Hillary Clinton said Wednesday in Iowa that she hopes the shooting of two TV journalists earlier in the day will lead to action on gun violence, and warned others will “turn away” from action. She also acknowledged that she erred in using a private email account as secretary of state.
“I hope that in addition to expressing sympathy for those directly affected that this is, maybe for the media for the public for elected officials for every American, what it hopefully will finally take for us to act” on guns, she told reporters after an event on rural development at a community college in Ankeny.
Wednesday morning, a disgruntled former employee of a Virginia TV station killed two co-workers during a live broadcast before killing himself.
“There is so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available,” Clinton continued, much “carnage” could be prevented.
“We have got to do something about gun violence in America and I will take it on. There are many people who face it and know it, but then turn away because its hard it’s a very politically difficult issue in America,” Clinton said of the shooting. “I want to reiterate how important it is that we not let yet another terrible instance go by without trying to do something.”
Also during her press conference with reporters, Clinton went a bit further than she has previously in acknowledging her error in her exclusive use of a private email server.“It clearly wasn’t the best choice,” she said. “I should have used two emails one personal one for work and I take responsibility for that.”
Clinton has long been an advocate of gun control, going back at least to her time as first lady, when her husband signed a number of gun laws. While Clinton did not mention anyone by name in her comments on guns, her warning that others will “turn away” from gun regulation could be read as a veiled jab at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is currently her top rival for the Democratic nomination.
While Sanders’ political strength comes from his liberal positions, Clinton’s campaign has identified guns as one place she can outflank Sanders on his left. Sanders hails from a rural state with embedded gun culture and has been less full-throated in his support for gun control than other Democrats.
Just one day before the shooting, a Clinton surrogate took perhaps the toughest line on a Democratic opponent the campaign has taken so far, going after Sanders on this issue.
While campaigning on Clinton’s behalf in New Hampshire Tuesday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Sanders’ vote against the Brady Handgun Bill in the 1990s was out of step with the Democratic Party. “It’s an anathema to my own [party],” Malloy told Clinton organizers in Manchester, according to Connecticut news reports. “I don’t understand it.”
Sanders has become more aggressive on guns than in his earlier years in politics, but it’s not an issue he seems eager to address.
“I think we need to have as serious conversation about that,” he said during a campaign in Las Vegas earlier this summer. “I will talk about guns at some length, but not right now.”