Hillary Clinton slammed the Supreme Court as “wrong on the Second Amendment” and called for reinstating the assault weapons ban during a small private fundraiser in New York last week, according to audio of her remarks obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
While Clinton has previously supported an assault weapons ban, this is the first time since launching her campaign that she indicated that she would take on the Supreme Court over gun issues.
Although Clinton did not identify which Supreme Court case she disagreed with, she appeared to be criticizing the landmark 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which found the handgun ban in Washington, D.C., unconstitutional.
“I was proud when my husband took [the National Rifle Association] on, and we were able to ban assault weapons, but he had to put a sunset on so 10 years later. Of course [President George W.] Bush wouldn’t agree to reinstate them,” said Clinton.
“We’ve got to go after this,” Clinton continued. “And here again, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.”
She also used some of her strongest language yet to criticize the NRA, vowing to take on the gun rights lobbying group and make this a key component of her campaign.
“I’m going to speak out, I’m going to do everything I can to rally people against this pernicious, corrupting influence of the NRA and we’re going to do whatever we can,” she said.
Clinton argued that the NRA has “so intimidated elected members of Congress and other legislative bodies that these people are passing the most absurd laws.”
“The idea that you can have an open carry permit with an AK-47 over your shoulder walking up and down the aisles of a supermarket is just despicable,” she said.
The comments earned applause at the closed-door fundraiser, and demonstrate Clinton’s efforts to appeal to progressive donors as she faces a growing challenge from the far-left candidate Bernie Sanders, who has been criticized by some liberal observers for his broad support of gun rights.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to questions about the specific areas where Clinton disagrees with the Supreme Court. However, the Heller ruling is considered the most sweeping and controversial second amendment decision made by the highest court in recent years.
The Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment granted gun rights to individuals whether or not they were members of an organized government militia in 2008. That ruling overturned the District of Columbia’s total ban on ownership of handguns and other strict forms of gun control. It also created the legal precedent that continues to influence all federal court rulings related to Second Amendment cases.
The NRA responded to Clinton’s remarks in a statement to the Free Beacon.
“Hillary Clinton just doesn’t get it,” said Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s legislative division. “The NRA’s strength lies in our five million members and the tens of millions of voters who support the Second Amendment. A majority of Americans support this freedom, and the Supreme Court was absolutely right to hold that the Second Amendment guarantees the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms.”
The Clinton fundraiser was hosted at the Greenwich Village home of John Zaccaro, a convicted felon. During her remarks, Clinton also proposed the creation of a national infrastructure bank, which she indicated would be modeled on the work done by the Clinton Global Initiative. She did not take questions after her speech.