IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Hillary Clinton: Take dead aim against gun violence
By Hillary Clinton
New York Daily News
Sunday, March 27, 2016
If you're a parent in Brownsville, Mott Haven or a handful of other New York neighborhoods, you live every day with the fear of gun violence harming your family. If you live in Manhattan, however, the city's as safe as it's ever been. As others have observed, life in New York can feel like a tale of two cities.
In 2012, the Daily News reported that just five of New York's 76 police precincts account for a quarter of all shootings. If you're reading this from one of the 71 other precincts, the epidemic of gun violence may feel like something from another world. In some zip codes, a full year can pass without a single murder being committed.
That hasn't always been the case, of course. Back in 1990, the city saw an astounding 2,262 murders. Yet by 2014, that number had fallen to 333 — marking the lowest murder rate in New York City since these statistics were first recorded.
This positive trend is a remarkable achievement, but it fails to tell the full story of neighborhoods in New York where concentrated gun violence still plagues too many families.
Last November in Chicago, I met with a group of mothers from across the country who have lived that nightmare — moms of children like Jordan Davis from Jacksonville, Florida, who was 17 when he died; Trayvon Martin from Sanford, Florida, also 17; and Hadiya Pendleton from Chicago, just 15 when she was killed. They were just doing what kids do: playing music, walking home from the store, talking with friends in a park in broad daylight — and they all ended up shot to death.
At the very moment I was speaking with these mothers, not far away, a 9-year-old boy named Tyshawn Lee was executed in an alley, shot six times on his way to visit his grandmother. Sirens blared, headlines flashed and another life was taken too soon.
An average of 90 people a day are killed by gun violence in the U.S. Thousands of parents every year have to bury their children. Imagine it. You pour your heart and soul into raising your kids, teaching them about the world, listening to every worry, cheering every victory, and encouraging them to dream big dreams and doing everything you can to help them achieve them. And then one day, a distant siren, an unexpected phone call, or a breaking news alert on TV could mean that someone with a gun has taken all those dreams away.
It's time — long past time — that we do what it takes to put a stop to it.
Not just in some neighborhoods or some cities — but in every corner of this country where guns continue to destroy innocent lives.
There are some common-sense steps we can take that are fully consistent with the law and Constitution to finally begin to tackle this scourge.
First, we need to repeal the law that gives the gun industry sweeping liability protections, so companies that make and sell guns can be help accountable when their products kill people. When the NRA pushed that misguided law through Congress, they said that preventing lawsuits was their top legislative priority. Now it's making it harder for families who lost children in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, to sue Bushmaster for marketing its AR-15 assault rifle to civilians. As President, I'll stand with the families victimized by guns, not the corporations that profit from them.
Second, we should implement comprehensive background checks. President Obama recently issued several executive orders designed to strengthen this federal system. Surveys have shown that even 85% of gun owners favor these checks. And it's hard to believe that we still allow people on the no-fly list to purchase firearms. I think it's pretty simple: If it's too dangerous for you to be allowed on an airplane, it's too dangerous for you to own a gun.
Third, we need to close the so-called "Charleston loophole." Right now, a person with an arrest record can walk into a gun store to buy a gun, and if their background check isn't completed within three business days, they can walk out with a firearm. It makes absolutely no sense. More than 55,000 gun sales that would otherwise have been blocked have been allowed to proceed because of this loophole. One of them was the gun bought by the white supremacist who murdered nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston last year.
It may be hard to believe, but this loophole isn't the result of some accidental oversight in the law. It was created by a stand-alone amendment designed and written by the gun lobby.
This highlights a genuine difference in the Democratic presidential primary. On each of these critical issues — legal protections for gun makers, background checks and the Charleston loophole — my opponent voted with the NRA. In one recent debate, he defended one of these votes, and the NRA even tweeted that Senator Sanders "was spot-on in his comments about guns."
If the NRA thinks you're doing a good job, that's a pretty good indication that something's very wrong.
Of course, all of the Republican candidates march in lockstep with the gun lobby.
Donald Trump has called the NRA's efforts to stop gun safety reforms "invaluable." He has vowed to "un-sign" all of President Obama's executive actions to strengthen background checks. And he has pledged that on his very first day in office he would override laws that prevent people from carrying guns into schools.
When he isn't cooking bacon on the barrel of an automatic rifle, Ted Cruz is earning his lifetime NRA "A+ rating" in the Senate by voting against comprehensive background checks. He even signed a letter pledging to "oppose any legislation" to address gun violence.
It's time we stand up to the Republicans and the gun lobby and stand with parents who have lost their children to gun violence.
I have no illusions about how hard the politics around this issue are, but I refuse to sit on the sidelines while more children die. I am convinced that the majority of Americans — and the majority of gun owners — agree on the need for common-sense safety reforms. And I know that progress is possible, even on this most difficult issue, because we've done it before.
As First Lady, I advocated for the Brady Bill, which created the federal background check system, and for banning assault weapons, which have no place on our streets. As New York's senator, I worked to close the gun-show loophole and stand up against the bill that protected irresponsible gun makers and dealers from legal liability.
As a candidate for President, I've met and spoken with too many grieving parents to give up this fight. Some of the mothers I met last year have become advocates for reform. They call themselves Mothers of the Movement, and they say they're "turning their sorrow into a strategy and their mourning into a movement."
Recently, I joined some of these mothers to visit a memorial in Chicago to children killed by gun violence. It's made up of more than 500 stones, each representing a dead child. One of those children was only a year old.
Standing before those stones, I pledged once more that as a mother, a grandmother and hopefully one day as President, I will work to save and protect the lives of our nation's children.
We have to stand with parents who have lost children in New York and in communities all over America, and not rest until every child can walk safely down any street in every neighborhood and every borough.
Clinton, who represented New York in the U.S. Senate, is running for the Democratic nomination for President.