He feared the ‘Obama gun ban’

HE FEARED THE ‘OBAMA GUN BAN’…. The latest gun massacre occurred this morning in Pittsburgh. This one had a more political bent than most.

A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said. Friends said he recently had been upset about losing his job and that he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns. […]

Friends identified the suspect as Richard Poplawski, 23, but police would not immediately confirm his name. The gunman was arrested after a four-hour standoff, police said. […]

Edward Perkovic said Poplawski, his best friend, feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on the way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.”

It wouldn’t be fair to blame right-wing propaganda for Poplawski slaying these police officers. Plenty of people have heard the far-right talking points and only a small handful have been driven to violence. As John Cole noted this morning, “Sure, crazy people do crazy things. But that doesn’t make it responsible to encourage them, which is what a lot of really foolish people are doing right now for purely political reasons.”

Exactly. As David Neiwert, who documents these kinds of right-wing activities, recently reported, there was a lengthy segment on Fox News two weeks ago in which Glenn Beck and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre insisted that Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights are “under attack” from the Obama administration. What’s more, as Neiwert noted this morning, the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran a story just three days ago about “speculation that President Obama might pull the trigger on tighter regulations for gun ownership.” The article quoted a gun-store salesman raising the specter of a “confiscation of firearms” from the government.

Everyone would benefit if the right could just lower the temperature a bit.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.