ABC News' Teddy Davis and Alexa Ainsworth Report: With the Supreme Court poised to rule on Washington, D.C.'s, gun ban, the Obama campaign is disavowing what it calls an "inartful" statement to the Chicago Tribune last year in which an unnamed aide characterized Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as believing that the DC ban was constitutional.
"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.
The statement which Burton describes as an inaccurate representation of the senator's views was made to the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 20, 2007.
In a story entitled, "Court to Hear Gun Case," the Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant and Michael J. Higgins wrote ". . . the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he '...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.'"
The Chicago Tribune clip from Nov. 20, 2007, is an inaccurate representation of Obama's views, according to Burton, because the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has refrained from developing a position on whether the D.C. gun law runs afoul of the Second Amendment.
When Obama has been asked on multiple occasions to weigh in on the D.C. gun case he has regularly maintained that the Second Amendment provides an individual right while at the same time saying that right is not absolute and that the Constitution does not prevent local governments from enacting what Obama calls "common sense laws."
Although he has been willing to describe his general views on this topic, Obama has sidestepped the question of whether the ban in the nation's capital runs afoul of the Second Amendment.
Asked by ABC News' Charlie Gibson if he considers the D.C. law to be consistent with an individual's right to bear arms at ABC's April 16, 2008, debate in Philadelphia, Obama said, "Well, Charlie, I confess I obviously haven't listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by contrast, has been forthcoming when it comes to the D.C. gun law. He signed an amicus brief in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, signaling not only his belief in the Second Amendment but also his view that the DC gun ban is incompatible with it.
The D.C. ban prohibits residents from keeping handguns inside their homes and requires that lawfully registered guns, such as shotguns, be locked and unloaded when kept at home.