Following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton indicated that if elected in 2016, she would use executive action to enforce stricter gun control laws, which marked a notable difference from her stance in her 2008 campaign in which she cautioned against federal “blanket rules.”
At town hall meetings in New Hampshire on Monday, Clinton vowed to enact a new set of rules to increase background checks, to hold gun sellers “fully accountable if they endanger Americans,” and to tighten a “loophole” found in selling guns online and at gun shows, noting that executive action may be necessary.
Clinton’s website states that if Congress refused to act, she would “take administrative action to require that any person attempting to sell a significant number of guns be deemed ‘in the business’ of selling firearms.”
During a debate in April 2008 between Clinton and Barack Obama, Clinton spoke out against the federal government imposing “blanket rules” on gun rights when the debate focused on discussion of a possible handgun ban in Washington D.C.
“You know, we have a set of rules in New York City and we have a totally different set of rules in the rest of the state. What might work in New York City is certainly not going to work in Montana,” Clinton said. “So, for the federal government to be having any kind of, you know, blanket rules that they’re going to try to impose, I think doesn’t make sense.”
The Washington Times reported that also in April 2008, Clinton tried to set herself apart from Obama by criticizing comments he made about people in small towns clinging to religion and guns “as a way to explain their frustrations.”
“I grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith,” Clinton said during a 2008 campaign rally in Indianapolis. “The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.”
Clinton reminisced about her father teaching her how to shoot when she was young, and said that she believes parents teaching their children how to shoot is “part of culture.”
“You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life,” Clinton said. “People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.”
Clinton also said she believes that Americans “who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a constitutional right,” and that Americans “who believe in God believe it’s a matter of personal faith.”
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