Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders used the Democrats’ Jan. 25 Iowa town hall event to suggest that Hillary Clinton pushes gun control where and when it benefits her politically.
Some of you might recall that back in 2007, when she was running against Barack Obama, she also focused [on gun control], but she thought that Obama was too strong on gun issues. You may remember him referring to her as “Annie Oakley.”
Today, Hillary Clinton is running a lot of advertisements on gun issues. Interestingly enough, she’s running most of them in New Hampshire, where she thinks it will work. [She’s] not running so many of them in rural Iowa. Now you can form your own judgement as to why that is the case.
Sanders’s recollection of Clinton’s gun record is correct. And according to the Washington Times, Clinton was speaking to an audience in Indiana in April 2007 when she said:
I disagree with Senator Obama’s assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about trade and immigration simply out of frustration. You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl.
You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.
Less than a year later—in January 2008—the New York Times presented Clinton pivoting to a position of supporting greater gun control by speaking in favor a registry from which to run background checks on gun purchases and calling for a renewal of the federal “assault weapons” ban. Yet her support for a registry and an “assault weapons” ban was conflicted by the fact that she simultaneously stated opposition to federal statutes “preempting” state gun laws.
In effect, Clinton found herself entrapped by her various gun control positions, which were the result of trying to please everybody in the crowd. She was for greater gun control on the one hand, but spoke against federal statutes overtaking state gun laws on the other. Sanders says she is doing the same thing again in 2016—this time by running pro-gun control commercials in New Hampshire while shying away from the topic in Iowa.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.