For a president who has not signed any major gun control legislation during his time in the White House, Barack Obama was getting a lot of unearned credit from Republicans on Thursday night.
“I am convinced that if this president could confiscate every gun in America he would. I am convinced that if he could get rid of the Second Amendment he would,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said in the Republican presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina. “This president, every chance he has ever gotten, has tried to undermine the Second Amendment.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie assailed Obama's “unconstitutional executive orders” while speaking in defense of gun rights. “I don't think the founders put the Second Amendment as number two by accident,” he said.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said that “Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer came after our right to keep and bear arms” by pushing for expanded background checks in 2013.
Added businessman and front-runner Donald Trump: “We have to protect our Second Amendment and you cannot do ... what Barack Obama was doing with the executive order.”
While Obama's strong support for legislation to expand background checks on gun buyers, and recent executive actions to tighten existing rules have drawn intense ire from gun-rights activists, Republicans didn't mention that he's failed to win congressional approval for any of the restrictions he favors. They also didn't mention that Obama signed legislation in 2009 that expanded gun rights by letting people bring firearms in national parks, a move that so disturbed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that the group gave him an “F” grade the following year.