Once every four years it’s my duty to fight down my gag reflex and discuss the presidential election. But before I do so, I have to emphasize that what follows are my opinions and mine alone, not those of Field & Stream, or Phil Bourjaily, or anyone else.

So, let us begin. Basically, whoever wins, the country is still in deep trouble. Neither candidate has a clue about how to solve any of our major problems. Congress is so useless that it would be incapable of declaring war on the Empire of Japan the day after Pearl Harbor.

So, ignoring all our other dreadful problems, let’s turn to guns, and start with some general facts.

First, campaign promises regarding guns or anything else are meaningless. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention.

Second, a candidate’s credentials as a gun owner/hunter may or may not be an indicator of how good a friend to us he is. Lyndon Johnson was fond of shooting deer from the window of his Cadillac on his Texas ranch, but he eagerly signed the Gun Control Act of 1968 into law.

The administration’s court jester, Joe Biden, is a dedicated anti-gunner. Paul Ryan is apparently a real hunter. However, the Vice Presidency is, in the words of John Nance Garner, a Texan who held the office “…not worth a bucket of warm piss,” so neither of those people is much of a factor either way.

Romney and Obama, for very different reasons, do not understand much of American culture, Romney due to a background of wealth and privilege, Obama because of where he has lived and what his life experience has been. Romney, while governor of Massachusetts, signed a law that is either favorable to gun owners or unfavorable to gun owners, depending on who you listen to, and it’s clear that his principles on gun ownership and everything else are cast in Jello. Obama has avoided doing anything about guns as President, but he has a lengthy voting record on the subject, and it is all bad.

Romney will do and say whatever is most expedient and might, in response to some future gun-related calamity, sign off on a law as sweeping and repugnant as GCA ’68 simply because it seems in his own self interest. It’s highly unlikely, however, that he would initiate one.

Obama is another case. If he gets a second term I think he will be a much different President. He can, and I think he will, cause gun owners an incalculable amount of trouble in the same way Bill Clinton did. In 1994, Slick Willie told the ATF to come down hard on FFL holders, and that is just what the ATF did, putting something like a third of them out of business. Obama could do that again, or he could issue an Executive Order to the ATF to dig up the 4473s of all buyers of AK-47s and then go collect said guns.

Or, since the ATF will go along with any crazed scheme that comes from On High (see Fast and Furious) why stop at AKs? Mr. Obama has said that weapons “designed for soldiers at war do not belong on our streets.” Well, the AR family of guns was designed for soldiers at war, as were the Model 1911 pistol, all Mausers, all Springfields, and so on.

If gun owners go to the polls in sufficient numbers, however, Mr. Obama will not get that chance. It is a dismal choice between him and Romney, but from our standpoint at least, Obama is infinitely worse.

And one more note. It’s doubtful that New York City’s gun-hating munchkin, Michael Bloomberg, will be able to buy a fourth term as mayor. He knows he has no prayer of becoming president, and he’s getting on in years. So it’s quite possible that he will devote his considerable energy and limitless fortune to eliminating firearms from American society, this in the name of “reasonable gun laws.” Unlike Obama, who simply does not see any legitimate need for them, Bloomberg truly detests guns and, most likely, the people who own them. He may turn out to be George Soros to the tenth power.

*I first heard this during the Kennedy/Nixon election in 1960. Things have only gotten worse since.