Wednesday night marked the last time we’ll see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the presidential debate stage for 2016. In less than three weeks, either Clinton or Trump will be our next POTUS.
If you watched last night then you saw, as I did, the Second Amendment take center stage at the outset of the debate. It was raised by Trump after Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked the candidates about their views on the Supreme Court and the Constitution.
“We need a Supreme Court that in my opinion is going to uphold the second amendment and all amendments, but the second amendment which is under absolute siege,” said Trump in his response.
“I believe, if my opponent should win this race, which I truly don’t think will happen, we will have a second amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now,” the GOP nominee continued.
Trump added that the 20 or so potential appointees he’s named all have a “conservative bent,” would protect the Second Amendment and “interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.”
Wallace followed up Trump’s response by asking Clinton specifically about a statement she made in which she claimed, “The Supreme Court got it wrong on the Second Amendment,” and whether that was in reference to the high court’s 2008 landmark Heller Decision that struck down the D.C. ban on handguns and affirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right not contingent upon militia service.
Clinton responded, “Well, first of all, I support the second amendment. I lived in Arkansas for 18 wonderful years. I represented upstate New York. I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership that goes back to the founding of our country, but I also believe that there can be and must be reasonable regulation.”
The Democratic presidential nominee went on to name some of her “reasonable regulation,” mentioning “comprehensive background checks,” the “need to close the online loophole,” and the “gun show loophole.” She said these regulations are sensible and “are not in any way conflicting with the Second Amendment.”
As far as her explanation of opposing the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, Clinton said that the “District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns. And so they wanted people with guns to safely store them. And the court did not accept that reasonable regulation but they’ve accepted many others.”
Wallace then pivoted backed to Trump and asked him if he found Hillary’s answer convincing, i.e., that she wants to protect the Second Amendment.
Trump missed an opportunity to hammer Clinton on her anti-gun views, and instead repeated himself about how Clinton was “extremely angry about it [the Heller decision],” and that she was “very, very angry,” and “Hillary was extremely upset,” and “extremely angry,” and that Second Amendment supporters were “very upset with what she had to say.”
Wallace asked Clinton if she was upset. In a slippery move, she ducked the question and brought up “dozens of toddlers” injuring themselves and “even killing people with guns” because gun owners don’t take appropriate precautions with loaded firearms (NOTE: this coincides with a Brady PSA released this week, entitled, “Guns Don’t Kill People, Toddlers Kill People“).
Clinton then said, “But there is no doubt that I respect the second amendment. That I also believe there is an individual right to bear arms. That is not in conflict with sensible, common sense regulation.”
Wow. Just wow. Folks, I have to say it, but Clinton cleaned Trump’s clock on this question. Trump, who is clearly not well read on this issue, could not hold Hillary’s feet to the fire on any of her anti-gun views.
To recap, here are Hillary’s positions on the Second Amendment:
- Does Clinton support banning commonly owned and widely popular black rifles? Yes.
- Does Clinton support banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition? Yes.
- Does Clinton support a national gun registration? Yes.
- Does Clinton support criminalizing private transfers? Yes.
- Does Clinton support Australian-style (mandatory) gun buyback program aka confiscation? Yes.
- Does Clinton support May-Issue or No-Issue concealed carry laws? Yes.
- Does Clinton oppose the Heller decision affirming one’s individual right to keep and bear arms? Yes.
- Does Clinton support repealing the law (PLCAA) that protects gun makers from frivolous lawsuits? Yes.
That whole line about her being upset with the Heller decision because it didn’t protect toddlers is complete B.S. Brilliantly, she’s found a way to pivot from the central point of the Heller decision, which as mentioned struck down the D.C. ban on handguns and affirmed one’s individual right to keep and bear arms, and make it about the storage of firearms to protect toddlers.
Do you want to know where that whole toddler line came about? Well, after audio was leaked from a fundraiser in New York, in 2015, where Clinton said, “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get,” one of her policy advisors came up with this line of nonsense.
“Clinton believes Heller was wrongly decided in that cities and states should have the power to craft common sense laws to keep their residents safe, like safe storage laws to prevent toddlers from accessing guns,” Maya Harris, a policy adviser to Clinton, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News in May of 2016. “In overturning Washington D.C.’s safe storage law, Clinton worries that Heller may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future.”
It’s a sleight of hand, is what it is. Clinton is engaged in a clever play of misdirection. See, safe storage laws currently exist in places like Massachusetts and New York and California. States have the power to pass those laws, specifically as it relates to the transportation of firearms and storing firearms not in use.
Now, in addition to the D.C. handgun ban, Heller also struck down a draconian D.C. law that required gun owners to keep all firearms disassembled or inoperable, even those kept around for self-defense (Can you imagine being required to keep a trigger lock on your concealed carry pistol or your home defense AR disassembled?). However, there was no mention of this D.C. storage requirement in relation to saving children or toddlers. That was pure B.S. fabricated by Clinton’s policy wonk.
On the whole, Heller doesn’t stand in the way of certain safe storage laws nor does it stand in the way of “reasonable regulations” per the ruling penned by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. What Heller stops is overtly draconian gun laws, i.e. the D.C. ban on handguns or the D.C. law that requires one to keep one’s home defense gun disassembled.
So, by opposing Heller, what Clinton is actually saying is she wants to go back to the age of pre-Heller where states and local government have carte blanche to gut the Second Amendment as they see fit. If given the opportunity, she will appoint justices that embrace this perspective and overturn what has become the safeguard for gun rights in the USA.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) October 20, 2016
Another worthy point to consider is that Clinton has flip-flopped on whether the Second Amendment is and individual right to keep and bear arms or one contingent upon militia service. At the debate Wednesday night she said she accepted it as an “individual right,” but a few months back she completely dodged the question in an interview with ABC New’s George Stephanopoulos.
So, there you have it. We have one candidate who knows very little about the Second Amendment but has promised to protect it via an allegiance to the NRA and conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. And we have another candidate who has been openly hostile to the Second Amendment and has vowed to chip away at it in all sorts of creative ways. While our choice in this election is not ideal, it’s certainly clear. I know who I’m voting for, how about you?