The gun violence debate is hitting the campaign trail in light of last week’s deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon that left 10 people dead.
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In a town hall meeting on Monday morning, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton laid out her vision for gun control before voters in Hollis, New Hampshire.
"I will try every way I can to get those guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them," Clinton said. "We need to prevent these kinds of terrible crimes that are happening."
Clinton’s proposal includes expanding background checks for sellers at gun shows, cracking down on online gun sales and banning domestic abusers from purchasing guns. She also supports Congress closing a loophole that allows a gun sale to proceed without a complete background check. That loophole, dubbed the “Charleston Loophole,” allowed Dylan Roof to legally buy a firearm despite his federal criminal record. Roof shot and killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in June.
"I will try every way I can to get those guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them."
The former Secretary of State says the country “is better than this” and vows as president she will create change.
“If Congress refuses to act to end this epidemic of gun violence, I'll take administrative action to do so.”
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During the town hall, Clinton choked up while introducing Nicole Hockley, mother of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, one of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
“So many of the parents of these precious children who were murdered have taken the unimaginable grief that they have been burying and have tried to be the voices that we need to hear,“ said Clinton.
She believes steps can be taken to improve gun prevention and safety. “It's time to act on gun violence. We simply cannot accept as normal 33,000 gun deaths a year.”
If Congress refuses to act to end this epidemic of gun violence, I'll take administrative action to do so. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 5, 2015
Another Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, has not presented his gun control plan however his record on gun control legislation has been mixed. Sanders supported universal background checks legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting but also voted to allow guns on Amtrak trains.
On Friday, in response to the Oregon shooting, Senator Sanders said that “we’ve got to do something - I don’t know that anybody knows what the magic solution is.”
According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Sunday, Sanders is leading in New Hampshire by nine points at 48% compared to Clinton’s 39%. Clinton is still in the lead in Iowa with 47% support, while Sanders is in second place with 36%.
Just days after the Oregon shooting, GOP front-runner Donald Trump weighed in on the gun debate at a rally in Franklin, Tennessee.
"Every time something happens, they don't blame mental illness, that our mental healthcare is out of whack and all of the other problems,” said Trump. “And by the way, it was a gun-free zone. I will tell you, if you had a couple of the teachers or somebody with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off."
Trump advocates Second Amendment rights; his proposal is in line with the National Rifle Association, which supports stricter enforcement of existing laws and opposes new gun control measures.
Another Republican candidate, Jeb Bush, weighed in on the recent campus shooting.
“Look, stuff happens and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do,” Bush said a day after the shooting.
During Bush’s tenure as Florida governor, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranked Florida the 40th most restrictive state for gun legislation in 2011. Florida gun related deaths increased while the state's overall violent crime dropped from 2000 to 2010.