Hillary Clinton’s views on gun control change as frequently as her hairstyles.
The former secretary of State has veered from calling for a national registry to win a Senate seat in New York to recalling a childhood spent duck hunting when running for president. Now, she has swung back to her more restrictive views on the Second Amendment with an eye on 2016.
“I think that we've got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime,” Clinton said at a speech in Maryland on Tuesday. "I don't believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people.”
She argued against concealed carry laws by referring to a case in Florida in which a man was shot during an argument over cellphone use at a movie theater.
“At the rate we’re going, we’re going to have so many people with guns everywhere, fully licensed, fully validated in settings ... [like] a movie theater. And they don’t like someone chewing gum loudly or talking on their cellphone, and decide they have the perfect right to defend themselves against the gum chewer or cellphone user by shooting,” said Clinton.
Actually, there has been no increase in crime in those states that have instituted “shall issue” permitting laws over the past two decades.
So Clinton said those dire situations were seen overseas. "That's what happens in the countries I've visited where there is no rule of law and no self-control,” she said.
These recent comments on gun control appear to be an effort to gin up the base
In fact, more Americans have concealed carry permits than ever in history, while gun crime falls every year. According to FBI crime statistics, gun homicides have decreased 50 percent in the past 20 years, and non-fatal shootings are down 70 percent.
While Clinton says she has not yet decided if she is running for president again, she is leading all polls of possible matchups and building a campaign.
These recent comments on gun control appear to be an effort to gin up the base -- and possible donors -- by throwing out these liberal nuggets now.
Six years ago, she aimed to the right when she was running a national election and needed western and southern states to beat Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.
Clinton saw an opening when Obama was caught at a private fundraiser in San Francisco saying that people in small towns “get bitter; they cling to guns or religion.”
Suddenly Clinton’s campaign stops turned into pro-gun rallies.
“People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter,” she said. At another stop, she told supporters that her father taught her to shoot as a girl, then she waxed poetic about going duck hunting.
Obama felt the target on his back.
“She’s talking like she’s Annie Oakley,” said the first-term Illinois senator. “Hillary Clinton is out there like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday. She’s packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better. That’s some politics being played by Hillary Clinton.”
Obama had a point that politics were being played. When Clinton was first lady, she backed her husband Bill Clinton’s successful push to pass an “assault-weapons” ban in 1993 (which expired in 2003.)
As secretary of State, Clinton called on Congress to reinstate the ban on Americans owning military-style rifles to prevent trafficking from the U.S. “The Mexican people are worried about what's coming south -- assault weapons, bazookas, grenades," she said in Monterrey in March 2009.
When running for a Senate seat in New York in 2008, she went even further. Clinton said that, if elected, she would support a bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would set up a national gun registry and require that citizens take a class and get a license before purchasing a firearm.
"We license drivers before they get behind the wheel to make sure they can drive safely. We register cars to make sure someone is responsible for every vehicle on the road,” Clinton told a newspaper publisher in New York in May 2000, according to CNN. “But we don't do the same for deadly weapons."
This isn’t the first time the Clinton family has been accused of changing views for political expediency. Bill Clinton was infamously represented by a floating waffle in the “Doonesbury” cartoon during his presidency. Now it’s Hillary’s turn to explain to voters that her shifting views on gun control are sincere.
Emily Miller is the chief investigative reporter at Fox 5 D.C. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery/2013.) Follow her on Twitter @EmilyMiller.