This year's Democratic Party platform provides further evidence that Hillary Clinton not only does not value the Second Amendment right to armed self-defense but does not believe it exists. Like the 2004, 2008, and 2012 platforms, the latest version calls for various new gun controls, including extension of the federal background-check requirement to all gun transfers, expansion of the criteria that disqualify people from owning guns, re-enactment of a federal "assault weapon" ban, and repeal of the federal law that protects gun suppliers from civil liability based on criminal use of their products. But unlike those earlier platforms, this year's does not so much as mention the Second Amendment. It says only that "responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities" and that "we can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe." The platform is silent on the question of what those rights might be or what their source is. In that respect the party has reverted to the approach it last took in 2000, when many Democrats blamed Al Gore's defeat on his gun control advocacy. The course reversal is clear when you compare the relevant language from each year:
2000: "A shocking level of gun violence on our streets and in our schools has shown America the need to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them—in ways that respect the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and legitimate gun owners."
2004: "We will protect Americans' Second Amendment right to own firearms."
2008: "We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms."
2012: "We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms."
2016: "While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe."
Erasing the Second Amendment from the Democratic platform is consistent with the nominee's opinion that District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 case in which the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to armed self-defense, was "wrongly decided." If Clinton thinks the Court went too far in overturning a D.C. law that made it impossible for people to legally use guns for self-defense in their homes, it is hard to imagine what law she would deem inconsistent with the Second Amendment. That position, combined with her refusal to say whether the Second Amendment has anything to do with individual rights and the platform's silence on the question, pretty conclusively demonstrates that the reason Clinton "has never called for the abolition of the 2nd Amendment" (as CNN assures us) is that she does not view it as an impediment to restrictions on guns. If she is elected president, we will have a Supreme Court that agrees.