Hillary Clinton believes a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that is the linchpin of an individual's right to own a gun was "wrongly decided," her policy adviser told Bloomberg Politics on Friday.
"Clinton believes Heller was wrongly decided in that cities and states should have the power to craft common sense laws to keep their residents safe, like safe storage laws to prevent toddlers from accessing guns," Maya Harris, a policy adviser to Clinton, said in an e-mailed statement. "In overturning Washington D.C.'s safe storage law, Clinton worries that Heller may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future."
The stance by Clinton, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee, carries potentially profound implications for the future of gun rights in the U.S.
In striking down a longstanding handgun ban in the District of Columbia, the D.C. v. Heller ruling marked the first time the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to own a firearm for lawful purposes such as self-defense in the home.
The author of the contentious 5-to-4 opinion was Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. Republicans who control the Senate have vowed to block the confirmation of a successor until the next president is chosen. If Clinton, a lawyer before she entered politics, becomes president and chooses a nominee who reflects her view, a future Supreme Court could revisit, and potentially overturn, that ruling. Such a scenario could permit state and local governments to take stricter steps to restrict the sale of firearms in attempt to curb gun violence.
In addition, with several justices poised for possible retirements in the coming years—as of Election Day, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be 83, Anthony Kennedy will be 80 and Stephen Breyer will be 78—the next president's picks could have a profound impact on the future of gun rights in the country.
In her statement, Harris also took issue with remarks by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association convention Friday—where he accepted the gun-rights lobby's endorsement—that Clinton wants to "abolish" the Second Amendment.
"Along with the vast majority of Americans, Hillary Clinton believes there are common sense steps we can take at the federal level to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the 2nd Amendment. As both PolitiFact and Factcheck.org recently reported, Donald Trump is peddling falsehoods," Harris said. "Donald Trump's conspiracy theories are simply his latest attempt to divide the American people and distract from his radical and dangerous ideas, like his promise to mandate that every school in America allow guns in their classrooms."
While Trump is campaigning on a staunchly pro-gun-rights platform that includes granting a right to carry a firearm in all 50 states, Clinton has taken an aggressive stance for gun control, including strengthening mandatory background checks and banning assault weapons.