Why many law-abiding gun owners don't trust Obama

Story highlights

  • Tara Setmayer: At CNN town hall on guns, Obama showed he did not connect with the country's law-abiding gun owners
  • She says many of them don't think executive action is route to fixing gun laws; they don't trust that he does not want to confiscate their guns

Tara Setmayer is former communications director for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, and a CNN political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @tarasetmayer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)President Obama revealed, with his body language, tone and answers at CNN's "Guns in America" town hall just how much he doesn't connect with the millions of law-abiding gun owners in this country. Nor does he seem to connect to the importance of the fundamental gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

For example, as he attempted to justify his new executive actions on guns, Obama pointed to other products or services the government regulates, like aspirin or cars as examples of common sense regulations to make things safer. So why not apply that to guns?
The difference is: a.) There are thousands of gun laws already on the books b.) Aspirin and cars aren't constitutionally protected rights. That matters when the conversation is about the actions of the federal government.
    The 'Guns in America' town hall in under 2 minutes
    The 'Guns in America' town hall in under 2 minutes

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    The 'Guns in America' town hall in under 2 minutes 01:55
    Anti-gun advocates should be very careful supporting constitutionally questionable actions by the President. It may seem acceptable when those actions favor something they want, but what happens when they are for something they don't want? It's a dangerous precedent to set.
    The more Obama spoke at the town hall, the more apparent was his contempt for gun ownership. When his logic was challenged, he appeared exasperated by his inability to convince responsible gun owners that his approach was correct. Perhaps that's because his approach is a feckless, petulant response to the fact that Congress, elected by the American people, does not agree with his tactics.
    There is common ground to be found on some issues like the need to overhaul the woefully inadequate and failing mental health system in this country. But instead of rolling up his sleeves and working with Congress to get such bills passed, the president has decided to use his pen to just do it himself. That's not how our system was designed to work.
    Many Americans seem to agree. In the latest CNN/ORC poll, 67% may have favored the president's policy changes, but 54% of Americans disagree with Obama's use of executive actions to make gun policy changes, including 61% of independents.
    When asked by directly Thursday night if wants to take people's guns away, Obama gave a circuitous, long-winded answer filled with emotional anecdotes. He just couldn't bring himself to definitively say, "No, I'm not."
    However, Obama did become quite indignant when Anderson Cooper pointed out that many Americans just don't trust him on gun rights or believe him when he says there's no conspiracy to take away guns. Obama, after all, is the one who called gun owners bitter clingers during the 2008 presidential race.
    President Obama is the one who continually points to the United Kingdom and Australia as examples of countries he admires for their handling of gun issues. But he conveniently leaves out, for example, that Australia instituted new regulations on who could buy guns, government buy-backs of guns and a prohibitions on rapid-fire rifles and shotguns -- in short, what amounted to gun confiscation programs.
    Can you blame law-abiding gun owners for their trepidation every time the President speaks about gun control?
    Obama: I'm happy to talk to the NRA about guns
    Obama: I'm happy to talk to the NRA about guns

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    The bottom line is this: Law-abiding gun owners and gun dealers aren't the problem. Criminals are. It's already illegal for violent felons to purchase guns. New York, for example, requires expanded background checks on nearly all gun purchases, yet a 2012 NYPD crime analysis report found almost 90% of murder suspects in New York City had prior criminal records. So much for the deterrence factor.
    The President's obsession with the "gun show loophole" is absurd considering that few violent criminals obtain their guns through it. Why the urgent need by the President to circumvent Congress to "close the loophole" by executive fiat?
    The President repeatedly talked about violence-plagued Chicago. Although Chicago has some of the toughest gun control laws in the land, shootings are common. A University of Chicago study of Cook County inmates found they aren't getting their weapons from gun shows or dealers either, but rather through "personal connections" on the street or straw purchasers.
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    Critics: Obama 'divisive,' 'disappointing' in town hall 01:32
    As Taya Kyle, widow of American hero Chris Kyle, so eloquently stated -- not one of Obama's proposals or executive action would have prevented any recent mass shootings and murderers could use pipe bombs to kill people en masse too. The overall violent crime rate is stabilized nationally while gun ownership is up. Kyle asked: Why not "celebrate that we're good people, and 99.9 percent of us are never going to kill anyone?"
    Perhaps because the President is too busy lecturing the wrong people.