is simply idiotic.

Posted by: Mike | October 13, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

You fail to mention that Olezsek's loss was extremely close . . .

In the past few state-wide elections in Pennsylvania, the more moderate/liberal Southeastern corner of the state has carried the elections, with some support from the Pittsburgh area. I wonder if the same will happen in Virginia soon . . . Northern Virginia and some elements of the Hampton Roads area, along with a smattering of Dem votes elsewhere, coming together to consistently carry Democratic candidates to office in Virginia. We'll see.

Posted by: Chris | October 13, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

See the best Sarah Palin impersonations, short clip. Very Funny.

See What they didnt show during the debate
What the media didnt cover, the debate outtakes. A tense moment between tom brokaw and John McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Gun nuts are paranoid as they get. There not trying to take them away from us you fools

Posted by: Downtown | October 13, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

As a woman and a gun enthusiast, I support some gun control laws. Laws the require background checks, a waiting period, and have restrictions on ammunition that goes above and beyond the uses of self-defense and hunting are perfectly reasonable.

I also believe that one should be required to have a background check done and receive a certificate that must be verified with ID and a phone call prior to guns sales at shows is a perfectly reasonable way to avoid guns being sold to individuals who don't qualify.

The Second Amendment allows for a right to bear arms. I have that right - even with gun control laws in place.

To allow gun control fears to overshadow what's best for this country (either Obama or McCain, whoever you prefer) is scary, especially when there are far greater issues to worry about - Supreme Court, foreign policy, economy, education, etc.

Posted by: Amy from Ohio | October 13, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The funny thing is that liberals have NO interest in taking away people's guns. The only thing they want is to keep them out of the hands of violent criminals. That's it.

If you're a responsible, law abiding gun owner, you have nothing to fear.

Posted by: Gun-Totin' Liberals | October 13, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

As a lifelong hunter, Republican, and Virginian, I see Obama's stance on gun control as a logical step forward. We can't continue our lax gun laws when there are clearly LOOPHOLES (yes, they're real, just go to a gun show). I am a lawful individual and I know these measures would not affect me as a result. Obama 08. We have much greater fears than "losing gun rights" and they rest in a McCain/Palin ticket.

Posted by: brian | October 13, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I am all for closing the gun show loop holes! VT shootings have changed a lot of minds in Va.

Anyone intelligent person can look up Obama stance on gun control if Palin is saying that is too strict than I am very worried about her views... maybe they don't have school shootings in Alaska but the sure do down here in the lower 48! Obamas views seem very fair and responsible.

Posted by: VA MOM | October 13, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I wonder.........
Is voting because one fears for a woman's right to choose being paranoid? I just ask because Barack Obama has been airing adds on the radio targeted to one issue voters - Right to choose women.

So it's ok to be a single issue voter when it comes to abortion, but single issue voters concerned about thier guns are paranoid? Hypocrites I say.

Posted by: Hank | October 13, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Go USF Bulls!!

Posted by: John | October 13, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Ever wonder what would happen if MTV hosted a presidential debate, well now you get to find out.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 14, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

A law-abiding citizen calling for more gun control is like a chicken cheering for colonel Sanders.

Posted by: Ben Miner | October 14, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The first three to five stories on the local TV news in the Washington, DC area are invariably about someone in DC, Maryland or Virginia being a victim of violent crime. To walk the streets of DC after dark is to have a death wish. Yet we are told by the anti-gun forces there is no need to have a firearm within reach at home at night. It's not gun owners who need a reality check.

Posted by: Silverpalm | October 14, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought the Supreme Court recently clarified gun owners' rights in a recent case against Washington, D.C. I don't believe any President can override the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Rich | October 14, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Their "gun death" figures most likely include suicides which usually compose of at least 50% of "gun deaths" by their statistics. Removing guns from the suicide equation doesnt stop a suicide, there are PLENTY of ways to kill yourself.

No president can override the Sup Court, but they can use backdoor nazi tactics like hurt gun manfacturers ability to produce guns, make some huge tax on ammunition, "assault" weapons bans, etc. Theres more than one way to skin a cat.

Posted by: LetFreedomReign | October 14, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone slavering to close the so-called gun show loophole realize that the Virginia Tech shooter did NOT get his gun at a gun show?

And if, as some say, liberals do not want to take guns from the hands of the law abiding, why do they attempt to pass laws controlling and restricting inanimate objects, instead of laws that control criminals who commit the crimes?

Posted by: Kframe | October 14, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Some of you people are ignorant. And some of you are just down right stupid. Gun confiscation is one of the first steps in destroying democracy. Viz: Hitler, Stalin, etc. Criminals do not abide by gun control laws. Only law abiding citizens. We don't need more laws. All we need to do is enforce the ones we have. Look at Obama's anti gun voting record. Wake up and quit drinking the Obama is the Mesiah kool aid. There are stacks of anti gun bills in congress just waiting for Obama to take office. And remember, if we lose our 2nd amendment rights, we won't be able to protect the rest of the amendments. Our founding fathers knew this and that is the reason for it. They just went through a revolution. Guess I'm just a Bitter Gun and Bible clinger.

Posted by: Bitter Gun & Bible Clinger | October 14, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks that the hard core gun control people don't want to take guns away either isn't listening to them or is a liar. They've been up front with their supporters that their ultimate aim is to take guns away and the Brady Campaign, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, are on record as saying so. That's not paranoid, it's a fact.

They used the same rhetoric to get gun registration passed in NYC and then they rounded up the rifles and shotguns from citizens who had duly registered them. That's not paranoid, it's a fact.

Functionally, there is no difference between a semi-automatic version of an AK-47 and a semi-automatic hunting rifle or shotgun, so if they can ban one they can ban the others.

All of the "resonable" controls enumerated in the comments can then be interpreted to functionally ban guns from citizens. Look at what DC did when their gun law was kncoked down by the SCOTUS.

Fundementally, it's not up to the government to determine my right to a firearm any more than it is to determine my qualifications to be a voter.

Posted by: Stick | October 14, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

all of you who think obama is pro 2nd amm.
better wake up.
he may not take our guns but will tax them
and ammo so high we can use the for door stops.
any thing that comes out of this guys mouth
is crap.

Posted by: dave | October 14, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If I were a VA Tech student that fateful day, I'm sure I would have given anything to own a gun to defend myself from the madman. Unfortunately, they were all in a "gun free zone". The only person with a firearm was the madman. Gun control was certainly effective there, wasn't it.

Posted by: Reality check | October 15, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

get the facts at

Posted by: nauer | October 15, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

As a registered democrat, I look at Sen. Obama's radical stance on guns banning all centerfire ammunition and his support of the DC gun ban as a dealbreaker.

What happened to Democrats being the party of working families like FDR instead of the party of Hollywood and George Soros.

McCain/Palin 08

Posted by: Dingell Democrat | October 15, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

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