Clinton, Trump spar over gun control on backdrop of Orlando shooting

WASHINGTON, June 18 (KUNA) — The Orlando shooting, one of the worst mass shootings in US modern history, ignited a firestorm of accusations over the week between presumptive presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton regarding gun control and preventing another national tragedy.
Republican nominee Trump initiated the fiery rhetoric when he blasted Clinton for “her plan to disarm law abiding Americans, abolishing the Second Amendment (right to hold a gun), and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns.” He added, “She wants to take away America’s guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us.” Although the suspect of the shooting that killed 49 people, Omar Mateen, was born and raised in the US, Trump went on a scathing attack against Clinton’s “catastrophic immigration plan” that will bring “vastly more radical Islamic immigration.” The former Secretary of State responded the next day in New Hampshire that her rival did not maintain a “calm, collected, and dignified response” and that “even in a time of divided politics, this is way beyond anything that should be said by someone running for president.” She claimed his speech was full of “bizarre rants” and “outright lies.” Mateen was “born in Queens, New York, just like Donald was himself,” Clinton said.
“Muslim bans and immigration reform would not have stopped him. They would not have saved a single life in Orlando.” In a separate speech, Clinton called for “commonsense gun safety reform” in hopes of eliminating citizen’s access to assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns, like the AR-15 used in Orlando.
“We can’t fall into the trap set up by the gun lobby that says if you cannot stop every shooting you shouldn’t try to stop any,” she added.
Trump has maintained that he plans to meet with the influential gun lobbying group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), about preventing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no-fly list, to buy guns.
The Democratic White House responded to Trump’s plan, noting that President Barack Obama “does believe that the notion of preventing people who are on the no-fly list from buying a gun is a pretty common sense proposition,” said Spokesperson Josh Earnest to reporters.
Earnest added, “We certainly would welcome that kind of change if it materializes, because it would make the country safer.” Although this specific proposition was welcomed by Democrats, Trump’s comments against Muslims have caused his fellow Republicans in Congress to stray away from supporting his claims that both sides of the aisle have said to be misaligned with America’s values.
“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles,” Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a briefing.
Separately, when asked for a response to Trump’s Orlando speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “I’m not going to be commenting on the presidential candidates today.” If key congressional Republican leaders continue to disapprove of Trump’s anti-Muslim platforms, it could harm his campaign in the general election for president. (end) ak.gta