HIGGINS: Hillary Clinton on guns: A few corrections

Hillary Clinton speaking at the National Council of Behavioral Health

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2014 — Hillary Clinton, a coyly reluctant entrant in the 2016 presidential race, gave the keynote address at the 2014 conference of the National Council of Behavioral Health this week. She talked about her time as Secretary of State, the economy, and the recent kidnappings and attention being paid to Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group operating on the Maghreb in Africa.

And because she can’t let an opportunity pass to take a shot at your constitutional rights, she also spoke about guns in America.

Clinton made a several inaccurate and false claims about gun ownership during her address. Out of a generous desire to help her better understand subjects about which she is sadly ignorant, let’s go over some of those claims.

“I think again we’re way out of balance. I think that we’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, any time.”

The idea that anyone can obtain a firearm is false. Background checks are done anytime an individual purchases a firearm from a licensed dealer. Private sales between individuals are not covered under the NICS, but these transactions make up a small fraction of the overall sales. Even if you buy a firearm online through an ad site, the seller will want to send the firearm to a license holder. If you want to talk about enforcing existing laws, such as prosecuting criminals who try to purchase firearms through the NICS, talk to Joe Biden, who wants to pass more laws because he doesn’t have enough men to enforce the ones on the books now.

READ ALSO: Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act: Arming citizens against the bad guys

“Anywhere” is also incorrect. There are numerous laws all over the country governing the locations an individual can carry or possess a weapon. There are “gun-free zones” all around the country. Because law abiding citizens abide by the law, they do not carry in “gun-free zones,” and so that does a bit of damage to her claim of “anywhere” when so much of “anywhere” is a “gun-free zone.”

“Any time” is likewise wrong. Many states, counties and townships have waiting periods to take possession of a firearm. In Palm Beach County, Florida, the wait time for a non-CCW holder is five days for a pistol. In Washington, D.C., mountains of paperwork must be filled out before you even see what you’re buying.

“And I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people …”

Perhaps she should define “vast”; nearly 40 percent of Americans own firearms, hence the “vast majority” of which she speaks is 60 percent of the population. If she is telling a percentage of the population that they are wrong in their lifestyle choices, that is another story. Perhaps with the policies she wants to implement as president, an armed populace would not be conductive to legislative success.

“And I think you can say that and still support the right of people to own guns.”

This blatantly contradicts her earlier statements. Her earlier remarks make it sound as she is vehemently against gun culture. You cannot decry the existence of guns and the American gun culture, tell Americans that owning guns is not in their best interest, and then claim to support the right to own guns. What you are opposed to, you cannot credibly claim to support. Clinton’s vision of Americans owning muskets kept locked in a subterranean vault drastically conflicts with how millions of Americans view their right to own firearms.

“At the rate we’re going, we’re going to have so many people with guns …”

This is, at the rate we’re going, if we don’t put a stop to rising gun ownership then gun owners may be in the majority and I will have lost an issue I can run on. While the number of guns owned by individuals is on the rise, the most recent Gallup poll on the subject has American gun ownership trending slightly downward. So Clinton’s fears are unfounded. She was clearly misinformed.

“… in settings where … they decide they have a perfect right to defend themselves against the gum chewer or the cell-phone talker.”

It may be easy to scare a progressive audience into thinking that these situations are normal, but they are not. Nor are they legally or socially acceptable. In the case of the “loud music” shooting Clinton off-handedly refers to, Michael Dunn shot and killed a teen who he thought was armed after they go into a dispute over loud music. While the jury in the case was hung on murder charge, they did convict him of attempted murder.

READ ALSO: The Handgun Trigger Safety Act: Gun control through technology

In the case of the cell-phone talker, an elderly gentleman in Florida shot and killed a husband and father for texting during a movie, and refusing to stop. That man happened to be a retired police officer, one of the group that Clinton and her allies believe are the only ones who should have firearms. On that note it is worth remembering that, also in Florida, 23 police fired at least 377 rounds at two unarmed men trapped in a car, killing both men, injuring three officers, sending bullets flying into the homes of local residents and just narrowly missing some small children, and rupturing the eardrums of some officers present as over 15 rounds were fired in every second of the 25-second shooting spree.

Now that’s scary.

The examples Clinton uses are meant to scare, and they were purposefully chosen to denigrate and make fun of gun owners who actually find themselves in situations where guns have saved their lives. Cherry picking instances such as these, focusing on people who break existing law, and arguing that their behavior applies to all gun owners and justifies new law seems the opposite of normal liberal thinking. Don’t Democrats tell us that “all Muslims are not terrorists,” and to not judge the bulk of a community by the actions of a few? Not in the case of gun owners.

What Clinton fails to mention are studies which place defensive gun use anywhere from half a million to two million instances each year. That is half a million prevented violent crimes, rapes, murders, assaults, and thefts, prevented crimes of which Clinton is either unaware or about which she is unconcerned.

When Clinton says “they decide they have a perfect right to defend themselves against the gum chewer or the cell-phone talker,” she is talking about people who decide for themselves what is legal. And they will face the consequences. This comment makes it clear that Clinton holds gun owners in very little regard, believing that in defending themselves, they will act like, well, the Miami police.

This comes from a woman who will never again in her life have to worry about a bump in the night, who is protected by men and women with guns, and who is so far removed from the plights and worries of everyday people that she believes your right to self-defense is simply a joke.

If only we could point these things out to her, perhaps Mrs. Clinton would change her stance on “reining in gun culture” in America. How can a woman protected by individuals with guns tell others that the culture of protecting themselves with guns needs to be reined in? Perhaps government spending on protection needs to be reined in. Perhaps any law that is passed restricting gun rights should also apply to the armed agents and bodyguards who guard her while she sleeps as per the Fourteenth Amendment.

If Clinton can only be educated about the errors in her remarks on firearms and gun ownership in America, she will almost certainly refrain from future inflammatory rhetoric about firearms in the future. She is, after all, the smartest woman in the world. Perhaps that means she’s educable.


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