On many occasions Donald Trump has fired up his crowd with claims that Hillary Clinton hates the 2nd Amendment is if elected is going to absolve the right to bear arms. On at least two occasions Trump has overtly suggested that “2nd Amendment people” may need to resort to violence to protect their rights.
I’ve followed the 2016 presidential race since it began and more closely as it enters the final weeks. No place have I heard Clinton or the Democratic Party issue a policy that threatens the private ownership of firearms. Clinton does have a gun policy and it would limit the ownership of certain types of weapons and it would close a couple of huge loop holes in our gun ownership laws.
This morning I took the very easy task of finding out specifically what Clinton’s 2nd Amendment politics are. She has a gun violence prevention proposal on her website. Ownership of certain buns would be denied and several of the major loopholes in ownership laws would be tightened. It does not take guns away.
Major elements of Clinton’s plan
- Expand background checks. Her proposal would expand required background checks to include some private sales at gun shows and over the Internet. The current requirement exempts any person “who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”
- Close the so-called “Charleston Loophole.” Federal law currently allows federally licensed dealers to sell firearms after a three-day waiting period for a background check even if a background check on the buyer is not completed. Legislation proposed by Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina would require a potential gun buyer to pass a background check before being sold the gun.
- Ban semi-automatic “assault weapons.” Clinton supports reinstating the 1994 ban that expired in 2004. The ban was signed by her husband, President Bill Clinton. Her proposal makes no mention of retroactively banning such weapons. She was a cosponsor of legislation that would have extended the assault weapons ban before it expired in September 2004. The 1994 law allowed gun owners to keep prohibited weapons purchased before the ban took effect.
This is substantially different from what Trump and the NRA are claiming. It is just another empty claim that plays on the fears of people not willing to base their decisions on the best information we have available.
Hillary is not coming to take your guns away. But she is hoping to be part of a better gun ownership policy which regardless of what the NRA, the gun lobby, and the “gun nuts” tell you is Constitution and not absolutely protected by the 2nd Amendment. The US Supreme Court has been very pro gun in recent years but has still acknowledge that gun ownership is not without restrictions. You do not, nor have your ever, have an absolute right to gun ownership.