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Clinton outlines tougher gun control proposal, calls for 'universal' background checks

By Doug G. Ware
Clinton outlines tougher gun control proposal, calls for 'universal' background checks
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Monday detailed her proposal to tighten gun control measures in the United States, which includes "universal" background checks and a regimen of other changes intended to keep firearms out of criminals' hands. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

MANCHESTER, N.H., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Four days after a gunman killed nine people at an Oregon college, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton outlined her proposal for tougher restrictions on gun ownership in the United States -- that mandates universal background checks she says "will work" in keeping dangerous individuals from obtaining deadly weapons.

After the shootings Thursday, President Barack Obama again noted his desire for a stricter spate of security checks for those who buy guns. Monday, Clinton echoed those sentiments by detailing her plan to keep guns out of criminals' hands.

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"Enough," Clinton said at a town hall in Hollis, N.H. "We need universal background checks. We know that they will work. I'm determined to do something about it."

The former State Department chief said her vision doesn't target law-abiding gun owners as much as it does dangerous people who plan to commit crimes with firearms. In August, Clinton expressed frustration that mass shootings continue in the United States but no changes are instituted at the legislative level to respond.

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"I don't know how we keep seeing shooting after shooting, read about the people murdered because they went to Bible study or they went to the movies or they were just doing their job, and not finally say we've got to do something about this," she said Aug. 27, noting the deadly shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., two months earlier.

Clinton's plan calls for updating laws requiring background checks to account for those who purchase firearms via the Internet or at gun shows.

Long a highly-divisive issue politically, gun control has largely remained the same for years. A bipartisan plan to tighten background checks was raised in Congress following the deaths of 20 first-grade children in Newtown, Conn., but it stalled.

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"So many of the parents of these precious children who were murdered have taken the unimaginable grief that they have been burying and have tried to be the voices that we need to hear," a visibly emotional Clinton said at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire Monday as she introduced a mother of one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. "I want you to introduce yourself and maybe talk about what you and other parents are trying to do to get the changes that are necessary."

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One reason new gun controls are unlikely, observers say, is because Republicans control both houses of Congress.

Clinton's plan would also shut a loophole that allows a gun sale to complete if a background isn't completed within three days. Dylann Roof, the suspect in the Charleston church shooting, was able to purchase a firearm owing to this stipulation -- despite the fact he had a federal criminal record that, if detected, would have prevented him from obtaining the weapon.

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Another major provision of Clinton's plan would seek to prevent all domestic abusers from owning firearms -- to cover those in dating relationships and convicted stalkers, in addition to abusive spouses. Clinton would also repeal a law that prevents victims of gun violence from seeking restitution from negligent gun dealers and manufacturers.

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