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Heller Was Unambiguous, Unlike Hillary

Friday, July 29, 2016

Heller Was Unambiguous, Unlike Hillary

This feature appears in the August ’16 issues of the NRA official journals.

That’s the stunning bob-and-weave answer to a simple, direct question by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos as to whether Hillary Clinton believes the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Her answer lays bare her oft-repeated big lie about support for our unique American liberty.

Allow me to dissect her smoke-screen answer. The Scalia decision she was referring to, of course, came in the 2008 5-4 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down the District’s ban on handguns and its ban on armed self-defense in the home. 

In short, Heller marked the first-ever definitive Supreme Court decision upholding the Second Amendment as an individual right.

But let the words of the late Justice Scalia distill the meaning of that decision.

“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. …

“In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.” 

Heller was utterly unambiguous. 

It was followed in 2010 by the McDonald v. City of Chicago ruling, which struck down Chicago’s similar handgun ban, and confirmed the Second Amendment as an individual right to every corner of the nation. 

Under the guise of “universal” background checks, [Hillary] would create a massive federal database on every law-abiding gun owner and on the firearms you and I own.As a practical matter, that decision ruled that draconian gun control at local option was flat-out unconstitutional.

Those two decisions counter Hillary’s deep-seated belief that “localities and states and the federal government had a right … to impose reasonable regulations.” 

Governments do not possess rights—“We the People” do.  

Yet Hillary not only defended an all-powerful government against the people, she told Stephanopoulos that the District of Columbia’s ban on armed self-defense for law-abiding citizens was a “reasonable regulation.”

As for Hillary’s embrace of her “nuanced reading” of the Second Amendment, let former Associate Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ Heller dissent spell out what that means: 

“The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. … [T]here is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” 

Remarkably, in the ABC interview, Stephanopoulos was so taken aback by Hillary’s refusal to answer a simple, direct question that he came at her again, this time saying:

“[T]hat’s not what I asked. I said,  ‘Do you believe their [the Supreme Court’s] conclusion that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right?’”No gun owner in America should buy into Hillary’s phony talk about her respect for the Second Amendment.

She began her reply, “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations. And what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possibly can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms.”

“If it is a constitutional right?” Reject “our history” of gun control? You bet—like laws that outlawed ownership of firearms by blacks, before and well after the Civil War.

In her ignorance of history, Hillary, in effect, endorses the Jim Crow laws that disarmed black Americans in violation of the civil rights we value as Americans.

Just think about these core beliefs held by Hillary. There is no infringement on individual rights that goes too far when it comes to the Second Amendment. After all, she has lauded the Australian gun bans that saw over a million privately owned, registered firearms taken from licensed owners and turned into scrap. 

Under the guise of “universal” background checks, she would create a massive federal database on every law-abiding gun owner and on the firearms you and I own. And such permanent record keeping was the single contributor to the success of the Australian gun-banners to ferret out what guns were held by honest citizens so they could take them for destruction.

Further, Hillary would remove the legal protections against punitive, abusive lawsuits that hold law-abiding licensed firearm dealers and makers responsible for the lawless acts of violent criminals. Those protections enacted by the Congress have been upheld by the courts because such abuse of process served only to drive the firearm industry out of business.

In short, there’s nothing under Hillary’s “common-sense” bag of evil gun-ban tricks that she won’t attempt if she takes the White House.

Moreover, if she does ascend to the presidency, she will be in a position to appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices. And all it will take is one to reestablish her “nuanced” Second Amendment. 

Stephanopoulos’ questions, by the way, were spurred by Republican presidential Second Amendment supporter Donald Trump, who said, “If she gets to appoint her judges, she will abolish the Second Amendment.” 

He couldn’t be more right.

With Trump versus Hillary, gun owners have a clear choice. 

No gun owner in America should buy into Hillary’s phony talk about her respect for the Second Amendment. When Hillary says, “The actions we can and should take can certainly be done consistent with the Constitution and the rights of gun owners,” she’s talking about her Second Amendment—the one that would take us back to the nightmare years before Heller, where tyranny as a local option was the norm and where Americans have no constitutional right to own a firearm, even for self-defense.

Wayne LaPierre

BY Wayne LaPierre

Executive Vice President, NRA

Since 1991, Wayne LaPierre has led the NRA through a period of unprecedented membership growth and political clout in defense of our Second Amendment rights. And that strength has been put to the good benefit of NRA members and gun owners. In large part because of Wayne's leadership, Right-to-Carry is now the law in 41 states. All 50 states have enacted laws to protect shooting ranges, and all 50 passed legislation to protect hunters from harassment.

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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.