Hillary Clinton's town hall event with CNN took an odd turn when she said that opponents of gun control terrorize the rest of the American public.
"We cannot let a minority of people, and that's what it is, it is a minority of people, hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people" said the former Secretary of State. She added:
"I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook... I don't think any parent, or any person should have to fear about their child going to school or going to college because someone for whatever reason, psychological, emotional, political, ideological, whatever, could possibly enter that school property with an automatic weapon and murder innocent children, students, teachers."
If you're going to have an opinion about an issue, make sure you get the facts right. No, this isn't a facts and figures critique; it's basic knowledge about firearms. Automatic weapons aren't available to the general public without permission from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) under the National Firearms Act. A private citizen could apply to make and register a NFA firearm as well; here's the form.
Both processes are subject to an arduous, lengthy, and thorough background check as well. It could take months to receive approval from BATFE.
Now, as for semi-automatic firearms (aka firearms that are self-reloading) those are available to be owned by the law-abiding public after background checks at your local federal firearms licensed (FFL) dealer. Your everyday police officer has a semi-automatic handgun as their service weapon - and those weapons cannot murder scores of people by pulling the trigger once.
But, more importantly, did Mrs. Clinton refer to pro-Second Amendment supporters - freedom-loving, law-abiding Americans - as terrorists? Jacob Scullum at Reason thinks so, and also critiques Clinton's painfully trite commentary on background checks:
Evidently Clinton's idea of a more thoughtful conversation about gun control involves equating disagreement with terrorism while claiming some opinions are so dangerous that "we cannot let" people hold them.
I am not sure how Clinton plans to implement this new opinion control policy. As for gun control, she says she wants "background checks that work." If she means background checks that block gun purchases by people with no disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records (a description that fits the perpetrators of almost all mass shootings, including the Sandy Hook massacre), she might as well wish for a unicorn. If she means background checks that strip harmless people of their Second Amendment rights based on irrational criteria, that much surely could be achieved.