Clinton Proposes New Gun Measures, Staking Claim Vs. Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday detailed new proposals aimed at closing gun sale loopholes and holding accountable those who sell guns for violence committed with those weapons.
Seizing the moment following last week’s mass shooting in Oregon, Clinton called for the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which gives legal protection to gun manufacturers and dealers whose guns are used for criminal activity.
As a senator from New York, Clinton voted against the law in 2005 and, the official said, would lead an effort to repeal it if elected president. Her closest competitor in the Democratic primary, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who served in the U.S. House at the time, voted in favor of it.
Clinton appeared viscerally frustrated as she spoke after Thursday’s shooting at Umpqua Community College, in which authorities say a student killed nine people before turning one of several guns he had with him on himself. “What is wrong with us, that we cannot stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby, and the gun manufacturers they represent?” Clinton said Friday at Broward College in Davie, Florida. “We don’t just need to pray for these people. We need to act.”
In staking out a hardline position on guns, Clinton is capitalizing on an issue where she stands to the left of Sanders. He has a mixed record on gun control—he voted against the Brady Bill in 1993 and for the liability protection law, but also in favor of restrictions on the size of gun magazines—that he attributes to the gun culture of his rural state. He responded to the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, and in Oregon with promises to implement “sensible gun-control legislation” and to improve mental health services, but has not yet offered specific proposals.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who is trailing Clinton and Sanders in polls, on Sunday in New Hampshire called on his rivals to “join me in building a new consensus” on gun control by supporting his four-point plan, his campaign said.
On Monday, the details Clinton put behind her pitch included support for closing two sets of loopholes that allow gun purchases without background checks. If Congress does not pass legislation that would deem those who sell significant numbers of guns at gun shows and online to be required to operate under the same laws that apply to gun stores, Clinton would take executive action to do that under her plan. She supports congressional efforts to eliminate what’s being called the “Charleston loophole” after the June shooting at a black church there, which allows gun purchases to go forward if a background check isn’t completed within three days.
Clinton also said she supports legislation to prohibit all people with histories of domestic abuse from buying or possessing guns, since current laws don’t apply to people in dating relationships or convicted stalkers.
“They're not new,” Clinton said about her proposals while campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday. “There's nothing unique about them other than the fact that I am so determined.”
She blasted Republican rival Jeb Bush over his use of the words “stuff happens” while discussing gun violence. It was “an admission of defeat and surrender,” said Clinton, who was joined by mother of son who was killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “It’s time for us to say, ‘Wait a minute, we are better than this.’”