A NRA Ad Shows a Scary Manipulation of the Gun Control Debate

September 23rd 2016

Almie Rose

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has spent a reported $5 million on a new and dramatic ad campaign that depicts a defenseless woman in a home invasion under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Critics of the ad say it totally misrepresents Clinton's approach to gun reform.

NRA Hillary ad

In the ad, a woman is awoken by the sound of breaking glass. Oh no. Someone is trying to get in. "She'll call 911," the stern voiceover tells us. "Average response time? Eleven minutes. Too Late."

So the woman reaches for her handgun that she keeps in her safe — but it disappears, because, according to the narrator, "Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self defense. And with Supreme Court Justices, Hillary can. Don't let Hillary leave you protected with nothing but a phone."

It's well-shot and full of tension in a very Shonda Rhimes way, but here's why critics of the the ad say it's totally misleading.

It gets Clinton's gun policy wrong.

During the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Clinton stated: "I'm not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I'm not here to take away your guns. I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place."

Clinton's plan, as detailed on her website is to expand background checks and "keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill" — none of which, presumably, would apply to the terrified woman in the NRA's ad.

It gets home invasions wrong.

The ad also feeds the myth that having your home broken into by violent criminals is a common occurrence.

"[...] the chance of someone’s residence being broken into by someone carrying a firearm is just a shade above zero," Think Progress reports, citing FBI data, "and the risk of suffering body harm during one of those exceedingly rare occurrences is even more remote —a number along the lines of 0.0000002 percent."

In fact, the worst statistic about guns is one the NRA won't reveal: "At least 265 people were accidentally shot by kids last year, while the number of people murdered during home invasions in a given year is about 100," according to Think Progress. Simply put, the odds of being shot by a child are greater than the odds of being murdered by a burglar.

Where does the argument that Clinton wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment come from?

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that Clinton "wants to abolish the Second Amendment." But why? It's likely rooted Clinton's supposed disagreement with the Supreme Court's rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, which prevented federal enclaves and states from creating laws that infringe on an individual's gun rights, respectively.

Clinton has never directly addressed those rulings, but there is audio of her at a donors luncheon in 2015 during which she says the Supreme Court got is "wrong on the Second Amendment."

But Clinton supporters have argued that even opposition to Heller and McDonald does not equate to an abolitionist stance on the Second Amendment, as either ruling would have included mitigating language that would allow individuals to carry guns.

As with most issues in the 2016 elections, it's very complicated, but being presented to voters in black and white terms.