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Election 2016: The Threat To Gun Rights And Our Way Of Living

Election 2016: The Threat To Gun Rights And Our Way Of Living

Photo credit: Michael Ives

This feature appears in the November ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

At the Democratic presidential debate on Oct. 13, 2015, Hillary Clinton and her rival candidates were asked, “Which enemy are you most proud of?” In response, Clinton named the NRA. 

The answer was as revealing as it was revolting. Here was a person seeking to lead all Americans as their president, declaring that 5 million of her fellow citizens are “enemies”—merely because they believe in their right to self-defense, a natural right that is guaranteed by the Constitution. 

Hillary’s language and conduct were characteristic of a woman who has spent the past quarter of a century attacking the rights of law-abiding gun owners. She has a lengthy track record of pushing nearly every imaginable gun control scheme. And she has made it clear that she plans to target gun owners on her “very first day” in office.This election, simply voting on Nov. 8 is not enough. NRA members must work to alert their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who are receptive to our message of freedom to the danger that Clinton poses.

Such an unparalleled threat to freedom requires an unprecedented effort from gun rights supporters. 

This election, simply voting on Nov. 8 is not enough. NRA members must work to alert their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who are receptive to our message of freedom to the danger that Clinton poses. Moreover, gun rights advocates have a duty to reach out to those who might still have hard feelings about a contentious primary process, or who are reluctant to support a major party candidate after what has been at times a turbulent election season. NRA members must do all we can to convey to our communities the stark consequences of a Clinton presidency. 

The Supreme Court 

Clinton has the potential to inflict irreparable harm to our rights through her nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court. 

In the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the court determined that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and it held that the federal government cannot prohibit handgun possession in the home for self-defense. Subsequently, in the 2010 case McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right and made clear that its protections bind the actions of state and local governments. 

Clinton and her surrogates have repeatedly made clear that she does not agree with the court’s rulings in Heller and McDonald

In September 2015, Clinton expressed her hostility to those decisions at a Manhattan fundraiser. An audio recording of Clinton’s remarks captured her stating, “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.” 

Clinton has made good on that pledge. In May, New York magazine reported that during a private discussion at a Connecticut campaign event, Clinton called the Heller ruling “a terrible decision.” 

When given an opportunity to clarify her attacks on the court’s rulings, Clinton refused to acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. During a June appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos asked Clinton, “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 attempted to dodge the question, but Stephanopoulos pressed on. Clinton finally responded by answering, “If it’s a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations.” Clinton’s “if” is further proof that she is not willing to concede that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. 

“We need to license and register all handguns. … Licensing gun owners and registering their guns are two of the most important pieces of a real gun safety policy.” Hillary Clinton, 2000With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, only four of the justices who recognized that the Second Amendment conveyed an individual right in the Heller and McDonald cases remain on the court. The next president will nominate the justice who would cast the tie-breaking vote in future Second Amendment decisions and could potentially nominate several more. When asked about the topic of court nominees in February, Clinton stated that she has “a bunch of litmus tests” for whom she would nominate. Given her explicit attacks on the court’s Second Amendment decisions, it is reasonable to conclude that sharing the candidate’s position on this issue is one such test. 

Making matters worse, Clinton already has an ally on the court who intends to overturn Heller if presented with the opportunity. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2009 publicly discussed overturning Heller, describing Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in the case as “appealing to the intelligence of a future day.” Earlier this year, Ginsburg reiterated her position, telling The New York Times that Heller was “a very bad decision,” and conveying that “a chance to reconsider it could arise whenever the court considers a challenge to a gun control law.” 

Clinton campaign officials and her proxies in the establishment press have gone to great lengths to try to hide her true position on our right to keep and bear arms and what was actually decided in Heller. But despite what her supporters would have you believe, she will stop at nothing to eliminate the Second Amendment-protected freedoms of law-abiding Americans. 

Clinton Wants To Ban Commonly Owned Firearms And Has Contemplated Australian-Style Confiscation

Throughout her public life, Clinton has advocated banning commonly owned semi-automatic firearms. As first lady, she pushed for passage of her husband’s gun ban. In 1994, she misled the public by claiming on CNN that such firearms “have really only one purpose. They were manufactured and designed for war, for killing people.” Clinton repeated this ridiculous assertion in her infamous book It Takes a Village.Clinton has spent her political career distinguishing herself as a singular threat to our rights. Gun owners have no choice but to present a united front to this existential danger. 

Despite Department of Justice-funded research that found the ban to be ineffective, then-Sen. Clinton sought to reauthorize the 1994 ban in March 2004. Playing on unfounded fears, she stated on the Senate floor, “I can’t even begin to imagine what this nation will be like at the end of this September if the assault weapons ban is not renewed.” During both of her presidential campaigns, Hillary has made banning commonly owned semi-automatic firearms a cornerstone of her gun control policies. 

In October 2015, she further revealed her irrational hatred of certain types of firearms by endorsing Australian-style gun confiscation. 

In 1996, Australia prohibited possession of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Australia’s legislation also imposed a near-total ban on pump-action shotguns. As part of Australia’s enforcement strategy, gun owners were forced to turn in their banned firearms for predetermined compensation. Though incorrectly dubbed a “buyback” by some, the measures amounted to confiscation since the mere possession of the restricted firearms was banned. 

After being asked at a campaign event in New Hampshire if the U.S. could adopt such a confiscation scheme, Hillary praised Australia’s efforts as a “good example” of a national response to a “mass killing.” Later in her response, she said, “I don’t know enough details to tell you … how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.” 

Clinton Has Supported Nearly Every Type Of Gun Control

Since her earliest days in national politics, Clinton has sought to enact an endless array of gun controls. Less than a month after her husband was sworn in as president in 1993, the Clinton-chaired President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform was contemplating a tax on firearms. Later that year, when asked about a 25 percent tax on firearms during a Senate Finance Committee hearing, she responded, “I’m all for that.” 

While running for Senate in 2000, Hillary said, “We need to license and register all handguns. … Licensing gun owners and registering their guns are two of the most important pieces of a real gun safety policy.” She also expressed support for “a ballistics database for all new guns.” Her campaign site included a page featuring a litany of her gun control proposals. In addition to federal registration, licensing and a ballistics database, this included limiting handgun purchases to one per month and a ban on affordable handguns. 

On the right to carry, in 1998, Clinton participated in an advertisement for Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.). In the ad, she commended the senator’s efforts “to outlaw concealed weapons.” More recently, in May 2014, Clinton revealed her opposition to the right to carry when she told a crowd, “I think that we’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime.”

During the 2016 Democratic primary, Clinton expressed her intent to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects firearm manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits arising from the criminal misuse of their products. Prior to the enactment of the PLCAA, gun control advocates had schemed to bankrupt the firearm industry with frivolous lawsuits. Clinton has repeatedly pledged to overturn the PLCAA if she’s elected president. 

Choose Freedom 

On Nov. 8, gun owners will play a vital role in shaping the future of our Second Amendment-protected freedom for future generations. Clinton has spent her political career distinguishing herself as a singular threat to our rights. Gun owners have no choice but to present a united front to this existential danger. For those who cherish our constitutional freedoms, the choice in this race is clear—and that choice is Donald J. Trump for president

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