— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 13, 2016
Sounds like Donald Trump will definitely have something new to talk about in his big anti-Hillary Clinton speech Monday night, because this afternoon she called for a ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle used in Saturday’s deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the weapon a 1960s Pentagon study praised for its ability to decapitate and dismember. Clinton delivered remarks in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday that tied together seemingly separate calls for preventing known and suspected terrorists from obtaining legal weapons, to arguments against the legal sale and possession of “weapons of war” like the AR-15 (which was also used at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 against 20 6- and 7-year-old school children).
“Some will say that assault weapons and background checks are totally separate issues having nothing to do with terrorism,” Clinton told the crowd. “In Orlando and San Bernardino, terrorists used assault weapons, the AR-15, and they used it to kill Americans. That was the same assault weapon used to kill those little children in Sandy Hook. We have to make it harder for people who should not have those weapons of war, and that may not stop every shooting or every terrorist attack. But it will stop some and it will save lives.”
The former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State’s remarks in Cleveland weren’t the first time she called the AR-15 a “weapon of war.” During an early morning interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Clinton repeatedly referred to Orlando shooting suspect Omar Mateen’s weapon of choice as a “weapon of war,” and called for “common sense gun safety reform across our country [that] would make a difference.” Much like the 10-year Federal Assault Weapons Ban her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed into law in 1994, but wasn’t renewed by President George W. Bush in 2004.
“We can’t fall into the trap that is set up by the gun lobby that says if you can’t stop every shooting in every incident you should not try to stop any. We did have an assault weapons ban for ten years. I think it should be reinstated.”
Clinton also began using “radical Islamism” and similar terms to describe Mateen’s alleged religious fanaticism. She even used these particular words and phrasings to connect Orlando to San Bernardino and similar incidents in America and around the world, much in the same way her insistence on banning “weapons of war” connected terrorism with the ongoing debates about background checks and the Second Amendment.
“It matters what we do more than what we say,” she said when asked about her word choice by Cuomo. “It mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him. I have clearly said we… Whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.” She also defended President Barack Obama, who called Orlando’s mass shooting “an act of terror and hate,” against criticism of his apparent refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” in public.
Hours later in Cleveland, however, Clinton took a much stronger anti-terrorism stance when she prefaced her remark, “we should all be able to agree on a few essential things”:
“If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked. And you shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show. And yes, if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun in America.”
She didn’t repeat her prior use of “radical jihadism” and “radical Islamism” from her CNN interview, but her stance proved far more aggressive than previous statements. Meanwhile, her official Twitter account took a different approach not long after the speech had been televised: