The Right's Response To Obama's Gun Reforms: Dreaming Of A Civil War?

Owen Poindexter
President Obama's gun reforms, announced yesterday, have ignited a furor among Republicans, especially on the far right. Some have introduced legislation that makes me wonder how far they'd be willing to take this.

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Rand Paul (R-KY) believes the new gun laws are a sign that Obama has a "king complex." PHOTO: Reuters

Watching the far right of the political spectrum respond to Obama’s comprehensive gun reforms has been a bit like going to a Cirque du Soleil show. You know you are going to be wowed, but you don’t know how until it happens. While there’s been plenty of predictable noise from Republicans in the House and Senate, some of the more interesting “you can’t take our guns” response has come from within state legislatures. Maybe I’m off-base here, but I think at least some of these guys are fantasizing about a civil war.

Let’s start with Tennessee State Rep. Joe Carr: “This blatant assault on the Second Amendment by the Obama Administration is a systematic effort to disarm the law abiding citizens of the United States.”

Carr introduced legislation to make it illegal for federal agents to  enforce any new gun restrictions. And he wasn’t the only one. Legislators in Wyoming and Texas have done the same. Steve Toth’s bill would make it so that federal agents could be arrested for enforcing federal gun laws in the state of Texas.

“We can no longer depend on the Federal Government and this Administration to uphold a Constitution that they no longer believe in. The liberties of the People of Texas and the sovereignty of our State are too important to just let the Federal Government take them away. The overreach of the federal administrations executive orders that are do not align with the Constitution, are not very popular here in Texas," said Representative Toth.

Are you getting the civil war vibe yet? I don’t think anyone actually intends to start a war, but just as a fantasy? These laws set up a scenario where (hypothetically), a federal agent comes to take away someone’s assault rifle, and is arrested under Texas law. The Obama administration would then demand that the prisoner be released, and…what if Texas Governor Rick Perry refuses? We would have a situation where Texas and the U.S. were both claiming sovereignty while Texas holds a prisoner. Does the U.S. military then come in to free the prisoner? You see how this is starting to sound like a civil war.

Not to be outdone, Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky, told Sean Hannity that he plans to “nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation.” Rand Paul is making the point that in the constitution, the congress is supposed to propose legislation. Paul is also choosing a convenient moment to forget that presidents initiate legislation to be hashed out by Congress all the friggin time, and that Obama hasn’t actually presented any bills, just frameworks, for Congress to work on.

In case Paul wasn’t making himself clear, he continued with: “I’m afraid that President Obama may have this ‘king complex’ sort of developing, and we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen.” Again, I see revolution fantasies in this quote. After all, America was founded when they revolted against King George on issues of taxes and political sovereignty. As for the notion of Obama having a “king complex,” someone close to Rand Paul might remind him of the four years Obama has just been through of attempting to bargain with Congressional Republicans, and how well that went.

As for why no one is going to take away anyone’s guns (provided you are not a violent mental patient in the state of New York), I’ll handle that in another post, because this one has gone on long enough.