Hillary Clinton, Calling Out the N.R.A., Gets a Quick Reply
Hillary Rodham Clinton has promised to take on the National Rifle Association in aggressively pressing for gun control measures that have eluded the Obama administration. On Friday, the powerful lobbying group gave her a fight.
It accused Mrs. Clinton of supporting “gun confiscation,” after she expressed interest in a gun buyback program that led to the elimination of the majority of Australia’s firearms.
At a town hall-style event Friday in Keene, N.H., Mrs. Clinton was asked if she would consider the program, set up after a mass shooting, under which the Australian government bought back roughly 650,000 guns and then imposed stricter standards for gun purchases.
“I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level if that could be arranged,” Mrs. Clinton said. She compared the buyback, versions of which some communities in the United States already have adopted, to President Obama’s Car Allowance Rebate System (better known as “cash for clunkers”), which offered incentives for people to buy new cars and get energy-inefficient vehicles off the road.
“I do not know enough details to tell you how we would do it, or how it would work,” Mrs. Clinton said. “But certainly your example is worth looking at.”
In a statement, Chris Cox, the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, said that Mrs. Clinton’s comments validated the fears of gun owners and that her “extreme views are completely out of touch with the American people.”
“The real goal of gun control supporters is gun confiscation,” Mr. Cox said. “Hillary Clinton, echoing President Obama’s recent remarks on the same issue, made that very clear.”
The N.R.A.’s response could benefit Mrs. Clinton as she seeks to emphasize her stance on gun control and highlight her differences on the issue with Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted against several gun control measures in Congress.
At a campaign rally in San Antonio on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton, without mentioning Mr. Sanders by name, alluded to his comments during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate that “all the shouting in the world” would not keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them “and end this horrible violence.”
“I’ve been told by some, quit talking about this, to quit shouting about this,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I will tell you right now, I will not be silenced and we will not be silenced — we must continue to speak out.”
On Friday, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign released an online video that opens with footage of Mr. Obama’s news conference after the mass shooting at a community college in Oregon earlier this month. “This is something we should politicize,” Mr. Obama said.
The 60-second video then cuts to Mrs. Clinton. “I will not be silenced,” she says. “I will keep taking on the N.R.A.”
Mrs. Clinton’s gun control proposals, presented in detail days after the shooting in Oregon, included the use of executive action to close the so-called gun show loophole, should Congress fail to approve the measure.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Mrs. Clinton was asked about her newly assertive position, given that she had played up her gun rights credentials during her 2008 campaign.
During that contentious primary, after Mr. Obama suggested at a closed-door fund-raiser in San Francisco that rural people “cling to guns or religion,” Mrs. Clinton told an Indiana crowd: “My dad taught me how to shoot behind our cottage. I have gone hunting.” (Mr. Obama responded by mocking Mrs. Clinton, saying she sounded like Annie Oakley, acting “like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday, packing a six-shooter.”)
But Mrs. Clinton told CNN’s Jake Tapper that her stance on gun control had not changed.
“I spent a lot of years in Arkansas. I have a lot of experience with and respect for people who own guns, collect guns, use them for hunting, use them for target shooting,” she said. “But I believe we have gone way too far in being intimidated by the N.R.A.”