A more artful statement from Obama

When Obama recently backed away from his earlier statement in favor of the gun ban (“Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.”), his campaign refused to admit he was changing his position. Rather, they said that it was an “inartful” attempt to explain Obama’s position. Evidently, “artful” means “too clear”.

By that standard, Obama’s latest statement in the wake of the Heller decision is more much artful:

I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today’s ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.

As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today’s decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

(Emphasis mine.) There’s a lot of obfuscatory (“artful”) blather here, but the statement may not quite be artful enough. Not the emphasized sentence, implying that Chicago’s gun ban works. Presumably, if it works, it must be constitutional, right?

The problem is, the Chicago gun ban is virtually identical to the unconstitutional DC gun ban, and will likely be overturned in short order. As Michael Goldfarb points out, Chicago Mayor Daley’s angry response to the ruling indicates he expects that to happen.

So is Obama saying that the Chicago ban is constitutional? His campaign turns on the art:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is hedging on whether Chicago’s ban on handguns is constitutionally permissible in the wake of Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down a similar law in Washington, D.C. . .

But Obama’s spokesman says that the reference to “what works in Chicago” does not indicate his view on the constitutionality of Chicago law.

“He didn’t point out anything specific except for the fact that they are two different places where different solutions are often appropriate,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

So the mention of Chicago, the city obvious to all as the next battleground in gun rights, was just a meaningless turn of phrase?  Please.

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