Clinton: 'Guns...Will Not Make Americans Safer'

By Susan Jones | December 21, 2015 | 6:28am EST
Hillary Clinton says guns will not make Americans safer. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed guns for "delivering the violence that stalks us" at Saturday's Democrat debate.

"Guns, in and of themselves, in my opinion, will not make Americans safer. We lose 33,000 people a year already to gun violence, arming more people to do what I think is not the appropriate response to terrorism," Clinton said.

Debate moderator Martha Raddatz noted that Clinton, in the wake of the San Bernardino attack, repeated her call for gun control: "But our latest poll shows that more Americans believe arming people, not stricter gun laws, is the best defense against terrorism. Are they wrong?" Raddatz asked Clinton.

"Well, I think you have to look at both the terrorism challenge that we face abroad and certainly at home, and the role that guns play in delivering the violence that stalks us," Clinton replied.

"Clearly, we have to have a very specific set of actions to take. You know, when Senator Sanders talks about a coalition, I agree with him about that. We've got to build a coalition abroad. We also have to build a coalition at home. Abroad, we need a coalition that is going to take on ISIS. I know how hard that is. I know it isn't something you just hope people will do and I've worked on that--"

"Secretary Clinton, can we stick to gun control?" Raddatz interrupted.

"I'm getting to that," Clinton said. "Because I think if you only think about the coalition abroad you're missing the main point, which is we need a coalition here at home. Guns, in and of themselves, in my opinion, will not make Americans safer. We lose 33,000 people a year already to gun violence, arming more people to do what I think is not the appropriate response to terrorism."

Clinton said the right thing to do is to create "much deeper, closer relations and, yes, coalitions within our own country. The first line of defense against radicalization is in Muslim-American community. People who we should be welcoming and working with.

"I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations, that there is some kind of Western plot or even war against Islam, which then I believe fans the flames of radicalization.

"So guns have to be looked at as its own problem, but we also have to figure out how we're going to deal with the radicalization here in the United States."

Raddatz then turned to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), asking him if he would discourage people from buying a gun:

"It's a country in which people choose to buy guns," Sanders responded. "I think half of the -- more than half of the people in my own state of Vermont, my guess here in New Hampshire, are gun owners. That's the right of people.

"But this is what I do believe. I believe that when we have some 300 million guns in this country, I believe that when we have seen these horrific mass killings, not only in San Bernardino, but in Colorado and movie theaters in Colorado, I think we have got to bring together the vast majority of the people who do in fact believe in sensible gun safety regulations."

Sanders called for strengthening the instant background check to prevent gun purchases by criminals and the mentally unstable; and he also advocates universal background checks and keeping "weapons designed by the military" out of the hands of civilians.

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