Gun Laws & Legislation

Gun Owners, Hillary Will Soon Say ‘If You Like Your Guns You Can Keep Your Guns’

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By Jorge Amselle, Author Gun Digest’s Shooter’s Guide to Concealed Carry

It is no secret that the Democratic Party has become the anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment party. It is virtually hard wired into the modern party. The 2012 Democratic Party Platform specifically called for “reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole,” and things have only gotten worse since then. Of course Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee, is leading the full scale assault on gun rights.-

This is a long way off from when John F. Kennedy was proudly an NRA member, who was ironically killed with a rifle bought from an ad in NRA’s official journal (at least if you believe the government version). It is also a long way off from many NRA supported and endorsed Democrats in the House and Senate including Max Baucus, Montana, Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota, Joe Donnelly, Indiana, Joe Manchin, West Virginia, and even Harry Reid, Nevada.
The situation with Hillary gets even weirder considering her husband’s experience with this issue. In 1994 then-President Bill Clinton gladly signed an “assault weapons” ban, only to lose Democratic control of both the House and Senate to the GOP in a major upset the same year. Bill Clinton blamed his support for gun control for the embarrassing loss. This lesson cannot have been lost on Hillary.
Today we have more guns than people, more support for gun rights and against gun bans than ever before according to polls, millions of people with concealed carry permits, and significant victories for gun rights at the state level (at least most states). If anything, and even after much reported and tragic mass shootings, supporting gun control seems like a bigger loser today than it was in 1994. And still Hillary persists and has doubled down on her attacks on our gun rights.
There is no doubt that Hillary is an ardent supporter of gun control and always has been. As a senator from New York she voted for every gun control bill she could but curiously was not a real leader on this issue. I also imagine that if she were representing Arkansas she might have made a more political calculation and voted differently on at least some of these bills. When Hillary ran against Senator Obama in 2008 she made the political calculation of running to his right on the gun issue and moderated her pro-gun control views (still terrible but better than Obama’s)
This time around she had to campaign a lot harder than she imagined against Senator Bernie Sanders who has been slamming her from the left. The only bona fide Hillary has to the left of Sanders is on gun control, since Sanders supported the legislation to shield gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits and to his credit still supports that position. Hillary has been playing the gun control card hard.
But now the primary is basically over. Now she needs to appeal to a centrist electorate that is mostly not with her on gun control. But what happens if she actually gets elected? To pass any of the gun proposals she has supported would entail expending massive amounts of political capital and facing a severe backlash that would risk the entirety of her remaining agenda. And that is assuming a GOP House of Representatives would support any gun control legislation (they won’t). Her efforts would have to remain at the executive level where any damage would be significantly limited. Even trying to enact gun control through the administrative process would have a prohibitive political cost with agency heads being tied up in congressional hearings and having to answer countless subpoenas and FOIA requests as well as multiple lawsuits. This too would hamper the rest of her agenda.
Is Hillary more in favor of gun control than President Obama? Perhaps, but despite his ardent support for the issue and despite this being his last term, Obama has been able to accomplish almost nothing on the gun issue. The only bill he signed that had anything to do with guns actually expanded gun rights (the Credit CARD Act of 2009). His 2015 executive orders on gun amounted to a whole lot of smoke blowing with some minor changes (mostly bad but some good).
The real harm is in the judiciary. With the power to nominate federal and Supreme Court Justices Hillary could pack the courts with anti-gun jurists watering down and reversing the meager advances gun owners have been able to make in recent years. But even here the danger is somewhat muted. Courts don’t make laws; they may uphold them or reject them. Even if the Supreme Court were to overturn the Heller and McDonald decision recognizing an individual right to own a gun, we would just be back to the pre-Heller era where, in the vast majority of states, I could still own whatever gun I wanted and could carry concealed.
The final question is this: Is Hillary, the corrupt, secretive, power hungry, conniving political animal that she is, telling her supporters the truth when she says that enacting gun control will be her top priority? Or is this simply pillow talk for the gun haters and when push comes to shove she will just go through the motions and not be willing to expend the political capital necessary for any real change?
Jorge Amselle is a certified firearms instructor, writer and author of the Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to Concealed Carry. He covers all aspects of the industry from military and law enforcement firearms and training to the shooting sports. His blog is at Click here to follow Jorge on Facebook.