Image source: CNN screen capture
WASHINGTON — The belief that Hillary Clinton wants to ban or severely restrict private ownership of guns is not a fantasy. There is, in fact, plenty of evidence from Clinton’s own statements, and those of her supporters, indicating the former first lady would like to see an end to Second Amendment rights.
Some of Clinton’s most radical antigun statements even were made on national television.
A review of interviews and articles shows there are at least three reasons we should be concerned about her position on guns:
1. Hillary Clinton does not believe the Second Amendment grants Americans a constitutional right to “keep and bear arms.”
On June 5, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos had this discussion with Clinton on ABC’s This Week, where she refused to give a “yes” or “no” answer to a simple constitutional question:
Stephanopoulos: “Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right, that it’s not linked to service in a militia?”
Clinton: “I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulation. So I believe we can have common sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment, and, in fact, what I have proposed is supported by 90 percent of the American people and more than 75 percent of responsible gun owners.”
Stephanopoulos: “But … do you believe [the Supreme Court’s conclusion] that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right?”
Clinton: “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulation. And what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possibly can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms.
“So I think it’s important to recognize that reasonable people can say, as I do, responsible gun owners have a right — I have no objection to that. But the rest of the American public has a right to require certain kinds of regularity, responsible actions to protect everyone else.”
Clinton never answered the question by Stephanopoulos.
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2. Clinton would like to see the US Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Heller overturned.
Heller was the 2008 decision in which the justices, along a narrow 5-4 vote, ruled that the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to own guns for self-defense and bars government from completely banning firearms ownership.
“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, wrote in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg Politics. “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.”
The Washington, D.C., law essentially banned the ownership of handguns within the city.
The Heller decision was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. Scalia’s replacement apparently will be appointed by the next president.
The four dissenting justices signed an opinion that read: “There is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” That dissenting opinion also said the Second Amendment protects guns only connected with militia or military service.
3. Clinton has called Australia’s ban on guns a good idea.
In 1996, following a mass shooting, Australia banned semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns. The law implemented a mandatory gun buyback program that resulted in 1 million rifles and shotguns being confiscated.
During a campaign rally in October 2015, Clinton said of the Australia gun model: “I don’t know enough details to tell you how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australia example is worth looking at,” she said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
Australian law also prevents guns from being purchased for self-defense. “Personal protection will not be regarded as a genuine reason for owning, possessing or using a firearm,” reads the 1996 law, known as the National Firearms Agreement.
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