Dave Kopel
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(In the May issue of the new Townhall Magazine, long-time Second Amendment defender, Dave Kopel exposes the clandestine strategy being employed to rob you of your right to bear arms. The Left believes that they can distract you with the national debate over gun rights while they make their move at the local level. Townhall Magazine exposes their plans before it's too late. Click here to receive a free copy of Townhall Magazine.)

If you doubt the transformational power of Barack Obama, consider the change that he’s effected on Hillary Clinton. The New York Senator came into the 2008 race with a nearly perfect anti-gun rights voting record, following her White House tenure on behalf of the most aggressively anti-Second Amendment administration in American history. Yet today, her candidacy survives because of the pro-gun vote.

A Tuesday loss in Indiana would have ended the race. But she eked out a 2% victory by carrying the votes of gun-owning households (who made up half of the electorate) in a 22% landslide. In Pennsylvania, her ten-point win brought in ten million dollars of cash that she needed to keep going. Her 25% margin in gun-owning households of the Keystone State (a third of the electorate) turned what would have been a close contest into a runaway.

In North Carolina, she was crushed by Obama. Yet among gun-owning households, she actually won the state by 3%, her 15 point loss being attributable to Obama’s margin in the non-gun households.

Even before the final Indiana results had even been counted, a Clinton campaign press release crowed about her demonstrated appeal to gun owners.

In the final days before Indiana, the Clinton campaign sent a targeted mailing to Hoosier gun owners. It pointed out that Obama claimed to support the Second Amendment, and promised not to take away people’s guns. But, as the mailing noted, Obama had endorsed handgun prohibition in 1996. The mailer also reminded voters about Obama’s comment to a wealthy San Francisco crowd that economically distressed people in small towns in the Midwest “cling” to guns because they are “bitter.”

The Clinton mailing wasn’t pitch-perfect. It featured a picture of a beautiful rifle, a 66 Mauser. The Mauser costs about $2,200, and sports a double trigger, an accessory rarely found on American guns, but more typical of Western Europe, where the firearms market is more geared to custom guns for the aristocracy, as opposed to America’s off-the-racks guns for the masses.

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Dave Kopel

Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute, an attorney and author of 10 books.