On Guns, the White House’s Cluelessness Is Staggering

During Thursday’s press briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about the record sales of firearms on Black Friday, apparently in response to the San Bernardino murders. He responded that this fact is “ironic” and “tragic”:

Q. … And I just wonder if the President feels as if what’s happened may actually be giving motivation or momentum to gun rights advocates rather than his position.

A. Well, I guess there is some evidence to indicate this — the FBI put out information a week or so ago that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when many people go shopping, that they actually processed the largest number of background checks for gun purchases in history. So I described this I think in a briefing earlier this week as a tragic irony, that the more that we see this kind of violence on our streets, the more people go out and buy guns. And that is both ironic and tragic.

Why is it ironic? If people perceive that attacks by Islamic terrorists are an increasing danger, obtaining a firearm for use in self-defense is an obvious and rational response. There is nothing ironic about it.

Of course, we have seen this phenomenon before. Whenever there is a mass shooting followed by a push for more gun control laws by the administration, people go out and buy guns. Again, this is rational behavior: if you want a gun (or another gun) and believe it may be harder to get one in the future, it makes sense to buy one now. Again, the logic is evident. There is nothing ironic about it.

Nor is the fact that Americans bought more guns tragic. Steve posted this chart last week:

Gun Chart 1 copy

More guns have corresponded with a lower gun homicide rate, and lower violent crime rates in general.

Interestingly, a couple of other reporters pushed back against Earnest’s “ironic and tragic” assessment:

Q. Just circling back on an earlier question, I want to clarify — you said that the sort of tragic irony that so many people bought the guns on Black Friday. Why would that necessarily be tragic? I mean, they did buy them legally. They went through the background process. Isn’t that sort of what you want? You’re not so much worried about the numbers as you’re worried about loopholes, people — the guns falling into the wrong hands of — kind of skipping out on the background checks. Why would you necessarily think it’s tragic that so many people buy guns on Black Friday?

A. Well, I guess, Fred, what I’m observing is that it’s tragic that in the aftermath — in the immediate aftermath of a series of high-profile mass shootings, that people feel like they have to go out and purchase a gun. Because it’s our view — and again, I think this is backed up by some common sense. Our nation is awash in guns. There are statistics about the large quantity of guns that are rather readily available on street corners and in gun stores all across America. That ready access to guns and that proliferation of violent weapons of war has not led to fewer gun deaths.

But as we have seen, Earnest’s assertion is false.

And so it’s tragic that even in a situation where we have lots of guns on the streets that lead to lots of innocent Americans being killed, that the response to that is that a whole lot more guns end up on the streets. That’s tragic and ironic.

Earnest never really answers the question. If these are sales to law-abiding citizens who passed background checks, what is tragic about them? Earnest’s response reveals, once again, that the Obama administration is disingenuous when it claims that it just wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill (as we all do). The truth is that if you or I buy a gun, Democrats like Josh Earnest and Barack Obama think it is a tragedy, and they will stop us if they can.

Note, too, how Earnest keeps talking about these newly-purchased guns being “on the street.” What does that mean? They are in the possession, as far as we know, of law-abiding citizens.

Even the White House press corps seemed to realize that Earnest was being obtuse. A third reporter circled back to the gun issue with the final question of the briefing:

Q. Why do you think so many people went out and bought guns?

Good question! One possible answer might be, they have no faith in the Obama administration’s ability to keep them safe from terrorists.

A. I don’t know. I really don’t. I think it’s hard to speak — my guess is that the 185,700 of them probably had a few different reasons for wanting to do so, but I would hesitate to —

Q. No theories whatsoever?

A. Well, again, I think some of them have been floated. In some cases, these are individuals who believe that they need to buy a gun so that they can better protect themselves. In some cases, because it’s Black Friday, they’re probably going and purchasing a gift for a friend or a loved one who is a gun enthusiast.

There are a variety of reasons why people might do that. I guess I’m just pointing out that there are already an astonishing number of guns on the streets of America, and far too many innocent Americans who are being killed by them. So the idea that our reaction to innocent Americans being killed by guns is to dump 185,000 more guns onto the streets of America is tragically ironic.

Earnest is pathologically unable to distinguish between 185,000 law-abiding Americans legally purchasing firearms for their own use, and 185,000 guns being “dumped onto the streets.” And his brain is seemingly unable to conceive of more guns leading to fewer homicides, even though this is indisputably what has happened.

The Obama administration’s cluelessness when it comes to guns is almost unfathomable.