The new National Rifle Association commercial aims to sell its viewers one false narrative: Hillary Clinton will take away your guns, thereby leaving you defenseless. The advertisement is part of the NRA's new $5 million television campaign in support of Donald Trump for president, and paints a chilling narrative of a woman left helpless during a home invasion thanks to Clinton's alleged stance on gun ownership. But aside from the ad's ability to perfectly play into an American fear, it doesn't get much else correct.
The ad begins with a woman awoken by the sounds of an intruder breaking glass in her home. She jumps up from her bed and reaches for a vanishing safe. "She'll call 911. Average response time — 11 minutes. Too late," the narrator says. "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."
It ends with the woman dropping the telephone in fear, then fades to an image of her house surrounded by police and wrapped in crime scene tape. "Don't let Hillary leave you defenseless," the NRA warns.
Were it not wildly inaccurate, the commercial itself could be effective for the anxiety it attempts to illicit — the fear of home invasion raises the rate of gun ownership in America. But it misses the mark on both accounts: home invasions where a gun is used are rare, and Clinton has no intent to take away individuals' right to bear arms. The ad clearly exploits the fear of the statistically low number of home invasions that happen in the country each year, and then pivots to attack Clinton for leaving Americans supposedly defenseless.
Statistically, the NRA's commercial also rings false. According to an analysis of FBI data, the per capita chance of a home invasion resulting in a death is just 0.0000002. For all intents and purposes, that number is zero. Statistics show that owning a gun in your home is actually more dangerous than not having one at all. But gun proponents like the NRA play on this fear nevertheless, telling their supporters that a gun is the only thing that stands between them and this phantom fear.
Likewise, and most importantly, Clinton does not support taking away the right for individuals to bear arms. Clinton has specifically stated her support of the Supreme Court's 2008 Heller ruling, which established this right. She is, however, a threat to the NRA — her commonsense gun violence prevention measures include wanting to expand background checks for gun sales and taking on the gun lobby.
The NRA is simply putting their own fear — that a Clinton administration could lessen their political power — on full display. But Americans should have no substantiated fear that Clinton would come for their guns, as the commercial ham-fistedly suggests.