On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the Obama administration’s stance on gun control, specifically regarding so-called “assault weapons” (typically, sporting rifles with specific cosmetic features). In response to a reporter’s inquiry, Earnest stated that President Obama is still making an argument for a ban on assault weapons, “increasing” background checks, and other gun control measures.

“You don’t need an assault weapon to go hunting,” the press secretary told reporters. “That certainly is not part of anybody’s family heritage or family tradition. And so these are the kinds of arguments that the President has been making for some time.”

Many Second Amendment advocates responded negatively to Earnest’s comments, arguing that firearms are used for more than just hunting. Gun rights supporters have long criticized lawmakers for what they see as an attempt to skew the gun control debate towards hunting instead of self-defense. Advocates say that hunting, recreational shooting, and the option of self-defense is all part of the right to be armed.

Gun rights supporters were even more shocked when Earnest seemed to indicate that the use guns for self-defense was only applicable in rural areas.

“The president also heard from those who said things to him like, when you live in a small town or out in the country, local law enforcement can be quite a ways away, and the desire to have a firearm in that kind of setting is a perfectly reasonable one and, again, entirely consistent with protected constitutional rights,” Earnest said.

However, he followed up by saying that “the president would also point out that in an urban setting, for example, or at least in an area that’s more densely populated, that there are different factors that are involved, and that even in the kinds of settings that are being described there in a more rural community there are still some common-sense things that we can do.”

Earnest’s lengthy response was directed towards a question regarding President Obama’s comments about gun control, especially after national tragedies such as the church shooting in Charleston last week. The reporter added that talking about gun control measures so soon can be a “put off” to people who were still grieving.

You can see the full briefing below. Skip to the comment on “assault weapons” around the 41-minute mark.


Image screenshot of video by The White House on YouTube

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28 thoughts on “White House: “Assault Weapons” Not “Family Heritage,” Should Be Banned

  1. Tell the folks who live near the New York escapees that they don’t need an “assault weapon”, however you define it. They will laugh in your face, and may even gladly change places with you. it’s just one example of why someone might “need” an AR-15 or an AK-47. Are you even aware of what those escapees are capable of? Why should the question of need vs. want even enter the discussion when the U.S. Constitution allows you the choice?

  2. That is an assumptive, false statement. I am forty years old, and have had a semi automatic rifle in one form or another since I was about twelve years old. I inherited them from my grandfather, and I took plenty of game with them over the years. Acting like magazine fed semi automatic rifles are some new development in the firearm world is laughable. Unless you’re a novice.

  3. “Need”?
    “Assault Weapon”

    Gee and I thought it said: “shall not be infringed”?

  4. This President and most all other Democrats do not get the true meaning of the 2nd amendment, nor do they understand the facts about the current weapons available on the market for civilian use and ownership. Number 1, The 2nd amendment was not written about hunting. There is no reference to hunting in the amendment, either implicit or implied. Stop trying to create one. Just the fact that you make up stories and try to make them implied as law is a violation of trust with the people that elected you. Number two, There are no “Assault Weapons” for sale to the civilian population. Your constant abuse of the phrase “Assault Weapons” is once again attempting to paint a picture that you can use to mark the weapons available for civilian use illegal. These weapons have no actual function that is any more ominous or deadly than any other semi automatic weapon. Military weapons of the same general appearance are select fire weapons, and have the ability to fire either one shot per trigger pull, a burst of 3 shots per trigger pull, or fully automatic fire. Fully Automatic and Select fire weapons are already banned for civilian use or ownership without a special permit that is not easy or inexpensive to obtain.
    The problem that I find with the liberal or progressive mind set is that they fear weapons, the reason they fear them in my opinion, from many that I have debated with, is that they fear that they do not have the mental control or willpower Not to use them in a situation where they get angry. Just look at many of the posts on social media that demand the shooting or killing of armed civilian legal gun owners that carry their weapons openly. The suggestion that someone call the police and report someone carrying a gun in the open waving it around, when in fact they are just people going about their business and minding their own. These are prime examples of the feelings and tendencies toward violence that the liberal displays. No wonder they don’t want gun ownership, they cannot even trust themselves.

    1. @Art: They understand it perfectly. They know exactly what they are saying and how it is not correct. All they are doing is repeating the lie until it becomes truth.

  5. Why is it that when some tradegy happens to involve a firearm that the rest of the leagle gun owners have to suffer. The president is wrong about owning assault style firearms for hunting. I know of many people who have hunted with an M1 or an AR15 for both big game and small. What needs to happen is the criminal who commits these types of crimes should not get any plea deals. Stop wheeling and dealing with the attorneys and just make things cut and dry. In the case of the church shooter he should get life in prison or the death penalty period. Our second amendment rights should be protected at all cost and not chopped up by those who think they can speak for the rest of us. Face it, if I don’t like fast food I just don’t eat it. In the same respect I don’t knock someone who does it’s their freedom to do so, and that’s what it is all about FREEDOM!

    1. Ben, an AR15 is not an assault rifle and I would bet the M1 was also a semi automatic rifle as well. Yes the media is calling them assault rifles because that makes them scary and makes the sheep want to get rid of them. But no military would use an AR-15 to go into battle with, they would use an M-16 or M-4 variant that is capable of select fire (full auto or 3 round bursts). But once again its the evil “assault weapons” even though the scumbag used a .45 in the church.

  6. The right of the people shall not be infringed. If you choose not to own a weapon that is your choice. I won’t think less of you for your choice. But I choose to own weapons. Most of my family own weapons. Part of them want nothing to do with them. Again their choice. But to wrongly ban any weapons based on their looking like a military weapon which is already closely regulated is fear mongering. Should I be scared when the police show up with a riot gun in response to a barking dog complaint?. Should I be scared when I witness policemen practice with semi automatic weapons at the gun range? Or should I be scared when I see SWAT teams running around in a show of force looking for one person? By the time law enforcement arrives at the scene of a crime the criminals are usually gone. Protect and serve then becomes ask questions then leave.

  7. The “Democrat Socialists of America” have 70 congressional public servants as members today! The “New World Order” the Illuminati, Bilderbergs, Freemasons, and the U.N. These are the people responsible for mass shootings in America! They would kill their mothers for a “New World Order”! They are the ones who selected Obama! They run the Global banking systems, they want American citizens disarmed! They want everything! They are evil, and every American Patriot, not socialists, should LockNLoad, and fight for our lives!

    1. It is Obvious you know absolutely NOTHING about the Freemasons of the World. You must be a Mason to be a Shriner. All the Shriner’s of the World care about are helping burned and crippled children! We also swear to defend our flag on the Bible, so please take the time to learn more about the Masons of whom you speak sir!

  8. There is no such thing as an “Assault Rifle”. It’s a term used to paint a negative or scary picture of current sporting rifles. If any further ban is instituted, your Remington 1100 “Assault Shotgun” will be next followed by an all out ban on all firearms.

    It’s not the firearm that this is the issue. The Oklahoma City bombers killed 168 innocent people and didn’t use a firearm. Banning the legal ownership of firearms is not affecting the cause, just affecting a symptom.

  9. As far as “assault weapons” are concerned, as long as those in power have them, so will I. As long as those who have the power and resolve to oppress me, I will be equally as armed as they are. Period.

    An assault rifle has three distinct characteristics according to the United States military.
    1. The firearm must be chambered to an intermediate cartridge.
    2. The firearm must have a detachable box magazine.
    3. The firearm must be capable of selective fire.

    It must have all three to be an Assault Weapon and #3 is already an NFA item.

    The United States of America is the greatest military power in the world. Our military capabilities far surpass those of any other nation on earth. The reality is: Take just two states of the union for this example we’ll choose Pennsylvania & Michigan; If only the portion of Michigan & Pennsylvania’s population which had hunting licenses took up arm s which is roughly 1,005,000 & 1,299,372 people (total 2,304,372), you would have the LARGEST STANDING ARMY IN THE WORLD by over nearly 1 million bodies. That doesn’t include non-hunters who are armed, sport & competitive shooters, recreational shooters prior military and law enforcement in those states. Add people the other states and the number grows to nearly incomprehensible size.

    This was part of the original thinking behind the 2nd amendment. Our system was designed to operate behind a system of checks and balances, and being equally armed as those who have the power is one of those checks and balances.

    The 2nd amendment HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HUNTING. Think about it. Back then, people hunted for their food. It was the ONLY way to survive and feed one’s family. There were no grocery stores. Because hunting was a common and everyday activity, why in the world would the founders feel it necessary to guarantee the right to hunt in a bill of rights whose power is derived from God? They didn’t. Therefore, the primary purpose for the 2nd amendment is as I stated above.

    The moral of the story here is:

    We the People have loaned out power to you, the Government and ultimately have the ability to govern the Government through the constitutionally protected democratic process.

    Federal Statute in 10 U.S.C. § 502
    Enlistment oath:

    “I, (YOUR NAME HERE), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    See the Order?

    0. solemnly swear(to God)
    1. support and defend the Constitution
    2. bear true faith and allegiance to the (same) Constitution
    3. orders of the President of the United States
    4. orders of the officers appoint ed over me
    5. regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice
    6. So help me God

    As long as 3, 4 or 5 do not contradict 0, 1, 2 and 6.

    USC › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 13 › § 241
    Conspiracy against rights

    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

    They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    Feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to give you a primer on the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and what the term Freedom means.

    Ryan E. Sexton
    SSG, US Army, Ret.

    In Defenso Fidei Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam – Incomitatus Lupus

    Ephesians 6:12. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
    against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
    wickedness in high places.”

    1. Ken here in Maine, 66 yrs. old, a studier of law & history for 35 yrs. I’d be very interested in reading your primer on the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and what the term Freedom means.

      Thank You Ryan for Your Service


  10. In November, 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote “The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I would add today “and innocents”. People are four times more likely to be assaulted in church than they are in a school. They too are soft targets where no one is armed or prepared to deal with violence. I think churches need to be prepared to handle problems and confrontations with folks from off the street with training for their ushers, clearly stated policies from both the congregation and the clerics, and a plan for action (or inaction). There are those who would indeed chose non-violence over armed resistance.
    It does not seem to me that the state, federal or local government can protect me from someone who seeks victims in our sanctuary. They can enact laws that will prohibit me from protecting myself those seeking to strike out at worshipers. Even if guns are all confiscated, today we sentence a young man that killed and maimed even a greater number of people in Boston with a pressure cooked and readily available information from the internet.
    The only way to prevent such acts would be to close churches since they attract this type of criminal. Whether the motivation is racism, marital discord, sectarian disputes, economics, plain insanity or politics, the meek may indeed inherit the earth, but sometimes it is six feet of it at a time. I think it a ludicrous and ridiculous proposal to abrogate our first amendment rights, but if our leaders are ready to abridge our second amendment rights,why not consider editing our first amendment rights as well? Obviously one solution is more politically expedient than the other.

  11. I think the prez should reed the constitution and take a short jump off a tall bridge the right to bare arms dose not say what kind of a gun or how many guns a person can have if the bad guy has a machine gun and you have a slingshot what happens if the bad guys have machine guns then so should we some times you have got to fight fire with fire water dose not all ways work so try and take what I have and then you will be the bad guy we have the right to protect our selves from tyrants no mater where they come from whether they are half way around the world or at our U S capital we live in a free nation and we need to keep it that way so send your ass here to take my gun or guns and we will see who has the right to bare arms un infringed
    if you wont to take guns assault weapons from the people start with your body guards and the secret service U S marshals the F B I the C I A first then bring our army navy air force marines home to protect us from those who would take our freedom from us

  12. People who live in areas with police forces do not need weapons to defend themselves? Let this Whitehouse buffoon try making a 911 call to a moron operator when armed thugs are breaking in, and the most important command of the operator is inevitably, ‘I am going to have to have you calm down.’

  13. Just like the days before the Nazi’s took over Germany, they took everyone’s guns away to better take over and make it easier for them to force people to summit to their Nazi rule. They want to take the weapons away from American’s because they think it will be easier to fight us, They are wimps that do not want a challenge. A true warrior of the past had honor to not fight their enemy UN-armed. They will continue to use the media and events set up by them to brain wash people to give up their guns and pass a law they want. They will discredit any one who is willing to fight for their Country and its laws that our forefathers have set up. Sadly most people of today, bend over for the Government than to stand up against their tyranny. I hate war and violence and have no desire to harm any one but there is appoint where you must stand up against tyranny.

  14. Only a despot with the intention to keep our citizens unable to protect themselves from governmenttakeover would want to ban former military looking weapons.I am 74 years old and was a combat vet 101st airborne viet Nam. I hunt with ww2 style bolt actions , simi auto Mini 14 . All developed for combat George Washington hunted with the same weapons thst he faught the British. Only those leaders like Hitler, stalin, Marx and Obama would want to ban Military desindents.

  15. “When you live in a small town or out in the country, local law enforcement can be quite a ways away, and the desire to have a firearm in that kind of setting is a perfectly reasonable one and, again, entirely consistent with protected constitutional rights”

    I live within city limits and the response time for the police is greater than 8 minutes. Does this mean I should tell intruders, armed robbers, ect, to wait the 8 minutes until help arrives? Don’t think so. Our president, and his misguided followers need to reread the last 4 words of the 2nd amendment…”shall not be infringed.”

  16. “They” are the activists hyperactively assaulting our American culture with their ASSault logic. It’s time for hyperactive retribution through peaceful, but forceful democracy

  17. Does anyone here know if there is any military in the world that uses a semi-automatic rifle as their main battle rifle?

  18. What many don’t seem to understand is that the term “assault rifle” is a made up thing and has been added to based upon what they want to ban. No semi-automatic rifle is an assault weapon, what army in their right mind would lead an assault with semi-automatic weapons?

    You would assault with a fully automatic rifle, like the ones available to almost no one in the United States.

  19. What part of the far left do you guys not understand? It’s not at all about gun control. It’s about control. Plain and simple. It’s about disarming the American public and controlling us. They understand the constitution perfectly and they also understand that in order to control the public they must first disarm us. Do not try reason and logic, because they do not care about anything but power and lining their own pockets. Do not let your guard down and become complacent. EVER. They have been working since the 1950’s to gain control of our educational system and the media, both print and broadcast. They have achieved that. Now, they are coming for us. Keep your powder dry and pass the ammo.

    Semper Fi

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