Obama Appointee Questionnaire Demands Info on Individual and ‘Immediate Family’ Gun Ownership

By Tom Blumer
November 23, 2008 – 11:27 ET

It may not be an automatic disqualifier for an Obama administration appointment, as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air suggested on Friday, but it’s certainly an affront to the personal privacy rights of individuals and families.

The Politico reported Thursday evening about the fallout resulting from an intrusive question on the president-elect’s 63-question personnel form:

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is asking potential appointees detailed questions about gun ownership, and firearms advocates aren’t happy about it.

The National Rifle Association has denounced the move, which has already led one Republican senator to consider legislation aimed at ensuring a president can’t use an applicant’s gun ownership status to deny employment.

….. Tucked in at the end of the questionnaire and listed under “Miscellaneous,” it reads: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, said there was no such question for potential appointees when President George W. Bush took office in 2000.

“It kind of sticks out there like a sore thumb,” Light said.

The question especially “sticks out” because:

* It’s hard to see how guns owned by other members of your immediate family — which would appear to include, for example, brothers, sisters, and parents not living with the applicant — are any of Team Obama’s bleeping business.

* Notwithstanding how he finessed the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Heller decision affirming the obvious — that the 2nd Amendment supports an individual’s God-given right to self-defense, including the right to own and carry firearms — Obama has a long record of aggressively opposing the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Here are some of the specifics from the irrefutable and overwhelming history of Obama’s career-long, dedicated, and persistent antagonism to individual gun rights (I originally covered this in late October at BizzyBlog when evaluating one individual’s congressional candidacy; bolds are mine):

* Obama voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry.
* Barack Obama wants to re-impose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban.
* He voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting.
* He has endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.
* Obama also supports local gun bans in Chicago and other cities.
* Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense.
* Obama opposes Right to Carry laws.
* Obama supported a proposal to ban gun stores within 5 miles of a school or park, which would eliminate almost every gun store in America.
* Obama favors a ban on standard capacity magazines.
* Obama supports mandatory micro-stamping, one-gun-a-month sales restrictions, a ban on inexpensive handguns, gun owner licensing and gun registration, and mandatory waiting periods.
* Obama supports a ban on the resale of police issued firearms, even if the money is going to police departments for replacement equipment.

On top of all that, Obama was a director at an organization that worked mightily to make the Heller decision go the wrong way. They almost succeeded.

Obama was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and “research.”

A Pajamas Media column by David T. Hardy in early October revealed that the Foundation engaged in the law-review equivalent of push-polling:

The plan’s objective was bold: the judicial obliteration of the Second Amendment.

Joyce’s directors found a vulnerable point. When judges cannot rely upon past decisions, they sometimes turn to law review articles. Law reviews are impartial, and famed for meticulous cite-checking. They are also produced on a shoestring. Authors of articles receive no compensation; editors are law students who work for a tiny stipend.

In 1999, midway through Obama’s tenure, the Joyce board voted to grant the Chicago-Kent Law Review $84,000, a staggering sum by law review standards. The Review promptly published an issue in which all articles attacked the individual right view of the Second Amendment.

(The Review) solicited only articles hostile to the individual right view of the Second Amendment. ….. Joyce had bought a veto power over the review’s content.

….. The plan worked smoothly. One court, in the course of ruling that there was no individual right to arms, cited the Chicago-Kent articles eight times.

….. The Joyce Foundation board (which still included Obama) ….. expand(ed) its attack on the Second Amendment. Its next move came when Ohio State University announced it was establishing the “Second Amendment Research Center” as a thinktank headed by anti-individual-right historian Saul Cornell. Joyce put up no less than $400,000 to bankroll its creation.

….. The Center proceeded to generate articles denying the individual right to arms.

….. The Joyce directorate’s plan almost succeeded. The individual rights view won out in the Heller Supreme Court appeal, but only by 5-4. The four dissenters were persuaded in part by Joyce-funded writings, down to relying on an article which misled them on critical historical documents.

This outrageous, manipulative history is yet another example of how the national media whitewashed Barack Obama’s record during his nearly two-year campaign for the presidency. Though several outlets have done stories on the length of the questionnaire, few if any have noted the gun ownership-related question.

Whether or not being forced into acknowledging gun ownership as a condition of employment affects one’s chances of a getting a job with the Obama administration, it would seem to signal a high chance of receiving unfair treatment if a co-worker or supervisor hostile to the Second Amendment concludes during your term of employment that they don’t want you around any more.

—Tom Blumer is president of a training and development company in Mason, Ohio, and is a contributing editor to NewsBusters

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