A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) depicting a woman as a victim of a home invasion falsely claims Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “could take away” your “right to self-defense.”
The ad is false because Clinton has repeatedly said that she favors allowing law-abiding gun ownership and that she supports the Second Amendment while also calling for measures to prevent dangerous people from accessing weapons. Fact-checkers have ripped a previous false ad that claimed Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense” and the false claim by Republican nominee Donald Trump that Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment.”
The NRA’s new September 19 ad depicts a woman being awoken in her home as a man kicks in her door. She begins to open a gun safe to retrieve a weapon but the gun vanishes into thin air as a narrator says, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense”:
NARRATOR: She’ll call 911. Average response time: 11 minutes. Too late. She keeps a firearm in this safe for protection, but 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.
According to The Guardian, the ad is part of a $15 million effort by the NRA, which has endorsed Trump, to defeat Clinton. Federal Election Commission documents indicate that the NRA, through its Political Victory Fund and Institute for Legislative Action, has been the second biggest spender on independent expenditures opposing Clinton, only second to pro-Trump Super PAC Rebuilding America Now.
The ad is premised on the lie that Clinton opposes gun ownership by law-abiding Americans. Clinton has never said she opposes gun ownership. In fact, Clinton’s campaign website says she “knows that gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities.”
And in recent months Clinton has repeatedly said that legitimate Second Amendment rights should be protected while she advocated for expanding background checks on gun sales and other measures. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.” (According to PolitiFact, Clinton’s legal view of the Second Amendment appears similar to the Bush administration's position “recognizing the right but allowing reasonable curtailment.”)
During her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton said, “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.”
In May, PolitiFact rated the claim Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment” false, finding “no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite.”
The previous NRA ad claiming Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense,” which ran throughout August, was rated as false by PolitiFact North Carolina and The Washington Post Fact Checker, with PolitiFact noting “Clinton has never said that” and Glenn Kessler at the Post writing that the ad is “a classic example of a fear-mongering ad based on little evidence but leaps of logic.”
The juxtaposition of images of a home invasion with false claims about a candidate’s record is a common tactic in NRA election ads. Earlier this month the NRA launched a home invasion-themed ad that used the same b-roll seen in the NRA’s new Clinton ad to falsely claim that Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander “voted against your right” to “protect your home with a firearm.” (Kander, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, responded with a viral ad of his own showing him assembling a firearm blindfolded while talking about the need to protect Second Amendment rights while keeping guns away from terrorists.)
In 2014, an NRA ad showed the same home invasion footage while claiming that then-Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu “voted to take away your gun rights.” In that ad, the NRA cited Landrieu’s vote in favor of expanding background checks on gun sales following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.
PolitiFact rated the ad “pants on fire,” calling it “downright scary” and noting that it “can only be described as fear mongering.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker similarly gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” -- its worst rating -- citing the “hyperbolic disconnect between the images on the screen and the practical impact of the law in question.”