Gun Rights Activists Take Issue With Gun Inquiry on Obama Administration Questionnaire

By Nitya

Nov 17, 2008 7:57am

Question 59 on the Obama Transition Team’s intrusive and extensive list of questions for potential officials of the Obama administration:

"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.”

The question has raised the ire of the National Rifle Association.

"Gun Owners Need Not Apply?" the organization asks. "Obama Personnel Questionnaire Shows Anti-gun Bias…the questionnaire does not ask similar questions about any other type of personal property.  For example, applicants are not asked to list any cars they own, who drives the cars, or what accidents the cars have been involved in—even though far more deaths and injuries each year involve motor vehicles than involve firearms."

The NRA says that while "past involvement in a gun-related mishap might be politically embarrassing, it is unclear why the transition team would find it more embarrassing than some other kind of accident.  And if misuse of a gun would cause an applicant to have a criminal record or to get involved in litigation, that would be disclosed under other questions, such as those about lawsuits against the applicant or applicant’s spouse, and about criminal investigations, arrests, charges or convictions."

The gun group states that since "only five states have statewide gun registration" and only "New York City and three nearby counties require periodic renewal of a firearm registration" it’s unclear why registration is a subject of inquiry."

"One thing is for sure:  If the Obama team thinks these are good questions to ask job applicants, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll want to ask the rest of us, too," the NRA states.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, jumps into the fray, saying, “I am deeply disturbed that President-elect Obama is asking job applicants whether they or members of their family own guns. Millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms and they should not be discriminated against. The questionnaire already seeks information about illegal activity so there is no reason to ask this question unless the Obama Administration plans to use it to discriminate based on lawful activity. For this reason, I will seek to enact legislation to prohibit this type of discrimination.”

But sources on the Obama Transition Team say the question is not about discriminating against gun owners, but rather to ensure anyone with a gun has one within the parameters of the law; the question is not meant to be any different in scope than the one about whether the Obama Administration candidate has run afoul of any law or regulation, ever gotten a traffic ticket of more than $50 in fines, and so on.

They might want to take a look at Vice President-elect Biden’s Beretta and his apparently extensive shotgun collection.

- jpt

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