Earlier this year when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre addressed the NRA’s annual meeting both claimed that if she ever becomes president, Hillary Clinton will do all in her power to eviscerate or, in Mr. Trump’s words, “abolish” the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Mrs. Clinton and her supporters called the charges lies and claim there is no evidence that she wants to do either.
While one has to parse every word uttered by Mrs. Clinton to find where she really stands, her position on the individual right of Americans to “keep and bear arms” is far clearer than she might like it to be, which may explain why in a recent national poll 38 percent of Americans listed an attack on their Second Amendment rights as their “greatest fear.”
Mr. LaPierre claimed, “If she could, Hillary would ban every gun, destroy every magazine [and] put your name on a government registration list.” To do that, however, she would have to change the makeup of the United States Supreme Court. He put the consequences in stark terms: “If she gets her hands on the Supreme Court and stacks it with just one more justice we’ll be kissing our Second Amendment freedom goodbye.”
The charge, claimed Mrs. Clinton and her allies, is absurd, arguing that she had never said she would actually “abolish” the Second Amendment. She and her supporters are right in a very narrow Clintonian sense. One’s reading of her words depends on their meaning as she interprets them. Mrs.
Clinton has never said outright that she wants the words of the Second Amendment erased — just reinterpreted in a way that would accomplish exactly the same thing.