Only a few moments into Wednesday night’s final presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Donald Trump what may be the cornerstone issue in this year’s election surfaced: The makeup of the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment.
The conversation, transcribed by the Washington Post, began with guns at the center, as for tens of millions of Americans, the Second Amendment may be the proverbial litmus test.
Clinton struggled to assure the audience that “there’s no doubt that I respect the Second Amendment” and that “I also believe there’s an individual right to bear arms.” However, there is considerable doubt that she respects the right to keep and bear arms, and when she neglected to include “to keep” in her remark about the individual right, many in the gun rights community might conclude that was not an accident.
She also referred to the “33,000 lives that we lose every year,” almost as a cliché. It is widely known that two thirds of those fatalities are suicides, for which background checks are useless. There are approximately 9,000 criminal firearms fatalities annually in the United States. Many are committed by people who have guns illegally and habitually ignore background check requirements.
And then Clinton acknowledged that she had been upset at the high court’s 2008 Heller ruling because, “Well, I was upset because, unfortunately, dozens of toddlers injure themselves, even kill people with guns…”
As Liberty Park Press noted Wednesday, the anti-gun Brady Campaign has just launched an advertising campaign that many people believe is detestable. The advertisement is called “Toddler’s Kill.”
She amplified that with the specious claim that “I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case, because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.”
Can there be any doubt that Clinton got her talking point from that Brady Campaign ad? Well, if there’s no doubt that she respects the Second Amendment, perhaps.
The District wasn’t trying to protect toddlers. It was defending an indefensible prohibition on having a handgun in the home for personal protection. And it has continued to defend its Draconian effort to discourage average citizens from exercising their right to keep and bear arms with a regulatory scheme that essentially tells people, “We recognize the Second Amendment, we just don’t want anyone to use it.”
And what did Trump say? He led right out of the gate with this, according to a Washington Post transcript: “We need a Supreme Court that in my opinion is going to uphold the Second Amendment, and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege. I believe if my opponent should win this race, which I truly don’t think will happen, we will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now.”
Trump may be bombastic, he may not know when to be quiet, he may even be boorish, but he nailed it on the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court.
With 19 days remaining before the election, it is time for people to – as grandpa used to say – fish or cut bait. This election is about the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. It’s not just about Clinton or Trump.
Clinton supporters would love to see conservatives and gun owners sit this one out. Discouraging the opposition is how they win.