Well, he’s done it again, as Powerline reports:
Donald Trump seemingly joked about shooting Hillary Clinton during a speech Tuesday in North Carolina.
‘If she gets to pick her judges —nothing you can do folks,’ Trump said, referring to Clinton getting to nominate Supreme Court justices if she were elected president. ‘Although, the Second Amendment, people, maybe there is.”
Hillary Clinton, Progressives in general, and anti-liberty gun grabbers in particular, immediately jumped on Trump’s quip, claiming he was actually calling for the assassination of Hillary Clinton. Even some conservatives dove into the shallow end of the pool:
Trump responded, as is, tragically, all too common, poorly, eventually explaining he was talking about the political unity of gun owners preventing the destruction of the Second Amendment.
However, Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton have done something neither of them likely intended: clearly revealed their true beliefs on the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners. Americans can be reasonably sure that when Donald Trump claims to support the Second Amendment, at least in a general sense, he means it and will be unlikely to engage in gross degradation of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. American’s can also be absolutely sure that when Hillary Clinton claims to want only “common sense gun safety” regulation, such as universal background checks and a ban on AR-15s, she is lying. Oh, she wants those restrictions, but she also wants to ban and seize every gun in the hands of the law-abiding.
This rhetorical volley, however, provides an even deeper and more revealing understanding of the two primary philosophies of the Second Amendment.
The Pro-Liberty View
Donald Trump, and virtually all right-of-center Americans, understand that law-abiding Americans practice the safe and responsible use of guns. In fact, they’re obsessive about gun safety. Any number of guns in the hands of the law-abiding represent no threat to anyone and will only be used in crime if stolen. More and more left-of-center Americans have become gun owners during the Age of Obama, and they too are coming to this understanding.
They also understand that the NRA is America’s foremost guardian of the unalienable right to self-defense, and of the means to affect it. Anti-liberty politicians rightly fear the NRA not because it intimidates or bullies them, but because they understand it is the largest, most effective, honestly grassroots political organization in America. And more, they understand that its millions of members vote on Second Amendment issues, which is where the NRA focuses its money and attention: on the resolute defense of a fundamental, unalienable natural right.
Understanding this, and hearing Donald Trump’s loosely worded, off-the-cuff comment, most Americans understood he was invoking the political power of America’s gun owners in defense of the Second Amendment. The idea that law abiding gun owners would hear Trump’s latest gaseous emission as a call to assassination is ludicrous. Most Americans not gun owners, given an understanding of the context, would think the same.
The Anti-Liberty View
The progressive response was, at least in part, dishonest political opportunism. Surely at least some of those in the Clinton campaign crying wolf understood Trump’s comment was not remotely incitement to murder, but in the finest progressive style, that was an opportunity they could not waste. Others, and this is a common attitude among left-of-center Americans, actually believe gun owners are dangerous, even mentally ill. They cannot understand–not that they waste much mental energy in the attempt–why anyone would want to own a gun, and believe them to be of low intelligence, and surely, of inferior morality. For them, Trump’s throwaway comment represents the truth of gun ownership and of gun owners.
Such people consider the NRA to be an inherently illegitimate, evil organization that terrorizes honorable politicians, and that works every day to arm murderers and terrorists. This view is utterly insupportable by fact, that for such people, fact is irrelevant. It’s emotion and infallible progressive policy that matters.
Hillary Clinton: A Bit Of Truth: Mrs. Clinton has claimed–rather weakly–she does not want to abolish the Second Amendment. She only wants what anti-gun activists deceptively call “common sense gun safety” laws. She argues that Heller prevents cities and states from enacting laws that keep their people safe. What does the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision actually say? Daniel Payne at National Review, explains:
Heller prohibited no such thing: In fact, in the court’s majority opinion on Heller, the late Antonin Scalia explicitly allows that the Second Amendment is perfectly compatible with laws meant to keep residents safe from harm. ‘Like most rights,’ Scalia wrote, ‘the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.’ Among the regulations permissible under Heller, according to Scalia, were ‘laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,’ such as laws meant to protect public safety by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.
Is Clinton therefore a liar, or merely misinformed? Heller clearly allows the kinds of regulations Clinton claims it does not. Fortunately, Clinton, in typically deceptive Clintonian fashion, has explained:
Hillary Clinton does want to confiscate your guns; her campaign inadvertently admits it, and FactCheck.org repeats her campaign’s admission. Last fall, Clinton declared that ‘the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment,’ an obvious reference to D.C. v. Heller, which affirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own firearms. In response to this gaffe, Kiely quotes Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin, who wrote to FactCheck.org:
‘Along with the vast majority of Americans, Clinton believes there are common sense steps we can take at the federal level to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the 2nd Amendment. She also believes Heller was wrongly decided in that cities and states should have the power to craft common sense laws to keep their residents safe.
Mrs. Clinton and her minions have reinforced her contention that Heller was wrongly decided in the last few months as she has promised to focus on her gun banner principles every day if elected president.
Remember that Heller established, for the first time in American history, that the Second Amendment unquestionably refers to an individual right to keep and bear arms. It is this Clinton thinks a wrong decision. And so does the current minority on the Supreme Court, as I explained here at Bearing Arms in The Living Constitution And Second Amendment Alarmism. From the minority opinion, authored by Judge Steven Breyer:
We must decide whether a District of Columbia law that prohibits the possession of handguns in the home violates the Second Amendment. The majority, relying upon its view that the Second Amendment seeks to protect a right of personal self-defense, holds that this law violates that Amendment. In my view, it does not.
Bryer is certainly with Clinton in that belief, but he also argues that the standard the majority applied–strict scrutiny–in deciding Heller was too restrictive of the government, and much lower standards, standards that allow wholesale trampling of fundamental, unalienable rights at governmental whim, should apply. This, however, gets to the heart of the current minority’s view of the Second Amendment:
The argument about method, however, is by far the less important argument surrounding today’s decision. Far more important are the unfortunate consequences that today’s decision is likely to spawn. Not least of these, as I have said, is the fact that the decision threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States. I can find no sound legal basis for launching the courts on so formidable and potentially dangerous a mission. In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.
Breyer also sees no reason for concealed weapons outside the home–anywhere or for any reason.
Hillary Clinton surely understands that merely appointing one more progressive justice, one more reliable leftist that sees the Constitution not as the law of the land, but as an annoying impediment to the glorious march of progressive accomplishment for the good of people too intellectually and morally inferior–you know, gun owners, etc.–to know what is good for them, would turn the tide, and they wouldn’t have to overturn Heller! Justice Stevens, in his concurring dissent, explained:
The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a ‘collective right’ or an ‘individual right.’ Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right.
While it always remains possible that a Clinton compliant court would directly overturn Heller, it would not be strictly necessary. Taking a hint from the defunct Soviet Union’s constitution, it could leave all manner of glorious sounding “rights” in place–on paper–but in effect, leave citizens little more than slaves. Justice Stevens showed the way.
Applying lesser standards than strict scrutiny, a sufficiently progressive Court could, and surely would, with high-minded rhetoric, affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms, but legislate the practical application of that right out of existence. Justice Breyer doesn’t think the Second Amendment allows loaded guns in one’s own home. With that as a starting point, what would be allowable? Better yet, what power would the government be denied?
This is what Hillary Clinton really wants. This is the “right” way to decide Heller. And this is one promise Americans can count on Hillary Clinton to keep. After all, gun owners are dangerous mental defectives that want to kill her, aren’t they? We ought to take all those guns away from them.