Hillary Clinton makes no bones about the fact that as president, she would seek to ban America’s most popular rifle, the AR-15. According to her own campaign website, “Military-style assault weapons do not belong on our streets. They are a danger to law enforcement and to our communities. Clinton supports keeping assault weapons off our streets.”
Yet even some proponents of increased gun controls admit that Clinton’s focus is off the mark. As one stated late last year, “[W]e already know that banning assault weapons won't reduce gun crime or deaths.” He added, “The ‘assault weapons’ for sale in the U.S. now aren't really weapons of war.”
A poll released this week, moreover, shows that the reason most often invoked for banning so-called “assault weapons” – i.e., their potential use in mass killings – ranks below even extinction-level events on Americans’ list of things of which they are “afraid” or “very afraid.”
Of the 79 fears identified, “[r]andom/mass shooting” came in 30th. This was below such fears as Obamacare, biological warfare, reptiles, the U.S. being involved in another World War, nuclear weapons attack, and a pandemic or major epidemic.
Even more ominously for Hillary Clinton – whose public persona has been riddled with scandals for decades – the number one fear of those polled was “[c]orrupt government officials.”
But the poll gets even worse for the Clinton Camp, with “[g]overnment restrictions on firearms and ammunition” ranking as the fifth most common fear.
Indeed, exercising their right to keep and bear arms may be a response many Americans have to other higher-ranking fears, including terrorism (4th), break-ins (27th), and “[w]idspread civil unrest” (28th).
So why, some 12 years after her husband’s federal "assault weapons" ban proved ineffective, does Hillary Clinton remain focused on this failed policy?
One answer might simply be that it pleases big donors to her party. An article on the political website Roll Call earlier this year quoted a “high-dollar donor to Democratic candidates” as stating, “I’m not interested in supporting people who won’t ban assault rifles.”
Of course, it’s no surprise that donors who can spend more on one election cycle than most families earn in a year are going to be detached from the concerns of ordinary Americans.
But the zealousness to disarm Americans also speaks to a more fundamental political philosophy that underlies Hillary Clinton’s approach to politics. This approach is one that shuns freedoms – like the right to keep and bear arms – that are uniquely American and demeans political opposition as illegitimate (or in Hillary Clinton’s words, “deplorable” and “irredeemable”).
Faced with such an imperious, detached, and condemning candidate for the White House, it’s no wonder that Americans are more afraid of the government officials who want to take their preferred rifles than a myriad of other potential concerns.