Under the Radar, Guns Have Become An Issue

The good old days when Democrats could be counted on to shoot themselves in the foot–so to speak–by coming out for gun control are sadly gone. As a result, the once-feared National Rifle Association has been relatively dormant on the political scene in recent years. But late in Obama’s term, he incautiously said a few things that can reasonably be interpreted as anti-gun. So the NRA has swung into action with an all-out effort to defeat Obama:

Spurred on by President Obama’s debate pledge to push for an assault weapons ban and possibly limits on handgun ownership, the National Rifle Association is ending the presidential campaign season with its most “targeted” election effort in its 141 years.

NRA officials told Secrets that they’ve expanded their campaign against Obama in some cases by over 500-times what the Second Amendment lobby did in the 2010 elections that brought the conservative Tea Party to Washington. An official said the effort was on par with what the NRA did in 2000 when George W. Bush edged Al Gore in the Electoral College in part because of an unexpected GOP swing in gun states.

The NRA and its legions of gun enthusiasts are making the kind of effort that won’t show up on the national media’s radar screen, but could be important in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio:

So far, they have recruited 5,000 volunteers to make calls, walk precincts and make the NRAs case at gun shows, a key venue at the beginning of deer and goose season.

Let me just pause here to note that the Obama people have no freaking idea when the deer season starts.

Among the key statistics from the NRA:

— By Election Day, the NRA will have issued more than 50 million mailers, phone calls, and personal door-to-door visits, a 60 percent increase over 2010.

— Online advertising will have totaled 320 million impressions on web pages opened by those surfing the internet, a 531 percent increase over 2010.

“This is our most focused, targeted and sophisticated effort to date,” said a spokesman.

I don’t think Obama meant to incur the NRA’s wrath, and that of millions of gun owners, but he was betrayed by his tin ear. If the election is as close as many project, it is possible that Obama’s needless injection of gun issues at the 11th hour could tip the balance against him.