Hillary Clinton hasn’t said that she’s running for the Democrat Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but lately she’s been going out of her way to make sure that gun owners know what a Hillary presidency would be like for them.
On Monday, during an interview on CNN Newsroom, Mrs. Clinton made clear that at age 66, she still hasn’t outgrown the zealotry of her youth. With anger characteristic of the political fringe, Mrs. Clinton said of gun control opponents, “We cannot let a minority of people--and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people--hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”
Mrs. Clinton was asked by a member of CNN’s TV studio audience “. . . as it pertains to school shootings. Do you think that reinstating the ban on assault weapons and banning high capacity magazines would do any good?” Mrs. Clinton responded “Yes, I do. I do.” As she went on, she twice confused semi-automatic firearms with “automatic” weapons.
Mrs. Clinton also said that she was “disappointed that Congress didn’t pass universal background checks in 2013.” Being that we hold the First Amendment in higher regard than Mrs. Clinton, we’ll say she’s entitled to her “viewpoint.”
The facts, however, show that “universal” checks wouldn’t stop the exceedingly rare mass murderer, as acknowledged by nationally-recognized criminologist James Alan Fox in his Top 10 myths about mass shootings.
Further, reports by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (see p. 13), FBI (see p. 1) and BATFE (see p. 18) show that “universal” checks would not be “universal,” because most criminals obtain guns through theft, black market transactions and straw purchases. Even a Department of Justice memorandum to President Obama in January 2013 opined that the effectiveness of “universal” checks would depend on reducing straw purchases.
“Universal” checks would constitute a step in the direction of national registration of all gun sales. The same Department of Justice memorandum noted above counseled that the effectiveness of “universal” checks would further depend on “requiring gun registration.” Indeed, legislation to retain records on approved firearm-related NICS background checks has previously been introduced in Congress.
It’s unclear what Mrs. Clinton hoped to accomplish with her comments on CNN. Some have suggested those remarks–preceded by her earlier statement that gun ownership is something “way out of balance,” which “we’ve got to rein in”–suggest she doesn’t intend to run for president.
In addition, recent polls show that Mrs. Clinton’s characterization of gun control opponents as a “minority” is out of touch with reality. A Gallup poll in January found that only 31% of Americans want stricter gun laws. Similarly, a Rasmussen Reports national phone survey in March found “just 40% of likely U.S. voters now think the United States needs stricter gun control laws, down nine points from last May and the lowest level of support for stricter laws since February 2012.”
Nevertheless, gun control activists have been aggressively pushing the opposite narrative over the last 18 months. They encourage candidates who support gun control to believe that they have the advantage in the wake of the horrible crime at Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Thus, Clinton may be among the “true believers” who have convinced themselves that their time in history has come. She may actually agree that inflammatory statements against supporters of the right to keep and bear arms will increase her chances of victory on Election Day and accelerate what she considers an inevitable victory over freedom.
Underestimating one’s opponent is a classic mistake that can lead to defeat. We therefore can only hope that Mrs. Clinton has adopted the profound self-delusion of gun control’s ascendency and will continue expressing her contempt for Second Amendment rights and their supporters. While she may have forgotten the lessons of history, pro-freedom voters will remind her of her remarks at the ballot box should she run.