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Hillary Clinton pushes new gun-control plan following Oregon shooting

Clinton wants to overturn a Bush-era law that protects firearm dealers from liability.


Dell Cameron


Posted on Oct 5, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 8:55 pm CDT

In the wake of last week’s mass shooting at an Oregon community college, 2016 Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton promised to pursue tougher gun-control laws if elected president.

“America simply cannot accept as ‘normal’ 30,000 gun deaths every year,” reads a briefing on Clinton’s 2016 campaign website. “The vast majority of the American people—including law-abiding gun owners—believe we can and must do better.”

Clinton’s announcement acknowledged first the need for more comprehensive background checks. “Background checks reduced gun trafficking, reduce the lethality of domestic violence, and reduce unlawful gun transfers to dangerous individuals,” the statement said. Clinton also called the failure of Congress to pass a bipartisan bill supporting background checks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre “reprehensible.”

“America simply cannot accept as ‘normal’ 30,000 gun deaths every year.”

The Clinton campaign is also calling for Congress to close a number of loopholes that allow gun sales to proceed online or at gun shows without a complete background check.

In addition, Clinton would seek to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a law that prevents firearm manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes are committed with their products. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2005, and praised by the NRA as “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.”

Clinton proposed a number of other measures with the purpose of keeping firearms out of the hands of violent felons, domestic abusers, and those who suffer from mental illness. As president, she would support legislation to prohibit all domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns, her website says. She also promises to make it a federal crime for someone to buy a gun with the intention of giving it to a violent felon, a practice known as “straw purchasing.”

When an individual with a clean record buys a gun with the intention of giving it to a violent felon—only so that felon can avoid a background check—it should be a crime. Currently, “straw purchasing” is a paperwork-related violation.

Clinton’s Republican opponents have accused her of “politicizing” the brutal killing of nine people at the Umqua Community College. President Barack Obama made no apologies for raising the gun-control issue at a press conference following the shooting on Thursday. “Somebody somewhere will comment and say, ‘Obama politicized this issue,’” he said. “Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”

President Obama further vowed to politicize gun rights “each time” a new gun-related mass shooting happens.

“We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction. Each time this happens I’m going to bring this up,” Obama said. “Each time this happens I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it but we’re going to have to change our laws and this is not something I can do by myself.”

Photo via Marc Nozell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Oct 5, 2015, 12:55 pm CDT