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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Clintons' Disdain for the Second Amendment

"You can't have a bunch of people walking around with guns," Hillary's husband says.

Arkansas has pretty permissive gun laws. It does not require handgun owners to obtain licenses, does not ban so-called assault weapons, issues concealed-carry permits to anyone who meets a short list of objective criteria, accepts carry permits issued by other states, and since 2013 arguably allows people to openly carry handguns without a permit.

Although Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas from 1983 to 1992, he and his wife, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, prefer a decidedly more restrictive approach. On Sunday the former president highlighted the couple's disdain for the right to armed self-defense by declaring that "you can't have a bunch of people walking around with guns." The Second Amendment says otherwise.

Clinton made that comment in an interview on CNN's State of the Union, in response to a question about Baltimore's high unemployment rate. He was trying to explain the unrest in that city and others where police have been accused of using excessive force.

Given the context, you might surmise that Clinton favors disarming the police. But instead he seemed to be talking about guns carried by young black men, which he likened to guns carried by combatants in European civil wars.

"I used to tell people when we did Bosnia, Kosovo, anything like that," Clinton said. "You get enough people with weapons around, and there will be unintended consequences. People make mistakes. People do wrong. Things happen." 

According to Clinton, if "you get enough people with weapons around," the result is bound to be ugly: a shockingly high homicide rate and general disorder, if not ethnic cleansing and genocide. Yet we know that's not true.

Beginning with Florida in 1987, one state after another has adopted Arkansas-style nondiscretionary carry permit policies, which 38 states now have; four others do not require a permit. It is clear by now that making it easier to legally possess guns in public does not lead to blood flowing in the streets. Although the argument that more guns means less crime remains controversial, there is very little evidence that loosening the rules for carrying guns in public leads to more violence.

Clinton's remarks raise a constitutional question as well as an empirical one. The position that "you can't have a bunch of people walking around with guns" is plainly inconsistent with the Second Amendment's command that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Even when Democrats concede a constitutional right to own a gun, they tend to ignore that second part.

The Democratic Party's platform in 1992, when Clinton was elected to his first term, called for stricter gun control while eschewing "efforts to restrict weapons used for legitimate hunting and sporting purposes." Four years later, when Clinton won a second term, the Democrats bragged about the new gun restrictions he had championed, including an "assault weapon" ban and a new background check system, while again disclaiming any desire to "restrict weapons used for legitimate sporting purposes."

Neither platform said anything about self-defense, let alone the right to bear arms for that purpose. Nor did the platforms adopted in 2000, 2004, 2008, or 2012, although the latter three did mention "the Second Amendment right to own and use firearms."

According to the Clintons, that right can be exercised only with the government's permission. In 1999 Bill said people should have to "register guns like they register their cars." Hillary likewise has supported national licensing and registration of firearms. Although she repudiated that position in 2008, her continuing support for "background checks that work" would require much the same system to keep track of who owns which firearms.

Even as the former secretary of state tries to avoid alienating gun owners, her words give her away. Last year, referring to supporters of a robust Second Amendment, she declared that "we cannot let a minority of people…hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people." The First Amendment says otherwise.

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  • The Chipper Was One of Danger||

    First, for the first time in years. It's good to be back.

  • Al-WoodChippin-manian||

    Feeling mighty chipper about things, as well you might. Good show.

  • The Chipper Was One of Danger||

    To enjoy the show fully, enter feet first.

  • ||

    Cankles first!

  • Anarcho-Woodchipper||

    But instead he seemed to be talking about guns carried by young black men, which he likened to guns carried by combatants in European civil wars.

    There's no racism like progressive racism

  • The Chipper Was One of Danger||

    How many murdered children does it take to build a platform for HillarHito to stand on?

    Oh autocorrect. I'm going to let you have this one. Maybe the others can make hay out of it.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If you like your guns, you can keep your guns, period.

  • ||

    is there a Woodchipper on the market which is powerful enough to process those cankles?

  • soflarider||

  • Rich||

    Bill said people should have to "register guns like they register their cars." Hillary likewise has supported national licensing and registration of firearms.

    If they can't even get a photo ID, how can poor, disadvantaged minorities *possibly* have the ability to register their firearms?

    Why do the Clintons hate these people? WHY?!

  • Chipwooder||

    Their disdain for only the Second Amendment? Is there anything in the Bill of Rights that they don't disdain?

  • WTF||

    I haven't heard them speaking against the Third Amendment, yet.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    One of the objections leading to the 3rd Amendment is that the quartered troops acted as govt informants, invading your privacy and telling the govt what goes on in your life.

    Sound familiar?

  • Chipwooder||

    Oh come on - Hillary is practically salivating at the idea of forcing you to quarter troops in your guest room.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Could you usr the 3rd to deny Bill prima noctae?

  • ||

    I came here to say this.

  • Harvard||

    And now we learn that Reagan packed heat after coughing up a .22 long. They told us he was a cowboy dammit. Why won't we listen?

  • Rebel Scum||

    I used to tell people when we did Bosnia, Kosovo, anything like that. You get enough people politicians with weapons armies around, and there will be unintended intended consequences (see: death and destruction). People Politicians make mistakes. People do wrong. Things happen.

  • Rebel Scum||

    According to Clinton, if "you get enough people with weapons around," the result is bound to be ugly

    Weapons apparently have this magical ability to think and act on their own.

  • Tejicano||

    They don't have any ability to think and act on their own, silly. It's the bad ju-ju which they exude that causes people who come into contact with those guns to create all that death and mayhem.

  • Unable2Reason||

    A friend of mine says he can't sleep at night for all the damn whispering to him his guns keep doing.

  • ThisWoodchipperKillsFascists||

    "You can't have a bunch of people walking around with guns"

    You mean your security detail?

    Fire them then.

  • Ein Barde und ein Holzhacker||

    Why do these people never see the glaring hypocrisy in having a security detail while demanding disarmament? Why can't they just carry a phone to call 911 the way they expect the rest of us to? You would think the inability of these people to lead by example would discredit everything they believe, but some how it doesn't. People will still support them.

    Honestly I just don't understand people.

  • ThisWoodchipperKillsFascists||

    Its simple. The peasants frighten them.

  • JohnD||

    For good reason

  • Tejicano||

    Let's see, he wants us to register our guns like we do our cars.

    So only if I want to operate them in public then I should register only those guns. And if I get a license to operate any gun in any state then I can carry and operate any gun in any state with total reciprocity.

    That sounds a little closer to what I had in mind.

  • Ein Barde und ein Holzhacker||

    I hate to admit it but it's shit like this that almost makes we willing to vote for whatever turd in a suit the Republican establishment will most likely nominate.

  • ||

    Sometimes the giant douche is less dangerous, sometimes the shit sandwich. This is why I vote despite the well-reasoned critiques against it.

  • NYC2AZ||

    +1 "Vote or Die"

  • Rebel Scum||

    we cannot let a minority of people…hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.

    This woman only wants power over others. Frankly, based on this statement, it frightens me to think of what she would do with said power.

  • Tejicano||

    Hmm... If slaves held a viewpoint, becoming free and equal to all other Americans, which terrorized the majority of white southerners is Hillary saying that freeing them was wrong?

  • ThisWoodchipperKillsFascists||

    Back in the day, when they could vote, blacks voted republican.

    The situation is under control now.

  • Cloudbuster||

    we cannot let a minority of people…hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.

    That's extra chilling. She's not just saying that we cannot allow a minority of people to carry guns. She's saying we cannot allow a minority of people to hold the viewpoint that people ought to be able to carry guns (or any other viewpoint that "terrorizes the majority").

    Exactly how far is it from statements like that to the Soviet Gulag? I'm having difficulty seeing space between them.

  • JohnD||

    Sounds like people are beginning to realize just how evil the Clintons are.

  • EvilWayz||

    By this logic she should immediately call for the dissolution of the police.

  • Special Place in Hell||

    Oh, shit, I thought she was talking about Social Justice Warriors!

  • rudehost||

    I agree. We can't have too many people walk around with guns which is why if Hillary is elected I am calling for the secret service to be completely disarmed. Instead we will issue each agent a wood chipper for self defense.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    "we cannot let a minority of people…hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people."


    This is an important insight for me. Collectivists are terrified of individualists and any ability they may have to stand apart from majority rule. It's not guns that scare them but the individualism and the tools that make individualism sustainable. They are afraid of what they see as chaos: they hate free markets; they're skeptical of minority opinions (taking comfort in settled science, consensus); and they seem to view people as members of a group with standardized opinions and characteristics perhaps because accepting them as individuals would be too chaotic and too difficult to regulate.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Even as the former secretary of state tries to avoid alienating gun owners

    Hopefully this will be limited to her uttering platitudes. Perhaps we'll be spared the pathetic spectacle of her donning a set of stiff new cammies (just bought at a nearby sporting goods store by her staff) and shouldering a borrowed shotgun to "go hunting" to prove that she's an "avid sportswoman" who knows all about guns and of course won't take your duck gun away.

  • Tony||

    If you idiots are going to trump this entire debate by quoting the 2nd amendment, you should be honest and quote the whole thing, even though it serves to undermine the position that its intent is for maximum gun proliferation.

  • Poppa Kilo||

    I dream of the day when Tony will be well-regulated.

  • JohnD||

    I dream of the day he will say something that isn't ludicrous.

  • Win Bear||

    Tony, I suggest you be honest and quote the Ninth Amendment. The Second Amendment doesn't say "the people have these limited rights to carry guns", it says, in effect, "we'd like to remind you that the government does not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms".

    Quite apart from what the Constitution says, another question is whether it is would even be wise to grant government that power, and it would not.

  • kbolino||

    As I have previously stated and you have woefully failed to refute, if the first clause means "guns can be regulated", then it contradicts the second clause and so both cannot be normative. So then you must argue that the first clause which is written in passive, subjunctive language is normative while the second clause which reads "shall not be infringed" is informative. That you consider such an interpretation to be valid only speaks to your intellectual depravity.

  • Harvard||

    It is important to note that the Framers' chose to use the indefinite article "a" to refer to the militia, rather than the definite article "the." This choice suggests to anyone except a Tony that the Framers were not referring to any particular well regulated militia but, instead, only to the concept that well regulated militias, made up of citizens bearing arms, were necessary to secure a free State. Thus, the Framers chose not to explicitly define who, or what, would regulate the militias, nor what such regulation would consist of, nor how the regulation was to be accomplished.

    Moreover, this view is confirmed by Hamilton's observation, in Federalist, No. 29, regarding the people's militias ability to be a match for a standing army: " . . . but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights . . . ."

    Tony's argument is merely a canard, but then, you knew that.

  • philippes||

    The word 'regulated' in the Second Amendment means 'well-equipped' or 'well-organized.' Like a well-regulated clock. It has nothing to do with a regulated government organization as we have today.

    The militia is the whole of the people, as George Mason described it. A free state can only survive if the citizenry has the ability to rise up to defend it's infinite rights from a government that would only allow those enumerated in the Constitution, and then try to curtail those as well.

    To the English professor earlier in this thread: The first clause about the militia is prefatory. The meat of the individual right follows, and is then strengthened further.

    Without the Second Amendment, the First Amendment becomes toothless and unenforceable, since government can easily repress the right of expression of the defenseless.

  • DaveSs||

    The people who wrote those amendments knew very well how to clearly articulate under what circumstances the government would be allowed to intrude upon a person's individual rights.

    If the 2nd Amendment was ever intended to allow the Government to restrict the keeping and bearing of arms, it would look a lot like the 4th amendment.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I'd love to see how you progs would react if some state--particularly a red state--actually took you up on that "it's only for state militia" argument and formed their own militia, with no ties to the federal government and answerable only to the governor and legislature of said state. (The National Guard doesn't meet this definition BTW)

    You'd shit gold bricks.

  • JayWye||

    what DOES the Second say there?
    "A well-regulated militia,being necessary to the security of a free state".
    Hmm,it does NOT say that militias must be "well-regulated",it does NOT say arms must be "well-regulated",it does not restrict arms to militias. it really does not say anything,nor imply anything.
    it says militias "are necessary to a free state",nothing more.
    IOW,just ONE of many reasons why "the right of the People to keep AND BEAR arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED."
    Now that second part DOES say plenty,it makes specific prohibition -on government- to keep their hands off peoples arms.
    it says that people have a RIGHT to own and to CARRY arms,....naturally,in a lawful manner.

    Constitutional attorney Stewart Rhodes will explain The Second Amendment for you.

    ..."The whole point of the Second Amendment is to preserve the military capacity of the American people - to preserve the ability of the people, who are the militia, to provide for their own security as individuals, as neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states, during any emergency, man-made or natural; to preserve the military capacity of the American people to resist tyranny and violations of their rights by oath breakers within government; and to preserve the military capacity of the people to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, including those oath breaking domestic enemies within government. "

  • Harvard||

    Moreover, Tony's adolescent assumption that " even though it (the second half of the 2nd) serves to undermine the position that its intent is for maximum gun proliferation" is equally a canard. A strong case can be made that the 2nd takes "arms" to mean whatever is available, ie: whatever the Central government army has. In 1775, British General Thomas Gage learned heard that the Patriots had gathered together an arsenal of weapons in Concord, sixteen miles from Boston. He ordered his soldiers to go to Concord and capture the weapons and the Revolution was born. What was in this "arsenal"? Powder, canon balls, canon, muskets, swords, bayonets; exactly what the British had.

    If the Tea Party began to amass Stinger Missiles it should trouble no one save the readers of Daily Kos.

  • HolgerDanske||

    Let's not forget that "well regulated" in the historical context doesn't mean "regulated by government or law", but "in proper working order". A law doesn't change its meaning just because the words used in it do over time.

    In the case of the 2nd Amendment, referring to the militia (synonymous with "people", or the second part would have read "the right of the militia") it means well-armed and disciplined in the art of battle.

  • Special Place in Hell||

    Delicious eggs, being an important part of a nutritious breakfast, the right of the people of breed and raise chickens, shall not be infringed.

    Nobody would interpret this phrase in such a way as to deny me the right to eat buckets of fried chicken!

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    I eat 5 dozen eggs a day. Also, I likes what what you said.

  • Win Bear||

    "you can't have a bunch of people walking around with guns"

    You can't have a bunch of guys running around with dicks in their pants, they might attack young interns with them. We need trigger locks for dicks, and if you misuse your dick, it will be confiscated. Yes, that means you, Mr. Clinton!

  • Win Bear||

    Hillary: "we cannot let a minority of people…hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people."

    So are you going to take the East German option and send people who hold viewpoints you disagree with to mental hospitals, the Soviet option and send them to labor camps in Siberia, or the Nazi option and just starve and gas them?

    Please, Hillary, let us know how you plan on dealing with people holding unpopular viewpoints so that we can prepare.

  • Deckard||

    Everyone knows that the 2nd amendment only protects the government's right to hunt.

    Duh.

  • Cloudbuster||

    we cannot let a minority of people…hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.

    I'm old enough to remember (and I'm not that old) when a statement like this would have shocked a typical Democrat. How quickly times have changed.

  • kolanut||

    All tyrants espouse the idea that the tools of self-defense are bad things, but then they don't wish to be held to any such laws, assuring themselves that should such laws be passed they would be exempt from them. And to Bill's assertion that "when you get a bunch of guns in one place you only end up with havoc", I can see his point. After all, we've had such bloody chaos in this nation for the last two hundred and forty years, having allowed upward of 350,000,000 firearms into the hands of America's citizens. I wish we go just a week without these millions of gun owners raping, pillaging and murdering so many of us. It's just like Bosnia, right??

  • JohnD||

    Why do people even pay any attention to this left wing molester?

    BTW, show me a Democrat that has any respect for the Constitution.

  • Grant||

    Is it disdain for the Constitution - and the history that precedes it - or is it just blind worship of governance?

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  • Dilligaf||

    Owning arms for "Hunting" and "Sporting Purposes" would be protected under whatever part of the Constitution it is that protects your right to own soccer balls and hockey sticks. Hunting may perhaps under some circumstances be regarded as the right to protect your self from starvation (which would be the same as the right to fish,farm,trade,barter etc), but since it is more like an opportunity or privilege which in a lawful society would depend on a harvestable surplus of game animals this is not what that the 2nd amendment is talking about. Protecting your Life, Liberty and Property on the other hand, this would be a RIGHT. Unless you are state property or some other form of a slave.

  • Stand4Rights||

    Why oh why can't the two dominant political parties present us with honest, God fearing, patriotic, viable Presidential candidates for us to elect? Looks like it's going to be Jeb, who want's to legalize illegal felon border jumpers, and Bill and Hill, Evil and more Evil , or Bernie, redder than your average Commie. Swearing in any of these to uphold the Constitution is committing treason by anyone's standards. But didn't the last two elections demonstrate that also? Any candidate who has any moral and ethical values is demonized by the media and the parties alike.

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    Why oh why can't the two dominant political parties present us with Presidential candidates who want to leave everyone the fuck alone for us to elect?

    FIFY

  • Gemma||

    Interesting article. It reminds me of this one as well: http://www.inkst.ink/2015/09/s.....-bullshit/

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