Both of the statements occurred during the second, town hall style, debate.
Romney surprised me when he said that it’s already illegal to purchase automatic weapons.
I thought to myself, “Man, somebody should tell that to those folks at the Birmingham gun show.”
Romney wasn’t completely off base; you can only purchase fully automatic weapons that were manufactured and registered before 1986.
And even then you have to go through background checks and pay a $200 tax.
Regardless, that’s a distinction someone vying for the presidency should be familiar with.
While Romney's statement made me scratch my head, Obama's almost made it explode.
In the middle of the debate, he casually mentioned that he would be interested in renewing the Clinton-era assault weapons ban.
Though he's labeled by many as the most anti-gun president in history, Obama did absolutely nothing to restrict gun rights in his first term. In fact, he signed legislation that allowed citizens to check guns in their baggage on Amtrak trains as well as legislation that allowed people to take guns into national parks.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence even gave him an “F” for his record on gun legislation.
Despite all this, Obama is still criticized by groups like the National Rifle Association.
The gun-hating Obama narrative is so persistent that demand for ammunition skyrocketed each time he was elected.
I remember spending much of the 2008 Christmas season searching for .243 rounds like they were a flipping Tickle-Me-Elmo doll. Some dads ask for golf clubs for Christmas, mine requests ammo.
Up until the second debate, though, there was little justification for the freak-out in the firearms market. In fact, the only thing gun nuts could point to before the second debate was some San Francisco fundraiser in which Obama said many rural voters cling to their Bibles and guns.
But with his remarks at the debate, our president gave every gun rights activist in the country all the reason they need to distrust him.
But even if he does renew the assault weapons ban, Obama still won’t be half the enemy to the Second Amendment that many label him as. That being said, there are better ways to tamp down on gun violence than a ban on assault weapons.
For example, a law patching up the gun show loophole would go a long way. Currently, unlicensed private firearms dealers can sell weapons at gun shows without the necessary background checks required for most commercial dealers. Also, it’d be nice to see the tightening of penalties on straw sales, which occur when someone buys a gun for a friend who cannot legally purchase it.
And God forbid people be required to get a psychological evaluation before owning a gun.
Our lawmakers can indeed shape gun legislation without trampling on the Second Amendment. But to do that, they have to be brave enough to write laws that benefit Americans more than gun manufacturers.
Daniel Gaddy is a staff reporter for the Daily Mountain Eagle and a Walker County native. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org