Why can’t Hillary Clinton say whether or not the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms? It seems like a simple enough question, yet Hillary Clinton punted—not once, but twice—when she was asked that by former Clinton White House employee George Stephanopoulos during a recent appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
Clinton hasn’t been as reluctant on the campaign trail. In the fall of 2015, she told attendees at a New York fundraiser that the Supreme Court wrongly decided the Heller case striking down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and gun storage laws. Then at the University of Bridgeport in April, Clinton referred to the Supreme Court’s “terrible” decision in Heller. It’s pretty clear the presumptive Democrat candidate for president isn’t okay with the fact that you have an individual right to keep and bear arms. And it’s also apparent that Clinton doesn’t want to come right out and say so, because she knows the vast majority of Americans disagree with her.
The biggest priority right now for anti-gun activists and politicians in this country is to try and build credibility for their cause. But in order to do that, they have to try and stick to their approved talking points. That means, first and foremost, to try to portray themselves as not anti-gun at all, just supportive of so-called “common-sense gun safety reforms.” They say they don’t support “gun-control laws,” they support “closing loopholes.” They’re quick to use tragedy to tweet about their cause (often with a virtue-signaling selfie included), but they’re loath to call for specific policy remedies. What they really want right now is to create the idea of real support behind the same old anti-gun organizations and schemes.
Meanwhile, violence is trending up in many cities where anti-gun officials have dominated public office for decades. Homicide is up again this year in Washington, D.C., where officials refuse to acknowledge the right to bear arms for self-defense outside of the home. More than 100 people have been murdered in Baltimore this year, where it’s virtually impossible to legally carry a firearm for self-defense. In Chicago, elected officials have made it nearly impossible for a gun store and range to open up inside the city limits, ensuring that legally owning a firearm and getting a concealed-carry license will be a truly burdensome and painful process for the good people in bad neighborhoods. All the while, Chicago aldermen still enjoy the right to carry a firearm as a perk of their job. Have you seen Clinton or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel vow to close the “Alderman Loophole”? Didn’t think so. The biggest priority right now for anti-gun activists and politicians in this country is to try and build credibility for their cause.
How often do these anti-gun politicians and policy pushers declare it’s time for a “debate,” or a “conversation,” or even “some straight talk” about gun ownership? And how often are they actually willing to engage in a debate, or a conversation, or straight talk? Clinton can’t even answer a simple question about whether or not the Second Amendment protects an individual right, yet they want to lecture gun owners about our supposed unwillingness to talk about the issue? Project much?
Here’s my answer to the question Hillary ducked on ABC. Of course the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Promoting knowledge and the responsible use of firearms is a good thing for society, even (maybe especially) in places where gun ownership has been taboo and/or largely illegal for several generations.
Treating law-abiding gun owners as if they’re the cause of violent crime isn’t healthy for our constitutionally protected rights, and it’s not good for public safety either. When law enforcement start making the most violent criminals in the community the first priority—when there is community buy-in on the efforts to target the worst offenders—the cycle of violence can, in fact, be interrupted. Homicides and violent assaults can drop dramatically. Kids can play in front of their homes again. People can sit on their front porches on summer evenings again. Neighborhoods can become safe again.
But that won’t happen by going after law-abiding gun owners. And despite Clinton’s evasive answer on the Second Amendment, she made it very clear that if elected, it’s the law-abiding gun owners she’ll be targeting.