The presumptive 2016 Democrat front-runner for the presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, is behaving like…Hillary Clinton. She’s nothing if not predictable, and has a long rhetorical trail, particularly where gun control is involved. Equally predictably, the legacy media are doing their best to protect her from herself and her record. From Breitbart.com:
“On May 7th CNN’s John King played a video of Hillary Clinton saying, ‘We have to rein in what has become [an] almost article of faith, that anybody can have a gun anywhere, [at] any time.’
King quickly added, ‘She’s talking in the context of mental health,’ but then he expressed obvious concern that this soundbite is going to make a great anti-Hillary commercial…
…Hillary was not talking about mental health issues at this point but about ‘fully licensed’ and ‘fully validated’ gun owners. She said so herself.”
CNN’s Peter Hamby did his best to help Clinton but she was so obvious, so Hillary, he had no choice but to observe that Clinton’s anti-gun record was “going to be something of an issue for her I think.” If any media outlet bothers to review its own coverage of Clinton, Hamby’s parsing will be the understatement of the 2016 race. As much as she will try to present herself as a moderate, seeking only “sensible,” “common sense” gun control measures, her record speaks loudly otherwise.
Her 2008 presidential run provides a preview of her 2016 tactics. McClatchy’s David Lightman explained in a March, 2008 article:
“When Supreme Court justices debate the legality of the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns in coming weeks, their file will include a legal brief from Vice President Dick Cheney, Arizona Sen. John McCain and 54 other senators asking that the law be overturned.
But they won’t find anything from Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York or Barack Obama of Illinois. They didn’t sign the rival brief from other members of Congress who back the tough handgun restrictions.
The Democratic presidential candidates’ silence is part of a pattern. For years, the national party has downplayed its historic sympathy for gun control for fear that emphasizing it would be politically costly.”
Fortunately for the cause of liberty, the Supreme Court didn’t listen to Clinton and affirmed the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental, individual right in the landmark Heller decision. As much as Clinton and most other democrats avoid strident, public anti-gun advocacy, their true colors bleed through. Lightman again:
“A rival brief, signed by 18 Democratic members of Congress, counters that lawmakers long have had the right to regulate — and ban — ‘the use and possession of certain weapons.’
Clinton has a long history as an outspoken supporter of tough gun-control measures, but she, too, has moderated in recent months…
At a January debate, she called herself a ‘political realist, and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street.”
That is, Clinton is a “political realist” (read “political opportunist”) willing to say whatever is necessary for any audience to advance her political fortunes. However, let no one doubt Hillary Clinton’s stereotypical anti-liberty beliefs. Like Barack Obama, she rhetorically fully supports the Second Amendment, but she is all in for “sensible,” and “common sense” restrictions of the kind that have made President Obama the most effective inadvertent gun salesman in history.
A brief summary of her statements and stances—by no means exhaustive—may be gathered through nothing more taxing than a brief Google search. From On The Issues:
On making self-defense in the home essentially impossible (Good morning America, 06-04-1999):
“If you own a gun… make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition. In fact, make it stored where the ammunition is stored separately. We’ve made some progress in the last several years with the Brady Bill and some of the bans on assault weapons, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Mrs. Clinton, speaking to children at the South Side Middle School in Nassau County, July 15, 1999:
“We will not make progress on a sensible gun control agenda unless the entire American public gets behind it. It is really important for each of you [kids] to make sure you stay away from guns. If you have guns in your home, tell your parents to keep them away from you and your friends and your little brothers and sisters.”
On gun registration and licensing (CNN.com) June 2, 2000:
“Hillary Rodham Clinton offered her support for a legislative proposal to license handguns. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to obtain a state-issued photo gun license. ‘I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun.’ ‘I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry, such as Chuck is proposing.”
Clinton twice voted against the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (March 2, 2004 and July 29, 2005) which prohibited lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of guns and ammunition for so-called “gun violence” and the misuse of their products by third parties about whom they had no knowledge or control.