For months, Second Amendment advocates have argued that the right to keep and bear Arms hangs in the balance with the presidential election in November, and now that has been confirmed by an unusual, and some would say irrefutable, source: a former official with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
When it comes to gun prohibition lobbying groups, the Brady Center has been at the forefront, and its former vice president, Dennis Henigan, often led the charge. He’s the author of “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People and Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control.”
Monday in the Huffington Post, he wrote a piece in which he bluntly acknowledged:
“For the first time since 2000, the Presidential election promises to be pivotal for the politics of gun control. Both for supporters of stronger gun laws, and for ‘gun rights’ partisans, the stakes could not be higher.”
Had that come from Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) or Alan Gottlieb from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the press would portray it as more “rhetoric from the gun nut lobby.” But this is different. An ardent anti-gunner is admitting what should be the obvious, and that makes his observation worthy of public attention.
Here’s how Henigan summed it all up:
“The political lines are drawn on the gun control issue more clearly and unmistakably than at any point since 2000. A Trump victory will no doubt be seen as the political resurgence of disaffected white Americans, mostly men, who see themselves as left behind and ignored by the elites. The triumph of previously disrespected ‘Second Amendment rights,’ as the Trump supporters interpret them, will be part of that Trump victory narrative. In contrast, given the political transformation of the Democratic Party on the gun issue since Sandy Hook, and Hillary Clinton’s likely continued aggressive advocacy of gun control throughout the general election campaign, a Clinton victory will likely be interpreted by the political punditry as a resounding victory for the gun control forces. Unlike Obama in 2008 and 2012, a Clinton victory in 2016 could never be attributed to her avoidance of the gun issue.”
Notice how Henigan puts “Second Amendment rights” in quotes, followed by a reference that this is how Trump supporters “interpret” the amendment.
Since Henigan is an attorney, he ought to know better than to try peddling that subliminal argument. The Second Amendment was not interpreted merely by a bunch of gun cranks, but by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it happened twice in the past eight years. The second time, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, a SAF case, the high court went so far as to incorporate the amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment.
But it is reminiscent of what Hillary Clinton infamously said during her one-on-one with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos – himself a former communications director in the Bill Clinton White House – back in June: “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right is subject to reasonable regulations.”
“If?” That’s been called the biggest word in the English language, and her response will not soon be forgotten by gun rights activists. If Henigan is right, gun owners may descend on the polls in November to make sure she doesn’t get within throwing distance of the Oval Office. After all, he just told them how important it is for them to do exactly that.