The following is from an interview of John Lott by Dave Bose, substituting for Michael Medved on the Michael Medved radio show. Lott is currently a professor at the University of Maryland and is the author of “More Guns, Less Crime” and “Freedomonics.” Lott taught at the University of Chicago the same time Obama was an instructor at Chicago. The transcript picks up approximately half way through the audio file…
Dave Bose: Just before the break, Professor Lott, I was mentioning that actually know Barack Obama. You met at the college.
John Lott: We were both at the University of Chicago. I was first in the business school and then I taught in the law school and I was there for like, five years. He was a lecturer there and – I don’t know – there were probably a couple of dozen times or whatever that we exchanged words. I saw him at a couple of seminars. I ran into and talked to people that were nearby him. One of the things though, is that the conversations all tended to be extremely short when I was involved with him.
John Lott: The first time I met him, I went over and introduced myself. He said, “Oh, you’re the gun guy.”
John Lott: And I said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
John Lott: And he said, “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns.”
John Lott: And I knew he was working at, with helping out…
Dave Bose: Wait. Let’s repeat that because Obama says he believes now that the 2nd Amendment preserves an individual right to keep and bear arms. In fact, Joe Biden whose helicopters are constantly being shot down by Frosty the Snowman has affirmed that Barack Obama’s not trying to take away guns and you’re telling me that the first thing you remember Obama saying to you was…
John Lott: Yeah, that he said, “I do not believe people should be able to own guns.”
Dave Bose: Okay
John Lott: I mean, if you just take the gun issue for a second, here’s a guy that when the supreme court decision came down at the end of June, said that the Supreme Court was merely confirming his own position on guns, that he believed that it was an individual right, that he always believed that it was, and that he apparently opposed the DC gun ban.
John Lott: The problem is you can find him making numerous statements prior to the Supreme Court decision where he said that he supported the DC gun ban. There are interviews that he did before the so-called Potomac Primaries in the spring, involving Maryland, Virginia, and DC, where he was interviewed on TV about that and he said quite firmly and emphatically that he was in favor of the ban. You have statements in the Chicago Tribune last fall.
John Lott: But overall, Obama has, there’s no doubt that he’s the most anti-gun presidential candidate that’s ever been nominated. In 1996 there was a candidate issue statement when he was first running for the state senate saying that he supported a ban on handguns.
In 1998 there was a similar candidate statement saying that he supported a ban on semi-automatic guns. He supported legislation that would ban the sale of guns within five miles of any school or park, essentially banning virtually guns from being sold any place in virtually all of the states in the United States. There’s many other types of similar statements that one could go through on that.
John Lott: But often he’s gone and he’s said, for example in the 96 statement that it was an error by a staffer who had incorrectly filled out the form. The problem was, later on Politico, the Internet political news operation, got a hold of a copy of the actual candidate’s statement form and they found his handwritten notes on the copy that was there. [New Party endorsement --ed.]
John Lott: The Chicago Tribute statement that came out last fall, again he blamed it on a staffer error, a so-called inartful attempt by a staffer to characterize his position. And as I say, you can go and find his own statements on videotape where he is saying that this year.
Dave Bose: Right, now he can just say he had an ACORN staffer fill it out for him. They’re pretty good at forgery. Actually, not so hot.
He also wrote this book review for Bill Ayers that we were talking about earlier and I was wondering, I haven’t seen a hard copy of it but surely on the dust jacket there’s an “about the author” portion on Bill Ayers. Does it not mention anything about his past in radicalism and terrorism?
John Lott: I haven’t looked at the book.
Dave Bose: That’s what I want to know. I can’t get my hands on a hard copy and I want to see one of the old ones to see if the book that Obama was reviewing may have mentioned something.
John Lott: If I can just make one other comment about my interaction with Obama in Chicago?
Dave Bose: Oh yeah, sure.
John Lott: And that is when he made the statement about believe that people shouldn’t be able to own guns, I said, “Well, maybe we can get together for lunch and we can talk about it.”
John Lott: And because I knew he was also supportive of the Chicago suit against the gun makers.
John Lott: He just grimaced and turned around and walked away and that was the end of the conversation. And that’s the way many conversations went that I had with him and I believe just in general he really disliked talking to people that he regarded as conservatives.
Dave Bose: He didn’t even say goodbye? He just grimaced and turned around?
John Lott: Right.
Dave Bose: Or, did he say no thanks?
John Lott: No, he just turned around and walked away.
Dave Bose: Not even the usually polite, “Yeah, we’ll do that sometime?”
John Lott: No. I mean, and there were cases in later years where I would reach out to shake his hand and he would just refuse my hand.
John Lott: There was one seminar for example where he had asked a question. He only went to a couple of seminars the entire time he was there. He didn’t do any research or anything. He was basically brought in just to teach and as I understood as a way to let him run for public office. It was kind of understood that that was what he was going to do to begin with, because if you’re only teaching three hours a week and you’re not having to do any research, it gives you a lot of flexible time to go and campaign for office.
John Lott: But, he had asked a question in a seminar and I don’t think anybody understood what the question was. I thought I did and so after the seminar went up to him and I said, “I think it was an interesting question. I think you could have rephrased it a little bit differently.”
John Lott: And again, he just turned his back to me and started talking to someone else. And it wasn’t so much that he just disagreed. I really got the impression that he really believed that I was evil because I had different views, particularly on the gun issue.
Obama and Guns: Two Different Views – John Lott Fox Op-Ed
I held positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. I have published over 90 articles in academic journals. I received my Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.
As an Illinois state legislator, Obama generally supported tighter restrictions on firearms and served on the board of a foundation that funded legal scholarship advancing the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect individual gun owners’ rights, as well as 14 separate groups that ultimately signed an amicus brief supporting the D.C. ban.
More at Politico
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 foundation 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.”
Obama supported a 2002 amendment to bar the use of federal homeland security funds to seize firearms during states of emergency, while the memo pointed out she opposed it. The memo adds: “Sen. Obama has consistently stated that the Second Amendment contains an individual right and has been consistent in his support of common-sense gun laws that do not abridge that right because it is a matter of defending the Constitution.”
But the Joyce Foundation in 1999 awarded $84,000 to the Chicago-Kent College of Law for a symposium on the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual’s right to bear arms, but rather only a state’s right to arm its militia.
The money quote:
Obama hasn’t taken a firm stand on the ban or on the case before the high court. “I confess I obviously haven’t listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence,” he told Gibson during Wednesday’s debate.
“As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms.
“But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right.”
Will Media Touch Obama’s Wild Anti-Gun Proposals?
How anti-gun is Barack Obama? Will the media tell us? Cam Edwards at NRANews.com was alarmed by a recent blog post by David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy. A December 13, 1999 article in the black newspaper the Chicago Defender reported on Obama’s proposals at that time, as he ran and lost a primary against Congressman Bobby Rush the next year:
Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [!!!]
Obviously, this is in the post-Columbine frenzy, but what sort of bizarre proposal is that? If I stole Obama’s car and killed someone with it, would it be fair to make Obama a felon for it? Gun owners (at risk of being involuntary criminals) quickly ask what is the meaning of “securely stored”? But there’s more from the Defender:
He’s proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for “antique” weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.
Read the rest >>>
Update May 26, 2011: Obama: We’re working on gun control “under the radar”
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