Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton is getting only some cover from fact checkers at the Washington Post and CNN in the wake of Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate where the subject of guns and the Second Amendment came up.
Early in the debate, when she and Republican nominee Donald Trump were asked about the Supreme Court, Clinton referred to “33,000 people a year who die from guns.” The WaPo fact checker said this morning that she “is essentially right.”
But not so fast. CNN’s fact checker acknowledged today, “Clinton’s use of this figure in support of gun control gives the impression that 33,000 Americans are violently killed by firearms each year. As we pointed out in February, the CDC’s statistic encompasses many types of gun-related deaths — not only violent, intentional encounters.”
This was after CNN observed, “Her claim is in line with not only statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which reported 33,599 people killed by firearms in 2014) but also the rhetoric of her primary campaigning. In a February debate against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton said, ‘On average, 90 people a day are killed by gun violence in our country.’
While Clinton’s figures are correct — the CDC’s reported number rounds to about 92 firearm-related deaths a day — the context provided in Wednesday night’s debate misses the mark.”
And that’s a deliberate miss, gun rights activists have long maintained about the 33,000 deaths figure.
CNN has framed her remarks in the proper context. That figure is used by gun prohibitionists to create the illusion that there is a bloody crime wave in progress. Clinton again repeated her insistence that, “I support the Second Amendment. I lived in Arkansas for 18 wonderful years. I represented upstate New York. I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership. It goes back to the founding of our country.
“But I also believe that there can be and must be reasonable regulation,” she added. “Because I support the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that I want people who shouldn’t have guns to be able to threaten you, kill you or members of your family.”
It’s that “I support the Second Amendment…but…” argument.
And then Clinton claimed that the 2008 Heller ruling that affirmed an individual right to keep and bear arms was a case that the District of Columbia fought because the city “was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.” That’s not simply misleading, it’s an outright canard.
Here’s what the Washington Post fact checker said: “But the major issue in the case was not whether children would have access to guns; it was whether the District’s ban on private possession of handguns violated the Second Amendment.”
Clinton famously told a fund raiser in New York last year that in her opinion the Supreme Court is “wrong on the Second Amendment.” She tried to give herself cover by deflecting the question to involve “toddlers,” but that isn’t getting any traction.