Will Hillary be the Death of Heller and the Individual Right?

Second Amendment document

A fifth liberal Justice could kill the individual right to bear arms. What does that mean to you? While the elections are still playing out, the Second Amendment, as we know it, is hanging in the balance. If you don’t believe me or disagree, please read on. This may be the most ominous article you’ll read from now to the election in November.

The front view of the Supreme Court building
Your guns rights could be easily revoked once the case enters these doors.

The Claims and Counterclaims

At the NRA convention, Donald Trump claimed, “the Second Amendment is on the ballot in November,” and Hillary Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment.”

Hillary immediately claimed to be offended and charged that Trump was lying. She claimed that she merely favors background checks and minor regulation. Taking to Twitter she said, “We can uphold Second Amendment rights while preventing senseless gun violence.” However, she did not state how she would do that. Well, at least not in the Tweet, but we can go to previous transcripts and audio to take the temperature of her view of the Second Amendment.

If Hillary “gets to appoint her judges, she will as part of it abolish the Second Amendment.” This claim was made by Trump when he addressed the NRA. Let’s not forget—as Trump correctly pointed out—Hillary admonished the Supreme Court for the District of Columbia v. Heller decision establishing that the Second Amendment included an individual right to bear arms.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (1936-2016)

It does not seem to have been a ‘slip of the lip’ or to be taken out of context either. About a year ago, while speaking at a private fundraiser where the media’s cameras were not present, Hillary again criticized the Supreme Court for being “wrong on the Second Amendment.” When pressured by the media to explain her comments, Clinton dispatched Maya Harris, (one of Hillary’s spokespeople) to do damage control by muddying the waters when speaking to Bloomberg Politics. Harris claimed Hillary “believes Heller was wrongly decided—in that cities and states should have the power to craft common sense laws to keep their residents safe.”

Wow! What else can you say? The main point of the Heller decision explicitly shows that the “right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” Therefore, Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion did not sort through every possible regulation. What Scalia’s opinion did settle was that the individual right covers guns that are “in common use for lawful purposes.” Can you imagine the chaos and cost to relitigate that in every state or city? Not to mention trying to navigate your daily travels or a road trip without running afoul of the law.

Scalia, writing for the majority opinion in Heller, also clearly stated that Heller overturned the District of Columbia’s handgun ban. This is significant because Heller (indirectly) would disallow a reimplementation the Clinton Administration’s ban on semi-automatic rifles used for hunting (Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act—more commonly called the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994). Clinton has on more than one occasion stated her support to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban though.

05 itshouldnotbecalledguncontrol

The Real Question

Although there are many hints, Hillary has not come out with a definitive policy position as to whether she agrees with Heller‘s ruling that individuals can bear arms. To do so would be a break from the majority of the political left that has long held that the Second Amendment belongs only to a “well regulated Militia” and not to the individual.

The Future?

Heller was decided by a 5-4 vote. Without Scalia, the current court would be 4-4 at best, but the next President will appoint one, and perhaps as many as three, new justice(s) during their presidency.

The court’s makeup matters because four liberal Justices dissented from Heller on precisely the point of whether the Second Amendment covers an individual right. For instance, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—one of the dissenters—told a luncheon of the Harvard Club in 2009 that their dissent was crafted with an eye to helping a “future, wiser court” overturn Heller. Do you still think the next president does not matter and the Second Amendment will always endure?

A few of the Heller Justices have retired and been replaced since the Heller decision was rendered. For instance, Sonia Sotomayor replaced David Souter, but she joined the “liberal” justices on the Second Amendment and firearm issues. Justice Elena Kagan replaced Justice John Paul Stevens after his retirement. She hasn’t had a chance to rule on the individual’s right to bear arms, but there isn’t any expectation by experts who follow the court that she would be in favor of the current Heller decision.

Second Amendment document

Heller was Tested

The Supreme Court cannot be proactive and has to wait for a case to be presented. Over the years, since the Heller decision was rendered, other Bill of Rights cases pertaining to the states have been considered by the court. In theory, Heller should have established an unchallenged individual right to bear arms. This should have been the basis for every court’s precedent afterward. However, that was not the case when the Court considered whether it should be applied to the states in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.

After all, based on Heller, you would think McDonald would have been decided by a 9-0 vote. Right? Sadly, the four liberal judges seemingly failed to properly weigh Heller in their dissent to McDonald—this would seem to harken back and confirm Justice Ginsburg’s early hope that a future court would overturn Heller.


The Conclusion

I do not know the dangers that the future may hold for the Second Amendment or the individual right to bear arms. However, in less than 1,000 words, this article is a window into the future of our Second Amendment rights as we know them if Hillary is elected.

This November, when the nation votes for the next President, we will also be voting on the future of the Second Amendment. Get the word out, and strike a win for the Second Amendment.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (34)

  1. I’ the retired cop that started the investigation that became the movie”Goodfellas”. After almost of year, the Feds, under the direction of now former U.S. Attorney Edward McDonald “stole” Henry Hill from me and essentially crushed my case. McDonald went on for 8 years protecting this dirtbag Hill for 8 years. McDonald made a fortune playing himself in “Goodfellas” and another Scorcese movie. McDonald then went into private practice where he was interviewed by the Daily Beast. He was asked “What law would you hcange, abolish or create??” McDonald replied and I quote “I would abolish the Second Amendment to the Constitution and then create laws restricting gun ownership to only the most limited circumstances”! Sounds to me like Hillary Clinton in man’s clothing!. Now, I am in favor of back ground check, but the Second Amendment to the Constitution give all of us Americans unalienable rights to keep and bear arms, like the Founding Fathers demanded when drafting the Constitution. God bless Mr. Trump and God Bless America. Any federal government will have to pry my guns out of my cold, dead hands!

  2. “Inalienable”, my last argument, my final stance. Have we forgot? Liberals have chose to rewrite ‘Webster’s’ to suit their goals. Many of our rights have been “re-defined”, “misconstrued” and worse of all, turned into lies that are told over and over so many times, even they now believe them to be true. The “Military”; fear not the military. The commanders have no one to follow orders. Outside forces, what a joke. Hang in there. Freedom is not free.

  3. Still baffles me how the 2nd can be interpreted any other way than for individuals.
    All the other rights? For individuals.
    The 2nd? Sandwiched between other individual rights.
    But that is just me…looking at it logically.

  4. Not sure why we need a group of people to tell us what is clearly written in law. This idea of interpretation of plain English is ludicrous at best. Personally… I can read and understand that ALL rights are individual rights and I don’t care what some faceless entity says… I will exercise them for my safety and the safety of my family.

  5. Hello,

    My jaw dropped when Bush Sr. used the the term “New World Order”. I knew that meant We’re going to nullify gun ownership by the citizens of the United States. By killing the 2nd Amendment or, by putting so many restrictions on it that it would be a useless right.

    This I would expect from the Dems ,but, a conservative from Texas?

    There is obviously something going on behind closed doors.

    Gun Control and Confiscation, has crossed Party Lines! My votes go by 2nd Amendment support record of the candidate.

    Hillary will pick away at our 2nd Amendment Rights until they are gone.This is FACT.
    Use your Vote to stop it it. I know there’s not a great choice for the presidential race. But, the less of 2 evils is Trump.. Argg.

    If the population is disarmed the Government has total control. We’re looking at History repeating itself. 1930’s Nazi’s , !950 China, and Russia after WWII.

    I’m scared, I have plan for myself. But, heed my words, in the next 10 yrs. the police will be at your door for your guns.

    Note of dismay:

    I saw a picture in the local newspaper of a shave headed Sheriff Deputy carrying a SAW with 200rnd box Mag. to domestic disturbance call.

    So, Who needs gun control !!!

    Long Live the Republic !

  6. Progressives have no problem playing small ball. They are perfectly happy to chip away at individual liberty a little bit at a time. They are in it for the long haul. It really saddens me to say it, but they will win eventually. It may take four years, it may take 50, but they will win. If the so-called “conservatives” in our government fought with even a fraction of the zeal and tenacity of the progressives, we might stand a chance. But they don’t, and never will. It’s just a matter of time.

    1. Don’t call then “progressives” they are “regressives” they want to regress into the dark ages of government sovereignty over individual liberties. These collectivist near do wells artfully use language, time to turn the tables. Anyone who advocates against individual right like RKBA are also “jihad” sympathizers, fascism grows like a fungus in a disarmed society.

  7. Any politician that swears on the bible to up hold the constitution of the United States and than goes after it and the amendments to change them to fit there agenda. Should be impeached and in prisoned. This should also include the supreme court judges.

  8. we don’t care what some politician, judge or even president thinks or wants…we know what our rights are, and we will defend our rights by any means necessary…these idiot type people do not understand that our rights are not given to us by any man or paper, they are given to us by GOD as our natural rights as human beings…they can try, BUT THEY WILL FAIL….MOLON LABE….

  9. By the same token, a conservative justice could do the same damage. Blindly believing that only liberal justices are capable of trampling the Second Amendment is not only dangerous, it’s stupid. Not all conservatives are pro-gun, and not all liberals are anti-gun.

    Being a liberal myself, I can’t vote for Hillary. I don’t need to tell you why. I also can’t vote for Trump, because he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s telling people what they want to hear just to get votes. Based on simply listening to him, I can say that he’s not even worthy to run for president and he makes us all look like fools. So as far as I’m concerned, none of us have anybody worth voting for this time around.

    With that said, I’m going to start buying as many hi cap mags as I can get my hands on, and I’m going to purchase as many “assault rifles” as I can (I HATE that term…they aren’t assault rifles but that’s another story). Stock up fellow Americans, grit your teeth and hold on cause it’s going to be a freak show.

    1. cath8r
      I’m sorry but your way of thinking is why this country is in the shape it is.
      I’m a 64 year old democrat and I wouldn’t vote for any democrats ever again. There destroying or country and taking all our rights. We need a person like Trump they speaks his mind and says it like it is. Its time we get back to the values that made this country what it used to be.
      As far as you buying up ammo. Do you really think you have a chance against the US military.
      Please, if not for your sack vote for trump for this country. We know what we will get if Hillary is in office, another 8 years of Obama, do you really want that????

    2. We got beat in Vietnam by folks wearing pajamas….so the US is NOT invincible…
      I’d like to believe that many in the military would refuse to fire on US civilians in most instances.
      But maybe that is why they want illegals to join up…with residency/citizenship as a secondary consideration.

    3. @ cath8r,

      Probably some of the most insightful comments I’ve ever read from an admitted liberal. However, I implore you to consider the following by paragraph:

      Paragraph 1: It’s not like a crapshoot. Prior to Congressional confirmation a prospective nominee’s career record is thoroughly reviewed and easily exposes to the public how that judge views Constitutional issues. In general, most conservatives support the Second Amendment and believe in their duty to defend it as they are bound to defend all Articles and Amendments of the Constitution. Unfortunately historical records prove far too many liberal justices violate their oath of office and do whatever they want. As such, if it were truly just a crapshoot we still stand a far better chance of protecting our Second Amendment rights by pinning our hopes on a conservative justice rather than a liberal one.

      Paragraph 2: Not voting at all is foolish and accomplishes nothing. Since when has a politician ever been forthright in all things? Never – because they will all lie to get your vote. You know that car salesman is full of crap too, but it doesn’t stop you from buying the car you need. The bottom line is one or the other will be president regardless of their lies and so it is up to you to help the rest of us determine which liar will do the least amount of harm to this country. I think Hillary is dangerous and has some real F’d up plans for the Second Amendment. Trump appears he will do less harm. Besides, I’d like to see him put a few snobby trade countries in their place and believe he can do more for the economy.

      Paragraph 3: If you hate that term – “assault rifles”, then why use it? The rest of us (especially in this forum) know it is an AR-15 rifle, so why not call it what it is? You make it as though you’ve been forced to use improper nomenclature (I think that is the liberal in you). Just the same, why did you reference the magazines as “hi cap”? The rest here in this forum know these magazines as standard capacity. You see, the fact you insist on using liberal anti-gun terminology even against your own will is precisely what perpetuates the falsehoods of the anti-gun movement to begin with. All it takes to end it is your simple conscious decision to stop contributing to their BS rhetoric.

      Overall I am proud you were daring enough to admit you are liberal, however, you show inklings of common sense in your statements and thus tends to make me believe you may be more conservative than you give yourself credit for. Have a great day… oh, and please do vote.

  10. If you support the framework and foundation of the USA you will support TRUMP, otherwise you are supporting the destruction of the Republic.

  11. It’s all about words, this part, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is hard to misinterpret. Disposing of our 2nd amendment is impossible. However much greater infringements would be implemented by Clinton and her liberal progressives. Each infringement is built upon earlier ones. Machine gun ban, where and when person can carry or use a gun, magazine size, trivial aesthetic features, cop killer bullets, leaving a concealed weapon in the car while entering a post office, They are all infringements of our lawful protected “right” but each is only a small degree of infringement. That is why all attempts at gun restrictions must be met with a resounding “NO”. This must include anti constitution candidates such as Clinton.

  12. “…Will Hillary be the Death of Heller and the Individual Right?…”

    Only if gun owners continue to sit on our asses and allow those we’ve “elected” to govern us, continue to kick us in the balls..

    Sorry, Tyranny of Evil, but she’ll do all she will ever do within a year, or less, of the time she takes office- after not taking the oath of office. She’ll never make a second term.

  13. It’s still early, but I am surprised this article has yet to draw any posts from the usual trolls that make it their mission to chide on about how our concerns are nonsense and that no one is really out to get our guns. We’ve all seen their standard repetitive drivel in statements like -“I’m still waiting for Bill Clinton to take our guns, he-he-ha-ha”.

    Some of the trolls that hit pro-gun forums are true anti-gunners that have never owned a gun in their life; their rhetoric is to be expected, but the worst trolls are the actual gun owners that simply refuse to believe their government could pull off such brazen acts as outright gun bans or confiscation – and therefore they refuse to contribute with actions that could help prevent it.

    The foremost reason these gun-owning trolls make jokes is because they only ever envision confiscation as some door-to-door nationwide military-style sweeps brought about by some presidential order after martial law has been declared- and thus their “tinfoil hat” jokes ensue. The reality is that most current gun-control laws already amount to bans and confiscation, but is done so subtly that these idiots don’t know how to recognize it as such.

    Just because these gun-owning trolls have not yet felt the effects by such an out-of-control anti-gun government on the rise, does not make it any less real for those that actually have been forced to endure jail time, loss of wages, reputation, and depleted savings while attempting to defend their Constitutional right to bear arms.

    There are literally thousands of law abiding citizens tripped up daily by small technicalities built into these obscure laws, but only a few make it into news stories. The most prevalent stories of recent is the draconian New Jersey law which destroyed a woman’s life after she mistakenly brought her legally purchased gun across the New Jersey State line.

    But it doesn’t stop there, the anti-gun agenda has so run amuck as to affect citizens not even old enough to bear arms yet… When government run schools punish and suspend 5-year old boys and girls over bubble-blowing toys, or biting their pop-tarts into shapes that resemble a gun, who should really be wearing the tinfoil hats?

    One of the many forms of gun-control is all about indoctrinating our youth to become an anti-gun culture; and while the affects will not be seen for the next 10 to 20 years, rest assured many of these indoctrinated children will eventually seek office or sit on legislative and judicial panels. So when you add this to the effectiveness already in place, this assures the death of the Second Amendment and our uncharted trek towards the ultimate tyranny.

    In the meantime, I challenge any of these gun-owning trolls to move to Washington D.C. or states like California, New Jersey or New York and try to exercise the same level of Second Amendment right as they currently enjoy within their home states. They will instantly discover they are no longer the same citizen they once were with equal protections supposedly afforded by the Second Amendment.

    Should they refuse to leave their guns behind, they will have suddenly become a criminal of that state with a total loss of liberty. And that my stupid troll friends effectively amounts to government gun bans and confiscation no matter how you dice it up.

    1. This is a very well written example of the horrific truth about our 2nd amendment rights. Thanks for the excellent explanation.

  14. I don’t even have to read the article. The question at the top is all I need to know:

    Yes, absolutely if Hillary Clinton achieves the Presidency the individual right to keep and bear arms will be gone in less than two years. If anyone out there thinks that progressives give a hoot about Supreme Court precedents or Stare Decisis you are living in a complete fantasy land.

    Progressive is another word for Socialist. Socialism is only a step towards Communism; the complete Federal take over of all laws of significance and a reign of centralized government terror.

    I think Hillary and her ilk may opt for Statist Fascisism where they don’t directly take over all companies and property, but they will “direct” all businesses and individuals in exactly what they want them to do, when they want them to do it and how they want it done. Freedom will be effectively dead.

    If you think taxes are high now, hold onto your hat.

    Gun confiscation will occur under a President Hillary Clinton.

  15. If Hillary is elected, both the first and the second amendments will be gone within 10 years. Once disarmed, your property rights will soon follow.

  16. Well whatever happens I can tell you this and I am not alone. The only way they are getting my guns is over my cold dead body. Period. With over 150 million gun owners and over 350 million guns in the publics hands who exactly do they think is going to risk their lives to collect those guns? Come and get them if you dare!!!!!!

    1. That’s just it. It’s all rhetoric. Because as you pointed out, too many guns and responsible gun owners. Too many good armed folks with right on their side. I mean let’s fight these bozos but let’s fight as a force with fundamental right on its side.

    2. That’s the thing, though. Responsible firearm owners follow laws, and bad laws make law abiding firearm owners criminals. Washington State just laid a smelly turd of a law on gun owners via the new “transfer fee”, which also lays the groundwork for a state wide firearm transfer registry, as (most) government departments seem to hold onto paperwork until just prior to the heat death of the universe.
      Just because you can’t see it don’t mean the sucker-punch ain’t comin’.

    3. I agree with deprato, totally. We do need background checks on everyone before they can legally obtain a firearm, however – including at gun shows. and we need meaningful input from mental health sources.

      In any event the answer to Hillary Clinton is not to abstain from voting, vote for a third-party, or vote for that madman, Donald Trump. epecially the latter, unless you want to seriously risk starting a nuclear World War III.

    4. Have you ever been to a gun show? Let me guess – you still think you can buy off the internet without a background check, right? And “meaningful input” from mental health sources – NO, the only way you should be stripped of your rights in that regards is through due process by a court – not a single Doctor that hates guns, or someone who took anti-depressants forty years ago. All they will do is keep lowering the bar until everyone falls under “medical exception” – don’t you see that?

  17. The only question now is does Clinton or Trump make it happen FAST
    or does their Supreme Court appointments make it happen SLOW
    either way we are about to have

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