Donald Trump has repeated the blatantly false claim that Hillary Clinton would eliminate the second amendment in a racially-tinged hypocritical rant with little basis in fact. Trump’s repeated claims that Mrs. Clinton would “abolish the second amendment” have been debunked over and over again but that did not stop him from repeating those demagogic claims. Minutes after the exchange during the debate his campaign tweeted that the second amendment “will not survive” a Clinton presidency.
In reality, Hillary Clinton has never called for anything approaching the repeal of the second amendment. Instead she has advocated common-sense gun control measures that are supported by the majority of the American people, namely universal background checks, prohibitions on straw purchases to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, violent criminals, and the mentally ill, and the ending of special immunity for the arms industry.
The only reason these sensible regulations – which would save thousands of lives – are not on the books in the first place is the massive lobbying campaign of the NRA and the demagogic politicians like Mr. Trump who take up their rhetoric in an attempt to appeal to the extremist conservative base.
Indeed Trump himself has repeatedly backed new gun control measures in the past. Just last month he suggested that police officers should simply “take the guns away” when they find them on American citizens. This is the very government gun-grabbing that is one of the Republican fear mongers’ favorite straw man arguments whenever Democrats propose the simplest of gun regulations. No Democratic politician has ever proposed such blatant gun confiscation but its no problem for Donald Trump, at least when the gun-owners are African-Americans.
The exchange on gun control in the debate was focused on a 2008 Supreme Court decision that found that the right to bear arms is an individual rather than a class right and overturned District of Columbia laws the restricted handgun ownership. Clinton has indeed said that she disagrees with the decision but has made clear that she does not want to see it overturned.
The heart of the matter is whether we are going to accept the indisputable facts that looser gun laws translate to more gun violence and more death or continue to believe the delusional propaganda of the NRA and their Republican stooges. They are willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of Americans every year for the sake of an abstract “freedom” to own all manner of mass death machines, a freedom not enjoyed by the hundreds of thousands of Americans killed by gun violence.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.