Hillary Or Bernie: Who Wins Doesn’t Matter To Gun Owners

posted on February 12, 2016
Scott Olson and Andrew Burton

While Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ win over former front-runner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire on Tuesday piqued the interest of many, it makes not a whit of difference to America’s law-abiding gun owners.

Sure, it was surprising that the 74-year-old socialist beat Clinton by such a large margin (60 percent to 38 percent). But the fact that both are solid enemies of the Second Amendment means the only interest gun owners should have in the Democratic primaries is to make sure whichever one gets the nomination is soundly beaten in the general election by a candidate who respects our right to keep and bear arms. 

As we’ve chronicled many times on this website, Hillary Clinton is an unabashed opponent of the Second Amendment and a National Rifle Association hater who has made further restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners a central tenet of her campaign. In fact, she’s hardly ever heard of a restriction (read as, infringement) she doesn’t support.

Among other things, Clinton has voiced or voted her support for:

  • So-called “universal” background checks, which even the Obama administration admits would require gun registration to be effective;
  • Closing the non-existent “gun show loophole,” despite federal law already requiring a background check for all gun sales by licensed dealers.
  • Stifling online advertisement of guns for sale, thereby attacking both the First and Second Amendments;
  • Closing the non-existent “Charleston loophole,” an intentional part of federal firearms law that allows a sale to proceed if the FBI hasn’t completed its background check in three days;
  • Banning semi-automatic rifles as so-called “assault weapons;” and
  • Allowing law-abiding gun makers and gun sellers to be sued for criminal misuse of their products.

Unfortunately, Sanders isn’t far behind Clinton in his disdain for American gun owners and the Second Amendment.And she has certainly not hidden her disdain for the 5 million law-abiding members of the NRA, just last week deriding them for warning of her plans for the Second Amendment.

“‘Oh my gosh, background checks! Oh my gosh, they’ll come for your guns!’” she mocked. “According to them, next thing you know, black helicopters will be in your yard. They are masters at this kind of fearmongering.” 

Of course, it’s Clinton herself who, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, said of the 1996 Australian gun ban and forced confiscation of hundreds of thousands of privately owned firearms: “Certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.” Clinton has also expressed an interest in appointing President Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court. And Obama has also mentioned Australia and the United Kingdom (which also had an enforced gun surrender program) as modeling the correct approach.

Unfortunately, Sanders isn’t far behind Clinton in his disdain for American gun owners and the Second Amendment. While he at least had his vote in support of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) going for him, he’s recently changed his tune on that in an effort to be as anti-gun as Clinton.

Sanders recently announced that he supports the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act—legislation intended to gut the PLCAA and make the gun industry once again vulnerable to frivolous litigation. To understand the importance of Sanders’ flip-flop, one must realize how important the PLCAA is to all of America’s law-abiding gun owners.In truth, no matter how hard you look, you’re not going to find a pro-gun candidate on the Democratic side this election cycle.

The Act, passed in 2005, literally saved the American gun industry from certain doom. Gun-control radicals were most of the way through the process of suffocating manufacturers under the weight of litigation costs. All they had left to do was to increase the volume and tinker around the edges some.

Firearm laws throughout the country could be made as freedom-embracing as possible, but none of them would mean a thing to anyone in practical terms down the road if no business entity on the planet could afford to make the guns Americans needed in order to actually exercise their rights. Gun prohibitionists understood this in no uncertain terms, and their singular goal prior to PLCAA passage was to make gun manufacturing and distribution so expensive that no one would dare start or continue.

They could file frivolous civil case after frivolous civil case with no hope of a jury siding with them. Winning the case didn’t matter, because their big win would come when the country’s gun makers arrived at the unavoidable conclusion that the costs exceeded the profits—something no business can survive for long.

Sanders’ stance on repealing PLCAA, like Clinton’s, could send us back to the old days of anti-gun big-city mayors suing gun makers and gun sellers for criminal misuse of a perfectly safe product—a damaging repeat of the earlier effort to stifle gun ownership through overwhelming litigation costs to manufacturers.

Sanders has also voted in favor of banning so-called “assault weapons,” really just semi-automatic rifles of much lower power than the average deer rifle. He favors closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” which is simply federal law—not a loophole at all. He is also pushing those “universal” background checks, which we have already mentioned require gun registration to be effective. And in a recent Democratic debate that turned into an NRA bashfest, Sanders joined right in, bragging of his D- rating by the Association.

In truth, no matter how hard you look, you’re not going to find a pro-gun candidate on the Democratic side this election cycle. And the recent court ruling in the Maryland “assault weapons ban” case makes this presidential election even more crucial.

That ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Maryland’s so-called “assault weapons” ban is a game-changer for our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and could soon work its way to the Supreme Court. Interestingly, our next president will probably get to nominate three new members to the high court.

Now stop and ask yourself if you want either Democrat candidate—Clinton or Sanders­—appointing two or three U.S. Supreme Court justices, who will likely decide the future of the Second Amendment for decades to come. Then go out and do your dead-level best to make sure neither of them wins the White House this November.


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