Clinton talks gun violence at Milwaukee event

Posted at 2:13 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 15:13:50-04

MILWAUKEE -- Hillary Clinton on Tuesday told Milwaukee voters to make gun violence a top issue in this year’s presidential election.

Speaking at a forum on gun violence inside the Tabernacle Community Baptist Church, Clinton said that gun crimes claim the lives of 33,000 Americans each year.

“If a disease were killing 33,000 Americans a year, we'd come together and say, ‘how do we deal with this and how do we save lives?’” Clinton said to applause.

The former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State also said that the bulk of gun violence occurs in poor areas of inner cities where residents have “no hope” and systemic racism still exists.

“This needs to be a voting issue,” Clinton said. “Not issue number 20 on the list, but issue number one on the list. Especially in zip codes like this one.”

Denise Johnson-Sherard, who attended Tuesday’s forum and said she identifies as an undecided Democrat, said she hopes the next President will make it a priority to crack down on gun crimes.

Johnson-Sherard said gun violence is an issue that resonates with the people of Milwaukee.

“It’s a huge issue, to the point where elderly people, older people, you’re almost afraid to come out of your house,” she said.

Clinton on Tuesday called for expanding background checks on gun purchases and closing the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” in which a gun can be sold to someone without a background check if that check is not performed in a timely manner.

“I think if we stop any of the killings by changing the laws, that’s a big step forward,” Clinton said.

Clinton also said gun manufacturers and retailers must be more accountable for crimes committed by firearms traced back to them. Clinton told voters she and rival Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, disagree on that issue.

“Gun makers and sellers are immune from liability because of a law that I voted against, that President Obama voted against, but that my opponent voted for,” she said of Sanders. “Because of that law, you can’t hold these gun manufacturers and sellers liable.”

Johnson-Sherard said all of Clinton’s proposals sound good. But she said she wants results.

“It’s good to say those things, but you have to see action right away in those areas,” Johnson-Sherard said.