Elections

Hillary Clinton calls in new ad for action on guns

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Coralville, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives at a town hall meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Coralville, Iowa. AP

Hillary Clinton is up with a new campaign ad, calling for efforts to confront what she says is an American “epidemic of gun violence."

The 30-second spot, “Together,” drawn from footage of Clinton speaking at a recent town hall in New Hampshire, notes that between 88-92 Americans die each day from gun violence.

"How many people have to die before we actually act?" Clinton says in the ad, calling for universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole. The ad is part of the campaign's ongoing ad buy in Iowa and New Hampshire and will run alongside previously released ads, her campaign said.

The ad comes as Bernie Sanders, one of Clinton’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, launches his first ads of the campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton has sought to underscore differences between herself and Sanders on gun control in particular, charging at the Democratic debate that he had voted against the Brady bill and hadn’t been tough enough on guns.

Sanders opposed the 1993 Brady bill, which established federal background checks and a waiting period for potential gun owners. He’s explained that he represents a largely rural state where guns “mean different things to people” than in urban states. As a result, he’s argued that he could play a role in bringing opposing sides together. He notes that he later voted and supports a ban on semiautomatic weapons, closing the so-called gun show loophole and tightening background checks.

Clinton, in the wake of an October shooting at an Oregon community college, called for steps on gun control and said she’d act unilaterally if Congress failed to tighten gun show and Internet sales loopholes. She also backs legislation to prevent domestic abusers from buying and possessing firearms and would seek to repeal a 2005 law known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents gun manufacturers and dealers in some cases from being sued. Sanders voted for the law in 2005; Clinton voted against it.

Sanders told MSNBC on Tuesday that he agrees with Clinton’s ad and said he voted to close the gun show loophole and believes instant background checks should be expanded.

“The difference perhaps that I have with the secretary on that is that I believe we need a consensus,” Sanders said on MSNBC. “There is a consensus in this country which does a number of things. It just does that. It says that we have got to strengthen the instant background check. I think most Americans believe that criminals or people who have mental issues should not be owning guns. And I think we have to deal with the gun show loophole and I think we have to deal with the strawman exception now, which allows people to legally buy guns.”

He said there was also a need to make mental health treatment available to people who are in crisis situations: “I believe that we have to bring people together to address this crisis of massacres and people getting killed every day with guns.”

Sanders did not repeat his debate remarks that “all the shouting in the world” wouldn’t prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. Clinton used those remarks at campaign events last month to swipe at Sanders.

“I’ve been told to, and I quote, ‘stop shouting’ about gun violence,” Clinton said at the Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington. “First of all I’m not shouting. It’s just sometimes when women talk people think we’re shouting.”

America Rising, the Republican super PAC that opposes Clinton, pointed out a Politico story that notes that Clinton “was largely silent” on gun control when she ran in 2008.

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