With the odds makers continuing to pick Hillary Clinton not only as the Democrat Party’s nominee but the odds-on favorite to win the White House in the November 2016 elections, she has decided to take the gloves off. She is now blatantly targeting and challenging the gun rights movement and the National Rifle Association as obstacles to be overcome in her drive to diminish further Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
Following the on-air shooting of two television reporters in Roanoke, Virginia, she declared: “I feel just great heartache at what happened. I want to reiterate how important it is [that] we not let yet another terrible instance go by without trying to do something more to prevent this terrible killing that is stalking our country.”
She added: "We have got to do something about gun violence in America — and I will take it on."
She said the same thing back in July, in an obvious shift away from avoiding Second Amendment issues during the presidential campaign to avoid offending gun owners: “We have to take on the gun lobby. This is a controversial issue. I am well aware of that. But I think it is the height of irresponsibility not to talk about it.”
She apparently feels that she has clear sailing to the White House, especially as Vice-President Joe Biden continues to waffle in his decision to run and the president himself has all but given up the gun control battle. The only apparent leftist contender remaining with the clout to challenge the front-runner is Bernie Sanders, who himself supports gun rights coming as he does from the gun-friendly state of Vermont where Vermonters “may carry open or concealed without permit as long as you are a citizen of the United States.”
Despite the running sores of Benghazi and her e-mail controversy, Clinton has openly declared war on the Second Amendment, a move that she hopes will galvanize her and her staff before and after they arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2017.
Chris Cillizza, writing at The Fix, noted that Obama has waved the white flag of surrender in his efforts to infringe further on those rights. Watching carefully as Obama grieved publicly over the murders of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, he noted elements of his body language:
The first was anger — at the fact that he was, once again, addressing the country in the wake of a mass shooting. The second was more along the lines of resignation — a head-shaking weariness about the almost-certain fact that this latest shooting would do little to move the needle on gun control legislation.
This is the most powerful politician in the country acknowledging that he has little to no ability to effect a change he quite clearly believes needs to happen.
Phillip Rucker at the Washington Post noted the definite shift in Hillary's strategy as far back as July:
In a sign that the political environment on guns has shifted in the wake of recent mass shootings — and of Clinton’s determination to stake out liberal ground in her primary race against insurgent Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Clinton is not only initiating a debate about gun control [now] but also vowing to fight the National Rifle Association.
The shift was obvious also to Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president: “We’ve been down this road before with the Clintons. She needs to read her husband’s book [My Life].” In that book her husband noted that one of the primary reasons Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election was because of backlash over Clinton’s ban on “assault weapons" he signed into law in 1995. He also noted that many anti-gun Democrat lawmakers also lost their seats in elections after that ban was put in place.
This was confirmed by David Saunders, a Democratic strategist in Virginia, who warned that the Clinton “shift” could have negative consequences as well:
Never in the history of the Democratic Party have they started a gun control debate that didn’t cost them numbers in the general election.
She’s trying to get to the left of Bernie, but I think it’ll hurt her in the long run — and it’ll cost anybody on the down ticket in the South and in rural America.
Nevertheless, Clinton has been steadfast:
In 1993, she praised the Brady Bill.
In 2000, while campaigning for the Senate, she supported legislation sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to license handguns with photo-IDS.
In 2004, she voted against banning lawsuits against gun makers.
In 2007, referring to the Columbine High School shooting she stated her goal: “to limit access to people who should not have guns.”
In 2008, she said she “want[s] to be sure that we keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
In 2014, she told a town hall meeting that she believed reinstating the assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines would help limit gun violence, adding “I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook.”
And, following the murders in Roanoke, she raised the volume of her anti-gun rhetoric further:
It happens every day, and there is so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available, if we had universal background checks, if we could put some timeout between the person who is upset because he got fired or the domestic abuse or whatever other motivation may be working on someone who does this — that maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage.
In an apparent effort to pick up where Obama is leaving off, Hillary Clinton is taking advantage of what appears to be an unsurmountable lead in the race to the White House to make clear exactly where she stands on the Second Amendment: The long war against guns will continue under her administration.
A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics.