This article appeared online at on Friday, April 22, 2016:  

During a campaign event in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leaned into her favorite topic, gun control: “When it comes to guns, we have just too many on the streets, in our homes, in our neighborhoods,” she insisted.

Then she added that the reason there are so many is the success of the “gun lobby” in keeping Congress from passing more laws to restrict their ownership:

There’s been a lot of talk in this campaign … about the power of certain interests in our country. And we do have a bunch of powerful interests, make no mistake about it. But there is no more powerful lobby than the gun lobby.

Clinton refers to the gun issue at nearly every whistlestop she makes. On Sunday, April 17, she targeted the gun lobby:

You know what the most powerful lobby in Washington is? The gun lobby, which intimidates people, scares people. If you stand with me, we’re gonna do what only one recent president has been able to do, and that is stand up to them — when my husband was able to ban assault weapons. We’re gonna go right back at it.

During an appearance on MSNBC on Wednesday, April 6, she took the opportunity to rail against guns, gunmakers, and her opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, whose picture just happened to be on the front cover of the New York Daily News. At issue was the support by Sanders of a bill giving immunity to gun manufacturers from negligence lawsuits by shooting victims: “That he [Sanders] would place gun manufacturers’ and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me.”

Hillary loves to overstate gun violence, claiming that “90 people a day die from gun violence in our country. That’s 33,000 people a year.”  She reiterates the statistic on her website: “About 33,000 Americans are killed by each year. That is unacceptable.”

What’s unacceptable is her glossing over two essential facts. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), where she got the statistic for the year 2013, 64 percent — more than six out of 10 — died by suicide, leaving 11,208 homicides by a firearm. And, according to the FBI, even that number is suspect: reporting for just one year earlier, 2012, there were a total of 8,855 firearm-related homicides in the United States.

But for ideologues, facts really don’t matter. It’s the message which, repeated often enough, becomes fact.

Clinton’s message, at least, is consistent. She intends, as president, “to do everything I can do, and I’m never going to stop trying,” as reported by C-Span back in December. She then took the opportunity to expand on exactly what she intends to do: “I think we need to pass some laws that I have been advocating for.” Those laws include:

  • Adding more comprehensive background checks beyond those already on the books;
  • Closing the “gun show loophole,” referring to the occasional sale (in states where they are allowed) by a private individual to another private individual that might take place at a gun show without a federal background check;
  • Closing the “online loophole,” whereby private individuals can connect and do business (again, in states where it is allowed) through websites such as without a federal background check;
  • Closing the “Charleston loophole” — the three-day rule that grants permission for a sale to be completed if it hasn’t been denied within three days;
  • Adding anyone on the so-called “no-fly” list to the background check database;
  • Allowing gun manufacturers to be sued for used in a crime; and
  • Allowing gun sellers, which would include gun dealers as well as individuals, to be sued for gun crimes.

And just to make sure that everyone gets the message, Hillary said that if Congress fails to act on these measures under her administration, she “will take administrative action” including providing additional funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to hire more agents “to increase inspections and aggressively enforce current laws by revoking the licenses of dealers who knowingly supply straw purchasers and traffickers.”

On her website, Clinton has promised also to push for legislation that would apply “domestic violence” laws to people in dating relationships and stalkers, prohibiting them from buying or owning firearms. She will push the ATF to “finalize its rulemaking [authority] to close loopholes in our laws and clarify that people involuntarily committed to outpatient treatment … are prohibited from buying guns.” She declares that “military-style assault do not belong on our streets” and that she will “work to keep [them] off our streets and supports reinstating the ban.”

She has also said that an outright mandatory confiscation of firearms similar to that imposed by Australia on its citizens was “worth considering.”

The so-called gun lobby, made up of groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), Gun Owners of America (GOA), Citizens for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) remain on high alert. Said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRAILA): “This validates what the NRA has said all along. The real goal of supporters is gun confiscation. Hillary Clinton’s extreme views are completely out of touch with the American people.”

It’s possible for gun owners to keep Clinton from getting anywhere near the White House, according to Alan Gottlieb, founder of the SAF: “I’m hoping the gun movement is what pulls off the election. We account for one or two percent that can change [it]. Lots of gun owners aren’t just Republicans, they’re Independents and Democrats. If they cross over and vote for a candidate, Hillary Clinton will not be in the White House.”

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