Hillary Clinton Reaffirms History of Gun Reform Support

October 5th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Democratic presidential primary candidate Hillary Clinton announced a series of gun reform proposals Monday just days after a gunman opened fire, killing nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, in what was the 45th school shooting in 2015.

At a series of town hall-style meetings at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire, Clinton said that if elected, she would enact more comprehensive background checks and restructure gun manufacturers' immunity in some cases of gun violence.

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Clinton's plan of action is three-pronged: strengthen background checks, push to hold the gun industry accountable, and keep firearms out of reach for domestic abusers, violent criminals, and the mentally ill.

Stronger background checks

Citing broad support for strengthening background checks from both gun rights and gun control advocates, Clinton proposed advocating for federal background check legislation, and closing loopholes that allow guns to be sold if a check is not completed within three days or if the transaction happens in a non-traditional marketplace. On the first point, Clinton sought to build on the Brady Law, which blocked more than 2.4 million prohibited gun sales since its passage in 1993, criticizing congressional inaction following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

She also promised to close the "Charleston Loophole," which contributed to the Charleston shooter Dylann Roof's ability to buy a gun even though he had a criminal record. The loophole allows a gun to be sold if a background check is not completed within three days, and led to more than 2,500 prohibited gun purchases in 2014, according to a Clinton fact sheet. Another loophole targeted by the Clinton plan exists for buyers and sellers outside of a traditional firearms store. Clinton would take administrative action, she said, to impose the same restrictions that apply to gun stores to high-volume weapons sellers in online and trade show transactions.

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Hold gun industry accountable

Clinton's plan pushes for gun dealers and manufacturers who fail to operate safely and responsibly to be held accountable-something from which they are currently protected under the so-called "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act." She said she would act to repeal the NRA-backed law, which protects sellers and manufacturers from being convicted of negligence in misuse cases involving their weapons. Clinton also promised to crack down on gun stores that sell illegal weapons, proposing comprehensive inspections, and enforcing compliance with federal laws.

Keep guns from domestic abusers, violent criminals, and severely mentally ill

Keeping firearms out of the hands of those unfit to safely use them is a tricky thing to enforce. Clinton said this could be done with legislation baring abusive people in dating relationships, and convicted stalkers from obtaining guns, outlawing "straw purchasing"-buying a gun for a felon, for example-at the federal level, and closing loopholes that might allow someone "involuntarily committed to outpatient treatment" to purchase a gun-someone like the Virginia Tech shooter. Clinton also said she supports keeping military-grade assault weapons off of the nation's streets.

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