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Debating Their Position On Guns

Friday, April 18, 2008

Speaking of “the most anti-gun candidate,” lately it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep track of which candidate is most deserving of that title. 

As Democratic Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama squared off at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia this week, moderator Charlie Gibson, from ABC News, opened debate on the gun issue by stating, “Both of you, in the past, have supported strong gun control measures. But now when I listen to you on the campaign, I hear you emphasizing that you believe in an individual's right to bear arms.  Both of you were strong advocates for licensing of guns. Both of you were strong advocates for the registration of guns.”  (Sound familiar?)  “Why don’t you emphasize that now, Senator Clinton?” 

Hillary answered with a stream of generalizations, but was specific on at least one thing, “I will [also] work to reinstate the assault weapons ban,” she said, also noting that, “the Republicans will not reinstate it.” 

Obama was asked about the Heller case now before the United States Supreme Court, and specifically whether the D.C. gun ban is “consistent with an individual’s right to bear arms.”  His response was, “Well, Charlie, I confess I obviously haven’t listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence.  As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms.  But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right…” 

When pressed further by the moderator (“But do you still favor the registration of guns? Do you still favor the licensing of guns?”), Obama was evasive, never really giving a straight answer and causing the moderator to quip, “I’m not sure I got an answer from Senator Obama.” 

Senator Clinton was then asked, “you have a home in D.C., do you support the D.C. ban?”  She, too, was evasive but said that she wants, “to give local communities the opportunity to have some authority over determining…” firearms law.  She was further pressed “But what do you think?  Do you support it or not?” 

“Well, what I support is sensible regulation that is consistent with the constitutional right to own and bear arms,” she said. 

“Is the D.C. ban consistent with that right?” asked the moderator.

“Well, I think a total ban, with no exceptions under any circumstances, might be found by the court not to be. But I don't know the facts,” Clinton concluded.  At least she was right about that. 

What we do know is that neither candidate joined more than 300 of their congressional colleagues in signing a brief in the Heller case in support of the Second Amendment, and both candidates’ records are well documented and show, unquestionably, that they’re both anti-gun.  For either to now try to convince us otherwise is absurd.  If one can’t plainly state that a ban on guns in the home for self-defense runs afoul of the Second Amendment, one has to wonder if either candidate believes any gun law would.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.