Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Monday proposed tighter gun-control measures, including expanded background checks, and suggested that if elected she would use executive powers to achieve her goals.
“I want to push hard to get more sensible restraints,” Clinton said on NBC’s “Today” show. “I want to work with Congress, but I will look at ways as president.”
She called for expanded background checks for firearms sales online and at gun shows. Clinton also called for closing loopholes in federal laws that allow for gun-sale transactions to be completed if the buyer’s background check is not finished within three days.
Clinton will unveil more details about her plans Monday during a campaign swing through New Hampshire.
Her campaign says her proposals also include a repeal of legislation shielding gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers from most liability suits, even in the case of mass shootings like the one that killed nine students and teachers at an Oregon community college on Thursday.
The fatal shootings have sparked renewed interest in Washington, the 2016 presidential campaign trails and elsewhere across the country about curbing gun violence.
Clinton’s proposals also mark an attempt to make up ground among the liberal wing of the Democratic Party against her closest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. While Sanders has wooed the Democratic base with his liberal positions on issues like income inequality and college debt, he’s struggled to defend a more mixed record on gun legislation — a reflection, he says, of his rural, gun-friendly home-state.
Sanders backed all the Democratic gun bills brought up in Congress after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. But in 1993, he voted against the landmark Brady handgun bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period for gun purchasers, and he backed the 2005 legislation granting legal immunity to many in the gun industry.
Sanders now says he supports banning assault weapons and closing the so-called “gun show loophole” that exempts private, unlicensed gun sales from background checks.
“I’m going to try in every way,” Clinton said Monday. “I am going to get those guns out of people’s hands.”
Clinton last week also used the recent campus shootings to slam Republican lawmakers, whom she says “refuse to do anything” about mass shootings.
“We need to make every politician who sides with [the NRA] to look in the eyes of parents whose kids have been murdered,” Clinton said. “The GOP counts on a dedicated group that scares politicians and says ‘We will vote against you’ … So we will take them on. We took them on in the ’90s; we’re gonna take them on again.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.