Hillary Clinton Bizarrely Claims Landmark Heller Decision Was About Toddlers' Access to Guns

October 19, 2016

Hillary Clinton claimed during Wednesday's presidential debate that the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which dealt with the city's total ban on handgun ownership, was about keeping toddlers from accessing guns.

In October 2015, Clinton told a group of donors that the Supreme Court was "wrong" on the Second Amendment, leaked audio first reported by the Washington Free Beacon shows. When asked about that audio, she said she explained her opposition was due to a desire to protect children.

"You mentioned the Heller decision, and what I was saying, that you referenced Chris, was that I disagreed with how the court applied the Second Amendment in that case because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns," Clinton said.

"And so they wanted people with guns to safely store them," Clinton continued, "and the court didn't accept that reasonable regulation, but they've accepted many others. So I see no conflict between saving people's lives and protecting the Second Amendment."

After Donald Trump said Clinton was "extremely upset" by the Heller decision, she responded that she "was upset because unfortunately dozens of toddlers injure themselves, even kill people, with guns because, unfortunately, not everyone who has loaded guns in their homes takes appropriate precautions."

However, the major issue at stake in the Heller case was not safe storage of firearms to keep toddlers from getting access to them. As the Supreme Court described in the very first line of its opinion in the case, "District of Columbia law bans handgun possession by making it a crime to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibiting the registration of handguns."

The opinion further explained that the plaintiff in the case, "respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a handgun he wished to keep at home, but the District refused."

Though the city did have a provision that required firearms to be unloaded and either disassembled or fixed with a trigger lock, which was also challenged by Heller, it was not a requirement limited just to those with toddlers in the home.

The case is considered a landmark decision because it established that the city's total effective ban on the ownership of handguns was unconstitutional and that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to keep and bear arms.