I’m not sure what to make of these remarks from Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, who said that the former first lady wasn’t suggesting we confiscate guns, even though she said that it was “worth looking at” during a town hall event in Keene, New Hampshire last week. But have no fear; her plan is loaded with common sense or something. Stephen Gutowski of The Free Beacon clipped the exchange:
JENNIFER PALMIERI: What she was referring to is places where there have been mass shooting and the countries have done something to act on it. And she’s put forward a very common sense proposal that would have background checks for everyone, that would remove the special protections the gun industry has from liability, but it’s all very common sense measures that the majority of the public supports …
Well, those countries all instituted gun bans, confiscation, and registrations, which pretty much ended in failure.
Expanding background checks won’t stop mass shootings. Most perpetrators pass background checks because they–up until that point–have not broken any laws, nor have they been involuntarily committed due to mental health problems. Most have bought their guns legally, and the Oregon shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, lived in a state with universal background checks. The larger part of this debate is mental health. The vast majority of mass shooters have exhibited signs of mental illness, though Democrats on the hill aren't really moving on that front.
More disconcertingly, the profile for these perpetrators is similar to millions of young men in America, the vast majority of which do not commit mass murder. Detaining millions of angry, young men who fit a certain profile is not a serious policy solution, neither is gun confiscation.
Second, repealing the Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act (a great law by the way) rightfully prevents lawsuits filed against gun manufactures whose products were unwillingly and unknowingly used in a crime. Given how the anti-gun left is today, there is no doubt this will be abused to bankrupt the gun industry and deprive people of their Second Amendment rights. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted for this law when it was enacted in 2005 under the Bush administration–and he has zero regrets about it. In July, he had an exchange with a Moms Demand activist in Arlington, Virginia, who pressed him on his past vote.
“If somebody assaults you with a baseball bat, you hit somebody over the head, you’re not going to sue the baseball bat manufacturer,” Sanders said.
“There’s going to have to be some compromises on both sides. So I don’t apologize for that vote."
Luckily, this fight won’t happen anytime soon either. It does not have the votes.
Lastly, let’s go through what Clinton said last week when asked about gun control in Keene [emphasis mine]:
VOTER: Back to handguns. Recently, Australia managed to get away, or take away tens of thousands, millions of handguns. In one year, they were all gone. Can we do that? If we can’t, why can’t we?
HILLARY CLINTON: Australia is a good example, Canada is a good example, the U.K. is a good example. Why? Each of them have had mass killings. Australia had a huge mass killing about 20-25 years ago, Canada did as well, so did the U.K. In reaction, they passed much stricter gun laws.
In the Australian example, as I recall, that was a buyback program. The Australian government, as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of automatic weapons, offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns. Then, they basically clamped down, going forward, in terms of having more of a background check approach, more of a permitting approach, but they believe, and I think the evidence supports them, that by offering to buyback those guns, they were able to curtail the supply and set a different standard for gun purchases in the future.
Communities have done that in our country, several communities have done gun buyback programs. I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged. After the terrible 2008 financial crisis, one of the programs that President Obama was able to get in place was Cash for Clunkers. You remember that? It was partially a way to get people to buy new cars because we wanted more economic activity, and to get old models that were polluting too much, off the roads. So I think that’s worth considering. I do not know enough detail to tell you how we would do it, or how would it work, but certainly your example is worth looking at. [Applause]
So, it's a bit disingenuous for Palmieri to say that Hillary isn't for gun confiscation when, in fact, she supported an example that explicitly led to ... gun confiscation. Clinton has already said in private that the Supreme Court is "wrong" on the Second Amendment, though she seems to have given herself an escape hatch. When she said she didn’t know the details or how it would work, she allowed herself to say, if she’s elected, that the gun confiscation route was unfeasible due to the obvious lack of votes. She could then go all-out on the expanded background check route, which at least has more of a chance passing Congress. If all else fails, she could just bypass congress via executive actions, which she said she might do on background checks.