FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — In a campaign appearance Thursday in Hartford on stemming gun violence, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton was joined by relatives of two Sandy Hook victims.
Clinton spoke about her commitment to commonsense gun laws, citing the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Gov. Dannel Malloy's efforts for gun law reform.
"I know how hard it was to do what Connecticut's governor and legislature did after Sandy Hook, so I am not here to make promises I can't keep," Clinton told the crowd — and Malloy — who were assembled at at the Wilson-Gray YMCA. "I am here to tell you I will use every single minute of every day ... looking for ways that we can save lives, that we can change the gun culture."
Te family members also spoke, sharing personal stories of their losses to gun violence:
- Erica Smegielski, daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who was killed in the shooting in Newtown;
- Kim Washington, an educator at Hamden High School who lost multiple students to gun violence and founded the New Haven chapter of Moms Demand Action;
- Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 along with six educators and 19 fellow first-graders;
- Deborah Davis, who lost her 20-year-old son, Phillip, to gun violence in 2010 when he was shot by a friend; and
- Iran Nazario, who lost his brother to gun violence and founded Compass Peace Builders, which helps at-risk youth avoid becoming perpetrators or victims of gun violence.
The panelists also talked about their advocacy work for gun safety reforms, and Clinton shared her stance on the issue.
"I’m advocating for comprehensive background checks, closing every one of the loopholes – the gun show loophole, the online loophole, what’s called the Charleston loophole," Clinton said. "Under the gun laws, you are entitled to get the gun you want to buy after three days whether or not the background check is completed."
Clinton said that on average, 90 people a day die from gun violence, or 33,000 people a year.
"It is just too easy for people to reach for a gun to settle their problems. It makes no sense," she said. "And we can do this consistent with the Second Amendment. We can do this with the support of responsible gun owners."
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