U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller linked amnesty for illegal immigrants with more gun control, and PolitiFact took him to task for it.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller speaks during a debate Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
The Alaska Republican said granting legal status to a large number of illegal immigrants would lead to more Democratic voters, who would in turn enact more gun restrictions and promote more anti-gun judges.
"If 20 million illegals vote, you can kiss the Second Amendment goodbye," a recent Miller campaign mailer says.
During a Republican debate, Miller also made the correlation between the two issues, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.
“There’s a clear correlation, and the clear correlation is this: If you end up granting amnesty to those who don’t value gun rights, who have not been raised in an environment where the Second Amendment is cherished—is considered to be a God-given right—the reality is over a generation or two, the likelihood is very strong that the Second Amendment will not be here,” Miller said.
The fact-check website labeled the claim on the mailer “false,” making a case that it's extremely unlikely the Second Amendment will be literally done away with.
“We found that it would be nearly impossible to remove the Second Amendment from the Constitution, given the country’s ideological make-up, and adding a voting bloc of 20 million would be unlikely to change that—regardless of their political persuasions,” PolitiFact said. “However, it’s possible that adding 20 million new voters who lean Democrat could result in stricter gun control laws. Miller’s mailer muddies the waters, because increasing gun ownership regulations is not the same thing as scrapping the Second Amendment entirely.”
Conservatives have cited data demonstrating a liberal bias at PolitiFact.
Tuesday's Alaska Republican Senate primary is between Miller, Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell. The winner will take on highly vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, making it one of the most-watched Senate races in the country.
Miller won the Republican Senate nomination in 2010 for the state's other seat, beating incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski in a primary, but Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate and held onto her set in the general election that year.
Begich and Murkowski voted for the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013, but has not been voted on in the House.
Supreme Court rulings in 2008 and 2010 affirmed the Second Amendment protects an individuals right to bear arms.
Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told PolitiFact that 20 million people leaning in one direction could lead to a watershed election of anti-gun politicians, and a president who would nominate – and senators who would confirm – anti-gun Supreme Court justices could overturn previous decisions.
American Hispanics support gun control by 70 percent, according to a Pew Research poll in June.
Trevor Burrus, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that favors gun rights and less restrictive immigration policy, told PolitiFact that American culture would rub off on immigrants if they were granted legal status.
Follow Fred Lucas (@FredVLucas3) on Twitter