Polls suggest that he is right: Gun owners are not a monolithic bloc of rabid enthusiasts. But that doesn't mean they see any attempt at regulation as an infringement of their constitutional right to bear arms. According to a late December Pew Research Center poll, half of Americans with a gun in their household say assault-style weapons make society more dangerous, while 34 percent of gun owners say such weapons make America safer, suggesting a split between hard-core National Rifle Association supporters and Americans with more centrist views on gun ownership.
Mr. Obama is expected to propose on Wednesday a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as universal background checks.
In that light, showcasing gun owners and gun culture may be a shrewd tactic, Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University, told the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times.
“Right after this happened, it was too soon, too close to the events in Newtown for this,” Mr. Cooper said Tuesday. “But now we’re getting to the point where it’s a policy debate — it’s more about the policy than about one or two events. I think the gun rights advocates need to take back the debate, and this is one attempt to do that."
In promoting "Gun Appreciation Day," Ward points to deeper conspiracy fears among many conservatives and gun owners about a looming imperial presidency aimed at sidelining the Constitution and subjugating Americans by disarming them.
"The Obama administration has shown that it is more than willing to trample the Constitution to impose its dictates upon the American people," said Ward, president of Political Media, Inc., a Washington public relations firm, in a statement. "If the American people don't fight back now, Obama will do to the Second Amendment what he has already done to the First with Obamacare; gut it without a moment's thought to our basic constitutional rights."
Meanwhile, Ward has been criticized for being insensitive and brandishing a gun culture in the faces of those still mourning slain children and teachers.