The WikiLeaks release of John Podesta’s email cache has revealed six aspects of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s behind-the-scenes gun control push.
Those six things are contained in five separate email threads, some of which revolve around campaign positions, drafts of Clinton speeches, and stated positions that Clinton holds and plans to pursue if elected, among other things.
The six Wikileaks’ gun control revelations are:
Gun Control By Executive Order–Part of the October 7 WikiLeaks’ release revealed an email in which Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon stated that his boss will pursue gun control by “executive order” if elected. Fallon wrote:
Circling back around on guns as a follow up to the Friday morning discussion: the Today show has indicated they definitely plan to ask bout guns, and so to have the discussion be more of a news event than her previous times discussing guns, we are going to background reporters tonight on a few of the specific proposals she would support as President – universal background checks of course, but also closing the gun show loophole by executive order.
Making Gun Manufacturers Libel for Crimes Committed With Guns–In the October 7 WikiLeaks’ release, Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon also said Clinton will “[impose] manufacturer liability” if elected. We got a clear picture of what this means on October 14, after the Sandy Hook lawsuit against Remington Arms was dismissed. Clinton took to Twitter to say it was “incomprehensible” that Remington was not held liable. Think about it: the AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook Elementary attack was legally made and legally sold–it was registered to Nancy Lanza, AdamLanza’s mother. But Adam stole the gun and thereafter carried out horrendous treachery. How can the gunmaker be liable in that situation?
Clinton’s Support of a 25% Tax on Gun Sales–Wikileaks also released an email wherein PR firm Grunwald Communications asked for clarification on Clinton’s support of a 25% tax on gun sales. The email was dated October 4, 2015. In it, Mandy Grunwald wrote, “I also saw something about her supporting a 25% tax on gun sales back in 1993.” ABC News reports that Clinton was “unequivocal” in her support for such a tax during her husband’s presidency and, on June 5, 2016, she told George Stephanopoulos her support for the tax was part of the nationalized healthcare push. She said, “What I was saying back then was that we have a lot of public health costs that taxpayers end up paying for through Medicaid, Medicare, through uncompensated care, because that was in the context of the push for health care reform and that we needed some way to try to defray those costs.” However, Breitbart News reported that her support was also rooted in the present. For example, she talked about meeting with survivors of the December 2, 2015, San Bernardino attack, then said:
When you have mass shootings, you not only have the terrible deaths, you have people who are injured. What they talked to me about was, where do they get the financial support to deal with both the physical and the emotional trauma. You know, is it a workman’s comp support, which is one of the arguments? Is it private insurance, Is it because they work for the county, something the county should pay for?
Clinton Campaign Discards Shootings That Do Not Further Gun Control Agenda–WikiLeaks’ ongoing email release also showed that the Clinton campaign discarded shootings that did not further the gun control agenda. For example, although black teen Jordan Davis was killed with a gun, the campaign did not include him in a Clinton gun violence essay because they believed the waters would be muddied by the fact that this killer was white. In an email exchange dated January 14, 2016, Clinton campaign manager director of engagement, De’Ara Balenger, critiqued Clinton’s gun violence essay, saying:
This is great. My edits are attached. The only flag here is that Jordan Davis was killed by a white man, so arguably – this crime was racially motivated, which takes this outside the discussion of gun violence. Was there another mother in the Chicago meeting where the shooting was NOT racially motivated? If yes, we should use that story instead of Jordan Davis.
Clinton Criticizes NRA for not being ‘Reasonable’ On Pro-Gun Stance–WikiLeaks released the transcript of a June 4, 2013, speech Hillary Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs. In it, Clinton claims the NRA is not “reasonable” on their pro-gun stance. She first talked about partisanship: “You know, people get rewarded for being partisan, and that’s on both sides. The biggest threat that Democrats and Republicans face today, largely because of gerrymandering in the House, is getting a primary opponent from either the far right or the far left.” She then shifted and told the story of a state senator from Kentucky who allegedly fell out of favor with the NRA for tabling a piece of pro-gun legislation. Clinton described the unnamed senator as being “highly regarded” and having “an A plus rating” from the NRA. Yet Clinton stressed that the NRA supported the senator’s challenger in the next election, unseating the senator for hesitating to pass the pro-gun bill when the opportunity was afforded her.
Clinton suggested the NRA’s approach betrayed an unwillingness to be “reasonable.” She said:
So the NRA recruited an opponent for her who beat her. They put a lot of money into it and basically: You couldn’t be reasonable. You couldn’t say let’s try to reason this out together. You had to tow the line, and whether it’s a financial line or gun control line or whatever the line might be.
This is the same Clinton who is so determined to secure more gun control that she made clear she will do it with or without Congress’s cooperation.
Clinton Campaign Feared ‘Blowback’ for Gun Control Push–An email thread dated March 17, 2016, shows various members of the Clinton campaign corresponding about how to approach talking about gun control. At the heart of the correspondence was “a press call with AZ locals about guns” and how to go after Donald Trump on the issue. John Podesta emailed that he was worried about broaching the issue: “Interestingly, I am worried about blowback from our supporters.”
Similar concerns about how to talk about gun control, or if doing so was even wise, came up in a November 5, 2015 email thread. There, Clinton senior advisor Jim Margolis suggested rewording the draft of a Clinton speech so as to give rural voters the impression that Clinton supported their desires to handle gun control differently than it is handled in urban settings. However, a careful reading of Margolis’s changes show Clinton supporting local gun control laws only when localities are trying to make the laws more strict.
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.