As Gun Sales Decline, Gun Lobbyists Increase Attacks On Obama

April 06, 2011 4:33 pm ET — Chris Brown

When President Obama took office in 2009, a clear relationship emerged between gun sales and false attacks by the gun lobby and conservative media, labeling Obama "the most anti-gun president in American history." Gun sales increased amidst unfounded claims that the president was planning to "take away your gun." 

As Media Matters has documented, industry officials acknowledged late last year that sales have "returned to levels no longer driven by fear of increased gun control or political uncertainty."

More evidence that people are no longer buying the scare tactics arrived on April 1, when America's largest gun conglomerate, Freedom Group, announced it was cancelling its initial public offering (IPO) amid plummeting sales. Freedom Group includes well established brands such as Remington, Bushmaster, and Marlin. 

In an email to Political Correction, Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, commented on Freedom Group's cancelled IPO: 

Freedom Group's abandonment of an IPO shows that its belief in the idea of a booming future for America's gun industry was never anything more than evanescent hype peddled by the gun lobby and its trade association counterparts.

With gun sales declining and President Obama announcing his intention to seek another term, it should come as no surprise that gun lobbyists and their allies have launched another round of factually challenged assaults against the president.

The most recent attacks rely on transparent falsehoods and black-helicopter-style conspiracies, including the Obama administration teaming up with the United Nations (U.N.) to advance sweeping gun-grabbing schemes. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently sent an email with an updated version of the conspiracy theory that a U.N. Small Arms Treaty will lead to sweeping confiscations of guns. Paul's email reads in part:

Ultimately, the UN's Small Arms Treaty is designed to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU.

In fact the U.N. is considering moving forward with a Small Arms Treaty, but there is treaty language to back up these accusations. Furthermore, any treaty would need 67 votes in the United States Senate and no treaty can supersede the United States Constitution. Scott Stedjan of Oxfam America explained the reality of the proposed treaty to the Washington Postsaying

No government is discussing a treaty that would ever impact the right to bear arms, nor require regulation of domestic sales of arms. [....]

This is totally about international transfer of arms so that they don't go to human rights abusers. 

Not to be outdone, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) has been pushing an email claiming that Obama is secretly scheming to use executive orders "To Grab Your Guns!"

Nowhere in the email is there is any sourcing, and it references no past proposals made by the Obama administration. Nor is there any explanation of how executive orders could be used to bypass the legislative process to achieve far-reaching measures, which according to CCRKBA could go as far as to "make it illegal to own a gun if you smoke or use tobacco products." Both scare emails directly solicit donations to support gun lobby efforts. 

Gun lobbyists are either hoping to gin up another spike in sales or simply committed to attacking President Obama. Either way it's going to be a tough sell.

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