Just when you thought it could not get any crazier Donald Trump has again upped the stakes for president in 2016.

The dauphin of dirty deeds has surpassed himself on this occasion, casting into the debate the possibility of someone loyal to the Second Amendment assassinating Hillary Clinton.

Threatening a presidential candidate already under secret service protection is very close to a crime, according to legal experts and secret service insiders who both stated the speech came very close to breaking the law.

Remember, Trump counts among his followers Ku Klux Klan leaders, white supremacists and neo-Nazis who want nothing more than a violent fight for the sake of anarchy and white power. Trump’s words will resonate with them.

Irish American VP candidate Tim Kaine was quick to respond. He stated that Trump’s remarks show "just no understanding for the role of leader."

"I just think it's a window into the soul of a person who is temperamentally not suited for the task," he said.

Trump’s latest poisonous rant was that "Hillary wants to abolish – essentially abolish – the Second Amendment," Trump said. "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know."

Reaction was swift and not just from Senator Kaine. Senator Chris Murphy, a gun control advocate from Connecticut, did not mince words.

Don't treat this as a political misstep. It's an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 9, 2016
Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which has endorsed Clinton, told The New York Times that Trump’s statement was “repulsive – literally using the Second Amendment as cover to encourage people to kill someone with whom they disagree.

“For Trump, violence has become a standard talking point, a common punchline, and even a campaign strategy,” Gross said.

Read more: Why I’m voting for Donald Trump – give me potential over platitudes

The danger is that the Trump dog whistle will be picked up by every mentally challenged gun nut in America and one of them may well decide to act on the Trump wink and nod.

Like the typical rabble-rouser Trump will then step back hold up his hands and say it had nothing to do with him.

But with this statement he has unleashed beasts of the dark side who may well view his words as their starting gun.

This is deadly serious. Three of the last eight presidents were targets of assassination. John F Kennedy was killed, Ronald Reagan seriously injured, Gerald Ford lucky to escape – and those were only the ones we know about.

Since those attempts, and indeed before them, the issue of encouraging violence against politicians has been dealt with in very serious fashion in a country where violence is an everyday reality.

It has certainly been out of bounds for candidates, and for one presidential candidate to even suggest it be aimed at another is truly a dreadful development.

Trump is in free fall in the polls and Republican congressional leaders who have a majority in the senate and house are experiencing squeaky bum time. Some like Senator Susan Collins of Maine have already bolted and many more may follow.

The assassination dog whistle is more serious than almost any of Trump’s gaffes and previous utterances espousing violence. The further behind he falls the more Trump becomes the bomb-thrower candidate throwing everything he can at Clinton and hoping something may stick.

It's the political version – very early in the campaign – of the Hail Mary pass. But like everything that Trump has attempted in this general election it seems certain to fail.

Read more: Time we declared Hillary the winner of the 2016 election race