In the wake of the recent mass shootings throughout the country,
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has taken the unusual step of elevating the discussion about gun control to the center of her campaign.
According to The Washington Post,
the subject is one that most Democratic candidates in the past have avoided, believing it could alienate gun owners. Clinton, by contrast, has taken to the stump to raise awareness of the issue.
"I'm going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better," Clinton said Tuesday in Iowa City.
According to the Post, she also said, "We have to take on the gun lobby… This is a controversial issue. I am well aware of that. But I think it is the height of irresponsibility not to talk about it."
In June, Clinton made an appeal for action on the issue as she spoke about the Charleston shooting.
"How many innocent people in our country, from little children, to church members, to movie theater attendees, how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" she said, according to CNN.
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, argued that by raising the issue, Clinton does so at her peril.
"We've been down this road before with the Clintons," LaPierre said through a spokesman, according to the Post. "She needs to read her husband's book."
In Bill Clinton's memoir, "My Life," he suggested that Vice President Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election in part because of the fallout in states such as Arkansas and Tennessee over the 1995 ban on assault weapons during the Clinton administration.
One longtime gun control advocate said he believes Hillary Clinton should tout her husband's record, while many Democratic strategists told the Post they believe the issue will resonate well in both the primary and the general election.
"The Clintons pulled off the almost-impossible by giving us the background-check system and banning assault weapons," Mark Glaze, a longtime gun-control advocate who oversaw former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-control efforts, told the Post.
"That's something President Obama wasn't able to do. Their political interest lies in owning, rather than obscuring, that accomplishment."
The Post noted that gun control is one of the few issues that Clinton is more liberal on than rival Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who comes from a rural, pro-gun-rights state and has in the past supported legislation to protect the firearms industry.
Slate magazine recently published a piece warning liberal readers to take note that Sanders
"stands firmly to [Hillary] Clinton's right on one issue of overwhelming importance to the Democratic base: gun control."
The Post said that the gun control issue works well for Clinton's overall narrative, allowing her to play to the liberal base.
While she has not been specific recently about gun control proposals, she has in the past supported limits on gun sales
and extending the assault weapons ban.
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