Clinton: If gun ownership is a constitutional right, it’s one that we’ve taken away before
by Sam Rolley
Hillary Clinton is looking to gain support for her flaccid Democratic presidential campaign by wooing anti-2nd Amendment fanatics. And she’s not leaving the promise of an end to American gun ownership off the table.
That, at least, is the sense one might have gotten from a recent interview between the former first lady and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Referencing GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s accusation that Clinton would abolish the 2nd Amendment if elected, Stephanopoulos asked Clinton point blank: “Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right, that it’s not linked to service in a militia?”
Clinton danced around the issue, claiming that the un-infringed right of the individual to bear arms was created by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
“I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia, and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulations,” she said. “So I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.”
Notice she didn’t answer the question.
But what Clinton did do is suggest that gun control laws have a rich history in the United States.
When Stephanopoulos pointed out that Clinton had ignored his original question, she replied: “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations, and what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possibly can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms.”
I happen to agree that gun control has a rich history in the U.S. But Clinton is leaving out some very important details when she says we’ve always had “common sense” gun laws.
Many of the historical gun control laws Clinton is painting as perfect evidence that tough gun control has and can work in the U.S. were aimed at disarming black Americans and maintaining slavery and, later, racial discrimination.
I wrote about this back in 2013:
Throughout the Nation’s history, the gun-control laws that have been the harshest are those that were levied against blacks, who, as any compassionate, serious and well-informed student of history would be remiss to deny, have endured tyrannical force at many times since the Nation’s founding.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, States all over the Nation grew increasingly fearful of the prospect of a black uprising that they felt could be carried out by slaves or freed blacks. Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831 kicked off a number of gun-control laws aimed at blacks in America’s States.
Virginia responded to the rebellion by prohibiting free blacks the right “to keep or carry any firelock of any kind, any military weapon, or any powder or lead…” Later, in 1834, the Tennessee Constitution was changed from “That the freemen of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence” to “That the free white men of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence.” The antebellum South was rife with racist calls for gun control.
These abuses did not stop following the Civil War with the onset of black freedom and, in fact, continued through the Jim Crow-era South right up until the civil rights era.
Martin Luther King Jr., upon whose Bible Obama swore to uphold the Constitution…, reportedly kept an arsenal of firearms in his home to ease his mind about the near-constant death threats he received. The peace-promoting civil rights leader even applied for an Alabama concealed carry permit, but was denied due to racism on the part of the police that had the authority to issue the permit.