Gearing up for the general election, the two likely candidates for president clashed on the Second Amendment. With a string of fatal clashes with police and Newton still fresh in the minds of Americans, guns are poised to be a chief issue on the ballot this November.
Trump met with 80,000 members of the National Rifle Association to launch a united front against Clinton. Compared to Trump, the NRA views Clinton as a bigger threat to the Second Amendment.
The presumptive Republican nominee played on the group’s biggest fears: that Clinton would take their guns away, through both her Supreme Court picks and her own actions, while failing to protect Americans from violent criminals and terrorists.
Clinton took the opportunity to attack Trump and the gun lobby, saying a Trump presidency would only put more children at risk of “violence and bigotry.”
Neither Clinton nor Trump can move to the center on the issue of guns. For Trump, the gun rights movement may bring unity around his campaign. For Clinton, it’s an issue that even Sanders supporters can get behind.
Chris Cox, chief NRA strategist, said on Saturday, “Hillary, you picked this fight, but mark my words, we will win it.”
Clinton’s advocacy for gun control is unprecedented for both her and a Democratic presidential candidate. Contrary to what Trump and the NRA says, Clinton has never called for an abolishment of the Second Amendment, but rather “common sense gun laws” which include an expanded background check.
Clinton’s stance on gun control is a far cry from her position in 2008, when she positioned herself as a pro-gun churchgoer after Obama was caught criticizing Americans who “cling to their guns and religion.”