The race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shined a spotlight on the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v Heller (2008) in particular and the Second Amendment in general.
Time and again Clinton openly admitted her disagreement with Heller–and her plan to use SCOTUS to tweak or reverse it–while simultaneously pushing enough gun control to abolish the Second Amendment. Trump took the opposite position: vowing to defend Heller with SCOTUS justices “in the mold of Justice Scalia” and to maintain the Second Amendment “in its strongest form.”
Clinton promised universal background checks, an “assault weapons” ban, a “high capacity” magazine ban, and numerous other gun controls. Trump promised to save the Second Amendment from “people like Hillary Clinton.” And he voiced direct opposition to expanding background checks or instituting “assault weapon” or “high capacity” magazine bans.
Clinton raged against “weapons of war” after a gunman opened fire on innocents in the Orlando Pulse nightclub. Trump’s consistent message was that Americans ought to be able to own the “firearm of their choice” and that gun-free zones pose a threat by disarming citizens.
Throughout the race for the White House, Clinton made clear that she did not agree with the Heller ruling–a ruling which reaffirmed that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right. And during a June 5, 2016, appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, she twice refused to admit that an individual right to keep and bear arms was even constitutional. After being pressed by Stephanopoulos, she would only say that “if” such a right existed, it was not outside the purview of government regulation.
I think that for most of our history there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment, until the decision by the late Justice [Antonin] 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 clearly missed the part about “shall not be infringed.” But Trump did not miss it, as he vowed again and again to stand with the NRA and “save the Second Amendment.”
Just says before the election, Rudy Giuliani stood behind a podium in Reno, Nevada, and said:
If you elect Donald Trump you will preserve your Second Amendment right to bear arms. If you elect Hillary Clinton, she will appoint one judge and then two, and they will take it away from you, and a lot of your other rights.
In the end, the people saw it the way Giuliani did. And they voted to save their Second Amendment–and the Heller decision–by choosing Trump over Clinton during a historic November 8 election.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.