[Guest post by DRJ]
“Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has worked to assure uneasy gun owners that he believes the Constitution protects their rights and that he doesn’t want to take away their guns.
But before he became a national political figure, he sat on the board of a Chicago-based foundation that doled out at least nine grants totaling nearly $2.7 million to groups that advocated the opposite positions.
The [Joyce F]oundation funded legal scholarship advancing the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect individual gun owners’ rights, as well as two groups that advocated handgun bans. And it paid to support a book called “Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.”
The Obama campaign responded that the Joyce Foundation issued grants to fuel debate about guns:
“Obama’s eight years on the board of the Joyce Foundation, which paid him more than $70,000 in directors fees, do not in any way conflict with his campaign-trail support for the rights of gun owners, Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign, asserted in a statement issued to Politico this week.
LaBolt stressed that the foundation, which has assets of about $935 million, doesn’t take “detailed policy positions,” but rather uses its grants to “fuel a dialogue about how to address public policy issues like reducing gun violence.”
As with most foundations, Joyce did not record how individual board members voted on grants, but former Joyce officials told Politico that funding was typically approved unanimously.”
However, the Obama campaign’s claim that the grants were made solely to spur dialogue is contradicted by the details of a few of the grants:
“During Obama’s time on the Joyce board, though, the foundation gave seven grants totaling more than $2.5 million to a group that wants Congress to take much more proactive action: the Violence Policy Center.
The D.C.-based nonprofit, which calls itself “the most aggressive group in the gun control movement,” for years has argued for a national handgun ban.
n a 2000 study called “Unsafe in Any Hands: Why America Needs to Ban Handguns,” the group concluded that Congress could and should ban handguns nationwide “soon” and allocate $16.25 billion to buy back the 65 million handguns it estimated were then owned by civilians.
The study dismissed as “pure myth” the theory that the Second Amendment bars such strict gun control laws.”
In addition, Obama’s claim that he supports gun rights is not substantiated by his legislative record:
“In his appeal to gun owners, Obama has not emphasized his own legislative record, which includes supporting a ban on semiautomatic weapons and concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month. He has blamed his staff for indicating on a questionnaire filled out during his 1996 state Senate bid under his name that he supports banning “the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.”
Obama is trying to be all things to all people. As a general rule, that’s not a winning formula for Presidential candidates.