Clinton vows tighter but ‘sensible’ gun rules

Most Americans, including most gun owners, would support reasonable limits on guns to help stop massacres like the one last week in Oregon, Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.

“I’m tired of people in public life saying, ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with families whose children are murdered at community colleges or elementary schools or people killed at Bible studies or going to the movies,’ ” the Democratic presidential candidate said. “We can’t tolerate that. This doesn’t just happen. … We let it happen.”

Her audience at Davenport’s RiverCenter applauded as Clinton vowed to make it harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to obtain them. Among other things, she favors broader background checks, including for sales at gun shows, and stronger measures to prevent gun purchases by domestic abusers or people with serious mental health problems.

“We keep getting stymied because of the lobby for a very small minority of gun owners and the gun manufacturers, which stand in the way,” she said.

Clinton has spoken throughout the campaign about her intention to implement tighter gun rules, despite pressure from the National Rifle Association. This week, she released specifics of her proposals.

“I feel like this is unfinished business in our country, and I am very determined that we are going to try to bring some sanity back, so that people’s Second Amendment rights are protected — but they are not absolute, the way the NRA wants them to be. There are common-sense ways to make sure people are not using guns to commit mass murders.”

Later Tuesday, speaking outside a bed and breakfast in Muscatine, Clinton alluded to comments former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made after the Oregon shooting at a community college.

“When one of the leading Republican candidates when asked about this, said, ‘Yeah, stuff happens,’ ” Clinton recounted, to groans from her audience. “No. That’s like an admission of fatalism and defeat. That’s not who we are as Americans.”

Clinton spent much of her time at both events responding to voter questions on topics ranging from Social Security to Islamic State to the economy. In Davenport, she spoke at length about her intention to protect gains from the Affordable Care Act, including insurance coverage for millions more Americans, and to address continuing problems in health care, such as huge price increases for medication.

Clinton singled out Iowa’s dominant health insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, for criticism. She panned Wellmark’s near monopoly in Iowa, and noted that it recently gained approval for premium increases of 18% to 28%. “That is a lack of competition,” she said.

Wellmark spokeswoman Traci McBee responded in an email to the Register that Wellmark’s rate increases were legitimate.

“Rate increases in Iowa are designed to cover the increased cost of care as well as required fees and administration expenses. Nothing more,” McBee wrote. “In fact, the Affordable Care Act protects consumers from unnecessary increases in premiums and prevents health insurance companies from using rates to make up for past losses or excessive profits.”

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