CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked President Barack Obama on Thursday night if it was “fair” to refer to a “conspiracy theory” to describe those fearful of the federal government confiscating guns.
Obama mentioned the “conspiracy theory” during a town-hall event with CNN on gun control, two days after he took executive action to expand background checks on gun buyers.
“Let me just jump in,” said Cooper, who was moderating the discussion. “Is it fair to call it a conspiracy?”
“There are a lot of people who really believe this deeply,” the anchor continued. “They just don’t trust you.”
“I’m sorry, Cooper,” Obama replied, sounding exasperated as he continued: “Yes. It is fair to call it a conspiracy. What are you saying? Are you suggesting the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody’s guns away so we can impose martial law is a conspiracy? Yes, it is a conspiracy. I would hope you would agree with that. Is that controversial?”
Cooper said some Americans believe that Obama will try to go “further and further” in imposing stricter gun controls.
“I mean, look. I’m only going to be here for another year!” Obama quipped in response. “I don’t know — when would I have started on this enterprise, right?”
The president also said such a fear was impractical. He compared it to a hypothetical situation in which he wanted to take unsafe prescription drugs off the market.
“Maybe when I propose to make sure that unsafe drugs are taken off the market, that secretly I’m trying to control the entire drug industry — or take people’s drugs away,” Obama said. “But probably not. What’s more likely is I just want to make sure that people are not dying.”