Gun Control Advocates Call Clinton a Hypocrite

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 5, 2008 8:19am

Yesterday we took a look at Sen. Barack Obama’s pro-hunter preaching in Idaho, wondering how it fit with a 1996 questionnaire in which he supported banning all handguns. Sen. Hillary Clinton implied Obama was a flip-flopper. (Read more HERE.)

This aroused the ire of some gun control advocates, who pointed out that even if one considers this an Obama flip-flop (and Obama says that questionnaire was filled out incorrectly by a staffer), Clinton has made a much more dramatic flip.

In an email to me, Andy Pelosi of Gun Free Kids, writes, "quite frankly, there are many gun control advocates that find it distasteful that Clinton appears to be running to the right of Obama on guns."

Running for the Senate in 2000, Clinton appeared before newspaper publishers in May of that year to say that gun control was part of the raison d’etre for her Senate campaign.

"We have to do more to stand up to those who refuse to believe the reality that guns do kill and that common-sense gun measures can make a difference," she said to the Newspaper Association of America’s annual convention in New York. "I believe we need a comprehensive plan to stop gun violence, and it is one of the reasons I am running for the Senate."

Part of this, she said, was a national gun registry.

"We license drivers before they get behind the wheel to make sure they can drive safely," she said. "We register cars to make sure someone is responsible for every vehicle on the road. But we don’t do the same for deadly weapons."

But last month she backed off this proposal.

At a Democratic debate in Nevada she said something different.

She said she was against "illegal guns," she said she wanted to get guns "out of the hands of young people," she called for a registry of "felons, people who have been committed to mental institutions like the man in Virginia Tech who caused so much death and havoc" and "we need to enforce the laws that we have on the books. I would also work to reinstate the assault-weapons ban."

These are generally the steps supported by the Republican presidential candidates as well. Which is fine – but it’s quite different from how she sounded in 2000, when she was calling for far more liberal gun control measures.

"You know, I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms," Clinton said at the Nevada debate, "but I also believe that we can common-sensically approach this."

Inquired Tim Russert, "But you’ve backed off a national licensing registration plan?"

"Yes," Clinton said.

Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Ceasefire NJ , writes that "Clinton"s attack (on Obama on guns) is an obvious effort to frighten some with the false specter of gun confiscation under an Obama presidency, a prospect that is clearly not in the cards in this country, whoever is in office."

He goes on: "Clinton’s attack is highly ironic, as well, both because she has changed positions on guns even more rapidly than Obama…" He says "there’s more than a bit of the pot calling the kettle in Clinton’s carefully parsed, but transparent and toxic attack. So, not only is Clinton’s arithmetic incorrect as to Obama’s so-called ‘rapidly changes position,’ but her own stated stance on gun regulation has both changed dramatically and done so in a much shorter time frame. No hypocrisy there, right?"

What say you?

- jpt

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