MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Democrats Erase the Second Amendment From Their Platform

The omission is consistent with Hillary Clinton's disdain for the right to armed self-defense.

CBS NewsCBS NewsThis 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.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    And for their next trick, they'll erase the 1st Amendment.

  • Citizen X||

    Like that's not already on the agenda too.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Ginsberg already said she's hoping for the chance.

  • Florida Hipster||

    Link?

  • Caput Lupinum||

    Since they can't be bothered, here you go Florida Man:

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says in a new interview that the Citizens United ruling paving the way for more unfettered campaign spending by corporations was the current court's worst decision ever.

    Ginsburg told The New Republic that she would overturn the 2010 ruling if she could.
  • Agammamon||

    Worse than Dred Scott? That's pretty bad.

  • Brochettaward||

    Well, these scum actually suggested amending the Constitution to do it. How that went by with such little commentary and gets such little attention during this campaign...

    Oh, wait. Trump is on board with reversing Citizen's United, as well.

  • R C Dean||

    He is? Link?

  • Caput Lupinum||

    It is from last year, and knowing Trump, his position has probably changed 50 times since then, but here you go:

    Trump has been critical of Citizens United, the infamous 2010 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for the modern super PAC elections with which we've become all too accustomed. When several of his opponents flew out to a California resort to hobnob with billionaire donors associated with the Koch brothers, he knocked them as "puppets."
  • Wizard4169||

    But he loves him some Kelo!

  • Brochettaward||

    What don't you crazy libertarians get? Your rights are subject to reasonable regulation with reasonable being defined by robed lawyers political stooges appoint to the courts. All of them. You can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater!

  • Doctor Whom||

    I pointed out to some Team-Blue-bots that the Crown Princess thinks that way, and they didn't seem to care.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It says only that "responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities"...

    I would have said the community they meant was the enforcement arms of their central planning, but they put "responsible" in there, so it can't be police they're thinking of.

  • ||

    Picking and choosing which rights Cankles wants to violate is missing the point.

    Like our own beloved Tony, the left doesnt believe in inalienable rights at all. For them, rights are only privileges granted by the government. It is the undiluted mentality of a tyrant.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I can't see how that's not an electoral loser, except maybe in a few blue states.

  • NoVaNick||

    I think the states where the 2nd amendment would make a difference have already flipped to red (TN, KY, WV, MO).
    VA has since become infested with proggies who come to DC from blue states for gov't jobs, but don't want to send their kids to the crappy DC schools, so they settle in NoVa and are turning the state blue. A similar thing is happening in NC where proggies are infesting the RTP area.

  • Chipwooder||

    As a Richmonder, I'd love nothing more than to see Maryland annex Fairfax and Prince William counties.

  • [OMITTED]||

    I like about a 4.5lb pull on my voting lever.

  • ||

    I can't wait till she goes to Ohio and Pennsylvania with her anti-gun rhetoric. It's like she's trying to hand Trump the Presidency.

  • BigT||

    Her anti-coal stand is more significant in OH and PA.

  • albo||

    Yeah, she's a continuation of Obama's coal hard on, which is really turning people in southwest PA. People who don't vote have registered just to vote Trump down there.

  • Deep Lurker||

    So why didn't this get described as a "terrifying display of nightmarish authoritarianism"?

  • ||

    A lot of left leaners are in the closet.

  • albo||

    It's not fascism when you're prohibiting things for peoples' own good, right?

  • modurhead||

    very 1984

  • modurhead||

    because the fairness doctrine no longer exists and media can legally lie to you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

  • Lee Genes||

    Other zingers in there:

    We will defend the right of workers to collect their defined
    benefit pensions and make sure workers get priority and protection when pension plans are in
    distress

    In other words, get ready to get buttfucked Mr. Taxpayer.

  • Atanarjuat||

    To be fair, "get ready to get buttfucked Mr. Taxpayer" could summarize their entire party platform.

  • Lee Genes||

    Democrats believe it is long past time to close this racial wealth gap. Disparities in wealth cannot
    be solved by the free market alone, but instead, the federal government must play a role in
    eliminating systemic barriers to wealth accumulation for different racial groups and improving
    opportunities for people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to build wealth. Federal policies
    must remove barriers to achieving sustainable homeownership, provide for greater diversity in
    federal and state contracting practices, incentivize and expand access to retirement investment
    programs, increase opportunities for quality jobs and education, and challenge the deeply rooted
    structures that perpetuate and exacerbate current disparities and ultimately stagnate the nation's
    economic growth and security

    So 8(a) and the CRA don't exist already?

  • albo||

    must remove barriers to achieving sustainable homeownership

    Get ready to short mortgage bonds again.

  • Lee Genes||

    While freedom of expression is a fundamental constitutional principle, we
    must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence
    we don't really have a commitment to it.
  • Wizard4169||

    I have no problem with condemning "hate speech"; it's only silencing people at gunpoint I object to. Sadly, that's probably what they mean.

  • Lord at War||

    We will defend the right of workers to collect their defined benefit pensions and make sure workers get priority and protection when pension plans are in distress

    Especially when we can screw over GM bondholders like CALPERS... lolwhut!

  • Pathogen||

    There's nothing "omitted" about it, you just haven't asked...

  • Rich||

    I had to laugh at the part of Michelle's speech where she cited her girls going to school accompanied by "men with guns".

  • Pathogen||

    They live in a house filled to the rafters with heavily armed gunmen.. and snipers on the roof..

  • Drake||

    And this will be the nail in Hillary's coffin. Gun control doesn't play in any swing state.

  • ||

    It doesnt play in a lot of blue states either.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    Jacob, I love your writings, but please be careful. Some of your language here implies that our right to bear arms (and thus more generally our right to self defense) derives from the second amendment and thus government. I don't think you believe this...

    I think the concept of rights that supersede government is important for explaining libertarianism and the nap to possible proselytes.

  • AlmightyJB||

    GOP needs to roll with this. The left wants to extend background checks to private transfers because the only way to enforce that is with national registration which is what they have to have in order to get what they really want which is confiscation. The GOP needs to explain that "closing the gunshow loopholes" actually means national gun registration. That's how you shut that down.

  • Wizard4169||

    True. That "overwhelming" support for universal background checks does tend to fall off quickly once you explain this.

  • DiegoF||

    Bah. The public is in general very susceptible to being blindsided by incrementalist creep. Barring this changing, which would be a profound and fundamental change in way of thinking that would amount to an across-the-board libertarian renaissance (as would other similarly profound changes, like becoming less susceptible to moral panic), public lobbies like the NRA serve a very important purpose. They gain the trust and deference of the concerned public to look after their interests, and then use that generalized leverage to push politicians on things the public would never push them on their own issue for issue.
    .
    Unfortunately, the NRA has a shaky demographic future by hitching their wagon to angry, conservative, often bigoted and authoritarian white men. Probably the right strategy for now, but they'd better have something else up their sleeve.

  • BigT||

    Yes, the NRA should reach out to poor urban black people who are most at risk of violence from others, including police.

  • See.More||

    Bah. The NRA has already started to cave to the insanity and actually supports "No fly, No buy".

  • DiegoF||

    "Already?" Bah. No one but gun grabbers thinks of the NRA as 2A purists. They are pragmatists. This, I have to remind myself through gritted teeth, is what's behind all this noxious culture-warring, panic-sowing, and cop-boot-licking; it's probably a good strategy for the present, as I mentioned above.
    .
    The Cornyn amendment was noxious, but it was substantially better than the Collins amendment, which was nearly functionally equivalent to the Feinstein. And which was defeated, despite all the "hardline pro-2A Senator" apostates and the enthusiastic backing of the GOP presidential candidate (actually more meaningfully described as a Feinstein supporter). The NRA wriggled out of that one quite nicely; it was very dangerous...

  • DiegoF||

    ...And in the end, I might add, nothing passed. America, right left and center, is not with us, not remotely, when it comes to the pressing need to Do Something about all this Terrorism and Violence. Cornyn was a necessary gambit. The NRA, while obviously quite blinkered in its support for this particular Amendment, is completely savvy to the "backdoors" that might be used to chip away at it by stealth, especially the Due Process one. The bubbas that make up its rank and file will cheer like idiots as the government grabs every gun from Terrorists and Illegals and Druggies and Psychos and Urban Thugs, not Good People like them, until there is nothing of gun rights left. But they trust the NRA, which leverages that support to smarter use.
    .
    Unfortunately, as I've said, they do need a better long game.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Yep.

    The records of transfers and checks need to be persistent, thus it becomes de facto registration.

    if the records are not persistent, then the law requiring background checks is unenforceable.

  • modurhead||

    they are all for "free" trade as long as that only means their official weapons producers sell armaments to a death cult like saudi arabia. but these so called leaders try and limit their own citizen's right to defend themselves while arming a theocracy with no separation between cult and state, i think thats what they want Uhmerica to look like.

  • Rebel Scum||

    It really seems like Team Blue is trying to throw this election.

  • dantheserene||

    RS-
    Indeed, it's like neither side of the duopoly really wants to win.

  • ||

    You would think they would stick with the generic 'assault weapons ban', not totally ignore the 2nd Amendment.

  • albo||

    If she gets elected, a lot of people will be giving themselves handguns for Xmas this year. Get them while you still can.

  • dantheserene||

    And immediately trade them around with no paper trail.

  • R C Dean||

    This would be the second article today on the Dem convention that doesn't bash Trump. Well played, kids! See, you can do it!

  • zombietimeshare||

    The latest Project Veritas video nailed it when a Democrat delegate admitted 'common sense gun control' Is just code for repealing the Second Amendment.

  • Alan@.4||

    Re Clinton's comments/claims concerning The Second Amendment and Gun Rights, the following comes to mind. One can put any amount of lipstick on a pig. It remains what it is, a pig, wearing lipstick.

  • modurhead||

    they arent interested in protecting citizens, if they were they would pass a law stating that police cant harass you unless its an emergency. that would have prevented that weaponized meter maid from killing Philando Castile when he reached for his wallet over a broken tail light.

  • Alan@.4||

    In my opinion, politicians of any stripe, Republican, Democrat Independent cannot really be trusted, at least not until violations of their oath of office, that bit of business that included "supporting, upholding and defending the constitution" are treated and prosecuted as perjury, perjury being a felony.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online