Fox News deceptively cropped video of a 2008 campaign speech to falsely suggest that President Obama is acting hypocritically in reportedly supporting an assault weapons ban.
During the January 7 edition of America's Newsroom, anchor Bill Hemmer claimed that a report that the White House is considering a comprehensive gun violence prevention package, which includes reinstituting the assault weapons ban, “comes in stark contrast to President Obama's position back in 2008, when candidate Obama promised that he would protect the rights of all gun owners.” After airing a clip of Obama telling a campaign audience that he believes in the Second Amendment and won't confiscate firearms, Hemmer said that those were comments Obama made when he “was trying to get elected”:
HEMMER: If true, the new gun control push comes in stark contrast to President Obama's position back in 2008, when candidate Obama promised that he would protect the rights of all gun owners.
OBAMA (VIDEO CLIP): So I don't want any misunderstanding. When ya'll go home and you're talking to your buddies, and they say, “He wants to take my gun away,” you've heard it here, I'm on television so everybody knows it, I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away, I will not take your rifle away, I won't take your handgun away.
HEMMER: So that was September of 2008, of course, on the trail that was, when candidate Obama was trying to get elected.
But Hemmer cropped the video of Obama's speech to remove his statement during the same event that he also supported the passage of “some common-sense gun laws.” From video of the event posted on YouTube by the Obama campaign's Sportsmen for Obama:
OBAMA: I just want to be absolutely clear, so I don't want any misunderstanding. When ya'll go home and you're talking to your buddies, and they say, “He wants to take my gun away,” you've heard it here, I'm on television so everybody knows it, I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away, I will not take your rifle away, I won't take your handgun away... There are some common-sense gun safety laws that I believe in. But I am not going to take your guns away. So if you want to find an excuse not to vote for me, don't use that one.
Indeed, contrary to Hemmer's suggestion of hypocrisy, President Obama said during the 2008 campaign that while he supported the rights of individuals to own shotguns, rifles, and handguns, he also supported permanently reinstituting the ban on assault weapons that lapsed during the Bush administration. During a July 2007 speech at a Chicago church, he called for such a policy to stop the “epidemic of violence that's sickening the soul of this nation.”
Fox has a long history of deceptively cropping video in order to smear progressives.
While Hemmer suggested that an Obama push for an assault weapons ban would contradict his support for the rights of legal gun owners, in his Opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down the District's ban on handguns, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
None of the other potential measures under consideration by the White House that were detailed in the Washington Post article Hemmer was discussing restricts the ability of lawful persons to obtain firearms:
The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation's gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration's discussions.
A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.
UPDATE: In a segment on Fox's America Live after this post was published, White House correspondent Mike Emanuel aired a similar clip of Obama from the same event, describing it as Obama “try[ing] to reassure people he was not anti-gun.” But this time, anchor Megyn Kelly added, “just want to tell our viewers that in that 2008 soundbite, President Obama went on to say, after saying 'I won't take your shotgun away or your rifle away,' 'there are some common-sense gun safety laws that I do believe in, but I'm not going to take your guns away.'”