cox news service october 19, 2008 washington - the national rifle association is spending more than $10 million to keep barack obama from occupying the white house.
The formidable gun-rights group is waging a full-court press against the illinois senator and democratic nominee for president, claiming that obama would be the "most anti-gun president in american history."
chris w. Cox, executive director of the nra's institute for legislative action, the political and lobbying arm of the group, said obama's talk of supporting the second amendment does not match his record.
"it's shameless at best for a candidate like barack obama, who has a lifetime of support for a radical gun-control agenda, to somehow think that gun owners are so foolish in this country that we're going to forget," he said.
The nra objects to several votes obama has made in his political career, including one he made as a state lawmaker in illinois against creating a loophole for persons violating gun-registration laws if they used the firearm for self-defense. The vote came after a man shot a burglar in his home in a town where handguns were banned.
Cox also mentioned an obama vote in the u.s. Senate against a bill that protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits.
In television ads, shown in florida, ohio and other contested states, the nra claims that obama would deny families the right to defend themselves with a firearm against criminals. The group also pounces on obama's comment earlier this year that "bitter" voters "cling" to guns and religion.
The nra created an anti-obama web site -- gunbanobama.com -- and sells yard signs that read, "i'm a bitter gun owner and i vote."
the obama campaign said the nra is spreading falsehoods about him, including that he would impose new, high taxes on guns and ammunition, which is untrue.
"no amount of false attacks from the nra will change the fact that sen. Obama firmly believes that the second amendment protects the individual right to bear arms and that he will respect the tradition of gun ownership," said ben labolt, a campaign spokesman.
Obama has said that he supports "common sense" laws, such as background checks, to keep guns out of the hands of children or those who are mentally deranged. The campaign also touts an endorsement by the american hunters and shooters association, a group that bills itself as a more sensible alternative to the nra.
John pitney, professor of american politics at claremont mckenna college in california, said that the nra could have an impact.
"there are many gun owners in the rural areas of ohio and pennsylvania. Economic distress could push them to the democratic column, but the gun issue could push some of them back to the gop," he said.
Obama appears to be concerned. In a recent interview with the new york times magazine, he called his comment about voters clinging to guns and religion his "biggest boneheaded move."
in addition, the campaign is trying to stop television stations in ohio and pennsylvania from airing nra ads that they said were "false, misleading and deceptive" and, thus, violate federal rules.
The nra endorsed john mccain despite having disagreements with him over the years, including mccain's support for legislation that would have mandated background checks at gun shows. The nra also strongly opposed a campaign-finance law mccain authored that limited the election activities of independent groups.
Jim irvine, chairman of the gun-advocacy group buckeye firearms in ohio, isn't enthusiastic about mccain. The only national candidate his organization has endorsed is mccain's running mate, alaska gov. Sarah palin, whose moose-hunting jaunts have been widely publicized.
nra nra nra nra nra nra nra go nra!