Hillary Clinton’s backers want to convince you that her plans for the U.S. Supreme Court pose no threat to your right to keep and bear arms. But don’t believe it.
With the sudden death in February of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which left the nation’s highest court split 4-to-4 on your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms—and with Hillary Clinton ranting that “the Supreme Court was wrong” to rule that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right—American gun owners are rightly concerned that if Clinton appoints an anti-gun justice to replace Scalia, the Supreme Court could throw open the floodgates to every kind of gun ban and restriction imaginable.
In fact, if the Supreme Court reverses the Heller decision’s explicit protection of the right to arms as an individual right, it would mean anything goes. After all, if cities like Washington, D.C., or Chicago can ban firearms even in your own home for self-defense—what can’t they ban? The simple answer is that nothing would be off limits.
Yet now, with Clinton and her fellow Democrats vowing to impose ever-more-onerous restrictions on the Second Amendment with each passing day, apologists for Clinton are trying to convince Americans that the issue of the Second Amendment in the Supreme Court is moot.
A good example is the UCLA School of Law’s constitutional law professor Adam Winkler, who claims in an article this month in The Atlantic:
“[T]he next Supreme Court justice is not likely to radically shift constitutional law on questions of gun control ... the dirty little secret about Heller is that it doesn’t matter very much.”
Tell that to the residents of Washington, D.C., who were barred for 30 years from owning a handgun—even in their own homes for self-defense—in the city whose violent crime rates were so appalling that D.C. came to be known as the nation’s “Murder Capital.” Just one Clinton Supreme Court appointment would tip the balance against your Second Amendment rights.
Tell it to Otis McDonald, an elderly African-American man who watched as his neighborhood was taken over by drug dealers and gangs, and who was left helpless to defend himself and family in his own home by Chicago’s gun ban. If it weren’t for the precedent set by the Heller case, Otis McDonald never would have seen his civil rights restored through the Supreme Court’s subsequent McDonald vs. Chicago decision.
It’s the hypocrisy that’s so infuriating.
If you’re Hillary Clinton, or former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or some constitutional law professor in the ivory towers of academia, it might be easy to sit in your insulated, security-guarded, gated enclave and pronounce that the Heller decision makes no practical difference—for you.
But if you’re not a member of the media and political elites, and you live in the real world where Americans use firearms 2.5 million times each year to stop or repel criminal attack, the Heller decision can mean the difference between survival and surrender.
Make no mistake: If they can constitutionally deny your right to arms to defend yourself and your family in your own home, you can bet that they can also deny your right to own any gun, anywhere, anytime, for any reason whatsoever.
That, in a nutshell, is what the Heller decision really means. It’s the first time the Supreme Court has explicitly protected the right to keep and bear arms as your individual right.
To claim, as some do today, that Heller makes no practical difference, is to engage in a dangerous form of intellectual dishonesty.
And when they claim they don’t want to overturn that decision, don’t you believe them. Because current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said exactly that!
In a speech titled “The Role of Dissenting Opinions” that she gave to the Harvard Club in Washington, D.C., Justice Ginsburg quoted former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who said, “A dissent in a Court of last resort is an appeal … to the intelligence of a future day, when a later decision may possibly correct the error ...”
And in case anyone wasn’t connecting the dots at that point, as an example of a dissenting opinion “appealing to the intelligence of a future day,” Ginsburg specifically cited the Supreme Court’s Heller decision!