One of the things Trump was criticized for yesterday (and today) was the premise of his statement about Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment. “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said before his remark about “Second Amendment people” that completely overshadowed his point.
Nevertheless, CNN host Brooke Baldwin’s first response to Trump yesterday was to reject his premise. “Let me just say, as we have covered so much on the Second Amendment, Hillary Clinton has never said she wants to abolish the Second Amendment,” Baldwin said. She then added, “She just wants, you know, fair and smart gun laws and to keep guns out of the hands of folks who just shouldn’t have them.”
It’s true that Clinton has never said she wants to “abolish” the Second Amendment but, as National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke points out, it’s possible to legally gut the Amendment without actually repealing it:
As anybody with an elementary understanding of American law comprehends, one does not need to call an Article V convention in order to effectively remove a provision from the Constitution. If, for example, Donald Trump were to claim tomorrow that the First Amendment did not protect an individual right to speech, how do we imagine that the press corps would react? Do we think that the New York Times’s editorial board would nonchalantly say “well, that’s fine because he hasn’t called for Article V repeal”? Or do we imagine that it would cry — correctly — that this was pretty damn worrying given that Trump might be in a position to appoint judges? Clearly, it would be the latter — and rightly so.
In leaked audio from a fundraiser, Clinton suggested that she would like to see the Supreme Court overturn the Heller decision, a decision that ended a ban on handguns in D.C. From the Washington Free Beacon:
Although Clinton did not identify which Supreme Court case she disagreed with, she appeared to be criticizing the landmark 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which found the handgun ban in Washington, D.C., unconstitutional…
“We’ve got to go after this,” Clinton continued. “And here again, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.”
Again, Clinton did not say she wants to abolish the Second Amendment but there is evidence she would like to see the Supreme Court reverse itself on the Heller decision making gun bans possible once again. And in Trump’s defense, he did at first say Hillary wanted to “abolish” the Second Amendment, but then quickly corrected himself and said, “effectively abolish.”