Obama gets his gun control on

The Obama administration has announced its first major anti-gun initiative:

Gun owners who have historically been able to use public lands for target practice would be barred from potentially millions of acres under new rules drafted by the Interior Department, the first major move by the Obama administration to impose limits on firearms.

Officials say the administration is concerned about the potential clash between gun owners and encroaching urban populations who like to use same land for hiking and dog walking.

“It’s not so much a safety issue. It’s a social conflict issue,” said Frank Jenks, a natural resource specialist with Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres. He adds that urbanites “freak out” when they hear shooting on public lands.

It’s interesting to see them admit that the move is all about placating hoplophobes and not because of any safety issue.

POSTSCRIPT: Meanwhile the House has passed a much-neededĀ national reciprocity bill. Together with the administration’s new anti-gun initiative, this places Democrats who claim to favor gun rights in the hot seat, most notably Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

UPDATE: President Obama backs off the new policy. It’s hard for me to understand what he’s doing, even from a political point of view. He seems to be energizing his opposition while frustrating his support, unless anti-gun activists are really so pathetic as to be encouraged by incomplete gestures.

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