One of the stranger revelations of this election season is that gun retailers are gearing up for a surge in winter sales if President Barack Obama is re-elected — similar to what happened after his election in 2008.

Never mind that no significant piece of gun legislation has passed during Obama’s first term, and the president has never listed gun control as a priority. Second Amendment enthusiasts continue to suspect him of secretly yearning to restrict gun ownership — or even to confiscate weapons if he could.

And their fears are stoked by the likes of the National Rifle Association, whose spokesman was quoted recently in The Wall Street Journal as warning that “there’s no political downside if Obama enacts more stringent gun-control measures” in his second term.

Oh, please.

True, polls in recent years have consistently affirmed that Americans believe it’s more important to protect the right to own guns than to enact gun control.

The problem with such all-or-nothing questions, however, is that they don’t leave room for opinion on specific policies. After all, banning high-capacity gun magazines doesn’t threaten the right to bear arms.

So, yes, it’s important for elected officials to understand that Americans for the most part remain strong supporters of Second Amendment rights, even in the wake of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t enact sensible reforms that reduce the likelihood of such crimes — or at least the likelihood of their success.

— The Denver Post, Sept. 23

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