Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

Hillary Clinton on Gun Control

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Balance lawful gun ownership & keeping guns from criminals

Q: Both you and Sen. Obama, in the past, have supported strong gun control measures. But now when I listen to you on the campaign, I hear you emphasizing that you believe in an individual’s right to bear arms. Both of you were strong advocates for licensing of guns. Both of you were strong advocates for the registration of guns. Why don’t you emphasize that now?

CLINTON: I respect the Second Amendment. I respect the rights of lawful gun owners to own guns, to use their guns, but I also believe that most lawful gun owners whom I have spoken with for many years across our country also want to be sure that we keep those guns out of the wrong hands. And as president, I will work to try to bridge this divide, which I think has been polarizing and, frankly, doesn’t reflect the common sense of the American people. We will strike the right balance to protect the constitutional right but to give people the feeling & the reality that they will be protected from guns in the wrong hands.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary , Apr 16, 2008

Give local police access to federal gun tracking info

I will be a good partner, for cities like Philadelphia, as president. Because I will bring back the so-called COPS program, where we had 100,000 police on the street, which really helped drive down the crime rate and also helped create better community relations.

I will also work to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We had it during the 1990s. It really was an aid to our police officers, who are now once again, because it has lapsed--the Republicans will not reinstate it--are being outgunned on our streets by these military-style weapons.

I will also work to make sure that police departments get access to the federal information that will enable them to track illegal guns, because the numbers are astounding. Probably 80% of the guns used in gun crimes got there illegally. And under the Republicans, that information was kept from local law enforcement.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary , Apr 16, 2008

Let states & cities determine local gun laws

Q: Do you support the DC handgun ban?

A: I want to give local communities the authority over determining how to keep their citizens safe. This case you’re referring to is before the Supreme Court.

Q: But what do you support?

A: I support sensible regulation that is consistent with the constitutional right to own and bear arms.

Q: Is the DC ban consistent with that right?

A: I think a total ban, with no exceptions under any circumstances, might be found by the court not to be. But DC or anybody else [should be able to] come up with sensible regulations to protect their people.

Q: But do you still favor licensing and registration of handguns?

A: What I favor is what works in NY. We have one set of rules in NYC and a totally different set of rules in the rest of the state. What might work in NYC is certainly not going to work in Montana. So, for the federal government to be having any kind of blanket rules that they’re going to try to impose, I think doesn’t make sense.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary , Apr 16, 2008

Against illegal guns, crack down on illegal gun dealers

I am against illegal guns, and illegal guns are the cause of so much death and injury in our country. I also am a political realist and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people. I don’t want the federal government preempting states and cities like New York that have very specific problems. We need to have a registry that really works with good information about people who are felons, people who have been committed to mental institutions. We need to make sure that that information is in a timely manner, both collected and presented. We do need to crack down on illegal gun dealers. This is something that I would like to see more of. We need to enforce the laws that we have on the books. I would also work to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We now have, once again, police deaths going up around the country, and in large measure because bad guys now have assault weapons again.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas , Jan 15, 2008

Backed off a national licensing registration plan on guns

I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms. But I also believe that we can common-sensically approach this, and backed off a national licensing registration plan.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas , Jan 15, 2008

Get assault weapons & guns off the street

Q: How would you address gun violence that continues to be the #1 cause of death among African-American men?

A: I think it’s important to remember that the crime rate was driven down, & gun violence was driven down in the 1990s because of a combination of policies, like 100,000 police on the street and getting assault weapons off the street, and because of a growing economy. 22 million new jobs gave people who were hopeless a better chance for a future. So I want to get back to what works. This administration has tried to kill the 100,000 police. You’ve got mayors whose police force is outgunned by the criminals and the gang-bangers. Assault weapons are back on the street. We’ve got to go and do what works again. In addition to having policies that will get guns off the street, we do have to give young men particularly a better chance of a future that includes educational & economic opportunities & second chances when they get caught up in the criminal justice system.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum , Jul 12, 2007

Background check system could prevent Virginia Tech massacre

Q: Did any role that federal government plays fail those students at Virginia Tech?

A: Yes. You know, I remember very well when I accompanied Bill to Columbine after that massacre and met with the family members of those who had been killed and talked with the students, and feeling that we had to do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal and of the mentally unstable. And during the Clinton administration, that was a goal--not to, in any way, violate people’s Second Amendment rights, but to try to limit access to people who should not have guns. Unfortunately, we saw the tragedy unfold at Virginia Tech. We now know that the background check system didn’t work, because certainly this shooter, as he’s called, had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself and others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

FactCheck: VA Tech shooter not declared a danger to others

Hillary Clinton slipped up in her description of the Virginia Tech killings, overstating what a Virginia court had found about the shooter’s mental state in 2005. Clinton said the shooter “had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself & others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun.”

That’s only half true. It’s correct that Seung-hui Cho had a court-documented history of mental illness that should have precluded his purchase of a firearm. And he was indeed found to present “an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness“ in a ruling dated December 14, 2005. But the Judge did not check a box that would have declared Cho ”an imminent danger to others.“ Moreover, the judge declined to involuntarily commit Cho and sent him to outpatient counseling. Clinton’s confusion on this might stem from bad reporting by some news outlets that said Cho was found to be a danger to himself and others.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 South Carolina Democratic debate , Apr 26, 2007

Congress’ failure at Littleton response inspired Senate run

A month after the Columbine shootings, Bill & I went to Littleton Colorado to visit with the families of victims & survivors. The Columbine tragedy was not the first, nor the last, episode involving gun violence at an American high school. But it ignited a call for more federal action to keep guns out of the hands of the violent, troubled and young--a lethal combination. Bill and I announced a proposal to raise the legal age of handgun ownership to 21, and limit purchases of handguns to one per month.

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p. 503-4 , Nov 1, 2003

Keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them

We need to stand firm on behalf of sensible gun control legislation. We have to enact laws that will keep guns out of the hand of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced persons. Congress should have acted before our children started going back to school. I realize the NRA is a formidable political group; but I believe the American people are ready to come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.
Source: www.hillary2000.org, “Gun Safety” , Sep 9, 2000

Limit access to weapons; look for early warning signs

We have to make sure that our schools are safe. Our schools need more help from parents and from communities, and we also need more social workers and counselors who are trained to see the early warning signs. No school security system or metal detector can keep out the culture of violence that dominates the lives of so many of our children. We have to address issues of culture, and we have to ensure that young people do not have easy access to weapons; not only firearms but bomb making material.
Source: www.hillary2000.org, “Safe Schools” , Sep 9, 2000

License and register all handgun sales

Hillary Rodham Clinton offered her support for a legislative proposal to license hand guns. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to obtain a state-issued photo gun license. “I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun,” Clinton said. “I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry, such as Chuck is proposing.”
Source: CNN.com , Jun 2, 2000

Tough gun control keeps guns out of wrong hands

I think it does once again urge us to think hard about what we can do to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced people. I hope we will come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who have no business with them.
Source: Press Release , Jul 31, 1999

Gun control protects our children

We will not make progress on a sensible gun control agenda unless the entire American public gets behind it. It is really important for each of you [kids] to make sure you stay away from guns. If you have guns in your home, tell your parents to keep them away from you and your friends and your little brothers and sisters.
Source: Forum at South Side Middle School in Nassau County , Jul 15, 1999

Don’t water down sensible gun control legislation

We have to do everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of children, and we need to stand firm on behalf of the sensible gun control legislation that passed the Senate and then was watered down in the House. It does not make sense for us at this point in our history to turn our backs on the reality that there are too many guns and too many children have access to those guns-and we have to act to prevent that.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Lock up guns; store ammo separately

If you own a gun... make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition. In fact, make it stored where the ammunition is stored separately. We’ve made some progress in the last several years with the Brady Bill and some of the bans on assault weapons, but we have a lot of work to do.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” , Jun 4, 1999

Ban kids’ unsupervised access to guns

Q: What actions can students take to help gun control further? A: Young people, especially teenagers, [should pledge] to not give any child unsupervised access to a firearm; not to go into homes, or let your younger siblings go into homes where you know guns are and are not safely stored and taken care of. You guys are going to a party, make sure there are no guns around. If you own a gun or you know people who do, make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” , Jun 4, 1999

Get weapons off the streets; zero tolerance for weapons

The first step is to take weapons off the streets and to put more police on them. The Brady Bill, which my husband signed into law in 1995, imposes a 5-day waiting period for gun purchases, time enough for authorities to check out a buyer’s record and for the buyer to cool down about any conflict he might have intended the gun to resolve. Since it was enacted, more than 40,000 people with criminal records have been prevented from buying guns. The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act banned 19 types of military-style assault weapons whose only purpose is to kill people.

As part of a “zero tolerance” policy for weapons, drugs, and other threats to the safety of teachers and students, the President signed an executive order decreeing that any student who comes to school with a gun will be expelled and punished as a condition of federal aid.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.126 , Sep 25, 1996

Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

A bill to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. Voting YES would:
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S 397 ; vote number 2005-219 on Jul 29, 2005

Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.

Vote to pass a bill that would block certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, mainly those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. In this bill, trade groups would also be protected The bill would call for the dismissal of pending lawsuits against the gun industry. The exception would be lawsuits regarding a defect in a weapon or ammunition. It also would provide a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban which is set to expire in September 2004. The bill would increase the penalties for gun-related violent or drug trafficking crimes which have not resulted in death, to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. The bill calls for criminal background checks on all firearm transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are sold. Exemptions would be made available for dealers selling guns from their homes as well as members-only gun swaps and meets carried out by nonprofit hunting clubs.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S.1805/H.R.1036 ; vote number 2004-30 on Mar 2, 2004

Prevent unauthorized firearm use with "smart gun" technology.

Clinton adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Make America the “Safest Big Country” in the World
After climbing relentlessly for three decades, crime rates started to fall in the 1990s. Nonetheless, the public remains deeply concerned about the prevalence of gun violence, especially among juveniles, and Americans still avoid public spaces like downtown retail areas, parks, and even sports facilities.

We need to keep policing “smart” and community-friendly, prohibiting unjust and counterproductive tactics such as racial profiling; focus on preventing as well as punishing crime; pay attention to what happens to inmates and their families after sentencing; use mandatory testing and treatment to break the cycle of drugs and crime; and enforce and strengthen laws against unsafe or illegal guns. Moreover, we need a renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and we must reject a false choice between justice and safety.

Technology can help in many areas: giving police more information on criminal suspects so they do not rely on slipshod, random stop-and-search methods; allowing lower-cost supervision of people on probation or parole; and making it possible to disable and/or trace guns used by unauthorized persons.

Above all, we need to remember that public safety is the ultimate goal of crime policy. Until Americans feel safe enough to walk their neighborhood streets, enjoy public spaces, and send their children to school without fear of violence, we have not achieved public safety.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC11 on Aug 1, 2000

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Gun Control.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Hillary Clinton.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Hillary Clinton.
Other candidates on Gun Control: Hillary Clinton on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014