*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It shouldn’t surprise any American watching the campaign for the presidency that while many Americans, including one or two Republicans, were stunned that a candidate for the White House would parrot other Republicans and suggest a Second Amendment remedy for a possible Democratic victory, the National Rifle Association jumped to defend their chosen candidate. To top their defense of an offensive statement from an offensive Republican, the NRA dropped a cool $3 million in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Almost immediately after Trump told his rabid supporters that nothing will stop Hillary Clinton from nominating a Supreme Court Justice, except those maniacal “Second Amendment people,” the NRA launched a “Tweet” agreeing with and defending Trump’s remark. It leads one to wonder who in the Trump campaign affiliated with the NRA might have suggested to the candidate that a nod to the pro-gun proliferation crowd would garner much-needed support from the base and the NRA. The organization leading the GOP drive to put more guns on the streets Tweeted shortly after Trump’s comments that,
“@realDonaldTrump is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary”
First, there is no such thing an anti-#2A SCOTUS judge. The 2nd Amendment is part of the U.S. Constitution and it is safe to say that no prospective SCOTUS judge, or any member of the federal judiciary, is anti-anything enshrined in the Constitution. Second, if Hillary Clinton is elected president, then of course she “gets” to nominate a SCOTUS judge. However, as the nation has witnessed over the past few months, Senate Republicans have a new unwritten rule that only Republican presidents “get” to pick a SCOTUS judge, so Trump’s concern may be misplaced.
It wasn’t enough for the NRA to defend an atrocious statement referring to one of its gun fanatics assassinating a presidential candidate, they had to spend $3 million on an ad buy lying about Hillary Clinton and accusing her of endangering Americans by “leaving them defenseless.” The NRA television spot followed Trump’s line and accused Hillary of wanting to eviscerate the Second Amendment and questioned her trustworthiness because she has said consistently that individuals have a right to own firearms according to the only part of the Constitution Republicans recognize as valid.
The $3 million worth of ads will be broadcast in battleground states Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina. The campaign for Trump ad says:
“She’s one of the wealthiest women in politics. Tours the world on private jets. Protected by armed guard for 30 years. But she doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. An out-of-touch hypocrite. She’d leave you defenseless.”
It is a similar claim the NRA made against President Obama after the Sandy Hook School massacre when the President called for gun safety measures like universal background checks. The NRA claimed that the President was a hypocrite because his children were protected by armed Secret Service agents but he wanted regular Americans “unarmed and defenseless.” As an aside, Hillary Clinton has called for sane gun safety measures, but only if they are “consistent with the Second Amendment.” That is a damn far cry from pledging to abolish the amendment and “leave Americans defenseless.”
The gun zealots and their hero Trump have been saying Clinton is deliberately misleading the public in saying:
“I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”
The former Secretary of State’s proposed gun legislation is minimal, but at least it would expand background checks to Internet gun sales and gun shows, and close the loophole that allows someone to purchase a gun without a background check if they have to wait more than 3 days. Clinton also noted back in October that it might be “worth considering” gun buyback programs, but it has never been any part of her campaign. For the record, there are sane communities that have gun buyback programs that Republicans and the NRA have worked feverishly to abolish as unconstitutional, unpatriotic, and a waste of good killing power.
Hillary Clinton’s advocacy for the most basic gun safety rules is awfully bold during a general election, but with 90-plus percent of the population supporting keeping guns away from those who shouldn’t have them, it is certainly the right time. She also is apparently not going to back down no matter how almighty powerful the NRA is. Her campaign spokesman said after Trump’s 2nd Amendment comment and news of the NRA campaign ad:
“The gun lobby is coming to Donald Trump’s defense and spending millions of dollars to spread lies about Hillary Clinton because they know Trump will always do their bidding. The fact is, too many families in America have suffered—and continue to suffer—from gun violence and the vast majority of the American people – including the vast majority of gun owners – believe we can and must do better.”
As this column suggested yesterday, it may well be that Trump’s now-notorious 2nd Amendment comments might have been planned in advance and the release of the NRA ads following so closely on the heels of that atrocious remark seems curious. Although Trump appears to have stepped in it with some Americans, his remarks were red meat for the white supremacist and gun-zealot movement.
It is noteworthy that the NRA was one of first major lobbies and conservative activists to endorse Trump even before he had secured the nomination. The NRA’s rapid defense of the Donald’s nasty 2nd Amendment comment coupled with the well-timed release of a $3 million anti-Hillary ad campaign certainly looks like besides Vladimir Putin, the NRA may be Donald Trump’s greatest supporters making him a typical establishment Republican and not a Washington outsider like he’s wont to claim.