WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday renewed her pledge to take on the powerful U.S. gun lobby.
Speaking at a townhall-style event in Coralville, Iowa, Clinton said gun violence affects urban, suburban and rural areas.
“This is a problem, it’s a danger, it’s a threat, everywhere in our country,” Clinton said.
We must “make this a voting issue, just like the other side does, because the majority of Americans and the majority of gun owners agree with us” that there should be additional restrictions, Clinton added.
Clinton, who is seeking her party’s nomination for the November 2016 presidential election, has said she wants to build a national movement to counter the National Rifle Association, the leading U.S. gun rights advocacy group. The NRA spent more than $28 million in the 2014 election cycle, promoting candidates who oppose gun restrictions and against those who favor them.
On Monday, Clinton met in Chicago with mothers and others who have lost children and family members to gun violence or in race-related confrontations with law enforcement.
“They are determined to do what they can to try to prevent this from happening to any other family, and so am I,” Clinton said in Iowa of the meeting.
Clinton’s Iowa campaign stop coincided with the release of a 30-second television ad that focuses on curbing gun violence by passing new laws.
The ad uses footage from an Oct. 5 town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Clinton said she would pursue expanded background checks and take steps to hold manufacturers accountable for crimes committed with their weapons.
“This epidemic of gun violence knows no boundaries. Between 88 and 92 people a day are killed by guns. We’re better than this. We need to close the loopholes and support universal background checks,” Clinton says in the ad, as members of the audience nod in agreement.
“How many people have to die before we actually act? Before we come together as a nation?”
The ad, titled “Together,” will air in Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold the first party-nominating contests, as part of a previously announced purchase, Clinton’s campaign said.
Clinton reiterated on Tuesday that she would like to repeal a law that she believes unfairly protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held accountable for crimes committed with ill-gotten weapons.
“I will fight to end the unique immunity that the gun makers and sellers have,” Clinton said.
For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the Reuters blog, “Tales from the Trail” (here)
Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Ken Wills