(Adds comments from Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.)
(CNSNews.com) – President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is showing its hostility toward lawful firearm owners by “weeding out” job applicants who own firearms themselves, a Second Amendment group says.
The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) notes that question 59 – part of a 63-item questionnaire given to Obama administration job applicants – asks for information about firearms owned by the applicant and his or her family.
Found in the questionnaire’s “Miscellaneous” section, question 59 reads, “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”
Other questions in the Miscellaneous section ask about the applicant’s postings on Facebook and MySpace Web sites; health and medical status; associations with groups that could be used against the applicant; and any other information that could prove embarrassing to the applicant.
Although it’s not clear that gun ownership would disqualify a job applicant, ISRA says question 59 shows the Obama team’s “distaste” for firearm owners.
"Question 59 provides clear insight into how Obama and his people perceive firearm owners," said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. “The questionnaire poses a number of questions asking the applicant to reveal any unethical activities, or embarrassing Internet chats, then wraps up by asking if anyone in the applicant's family owns a firearm. Obviously, Obama feels that owning a firearm is akin to talking dirty in Internet chat rooms.”
Pearson says the attitude is not surprising, given that Obama – as an Illinois State senator -- voted for SB1195, which included a provision calling for gun owners to be registered in the same manner as sex offenders.
"Once again, we have to ask ourselves just what candidate Obama was talking about when he said he has 'respect' for the 2nd Amendment," said Pearson.
ISRA, which describes itself as an advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership, has posted a copy of the questionnaire on its Web site.
The National Rifle Association also noted the anti-Second Amendment implications of the Obama's team's employment questionnaire:
"[A]s this litmus test shows, they have every intention of putting together an administration that is hostile to firearms ownership and to Second Amendment rights," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
"One of their first official acts is to make a list of gun owners among their own employees. It proves where their hearts are. It shows what their philosophy is. This is more proof that this administration is coming after our freedom and NRA stands ready."
At least one Republican took offense at the Obama team's decision to question job applicants about gun ownership.
“I am deeply disturbed that President-elect Obama is asking job applicants whether they or members of their family own guns. Millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms and they should not be discriminated against.,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on Friday.
“The questionnaire already seeks information about illegal activity so there is no reason to ask this question unless the Obama Administration plans to use it to discriminate based on lawful activity. For this reason, I will seek to enact legislation to prohibit this type of discrimination,” DeMint added.