Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley on Sunday urged his rival democrats Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to support proposals aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States, including, among other measures, a ban on sale of combat assault weapons and rules that made gun trafficking a federal crime. O’Malley’s comments, during a campaign in New Hampshire, come just days after a shooting at an Oregon community college killed nine people.
“What I really want to talk with you about tonight is the sickness in our country of gun violence,” O’Malley said. “We heard the outpouring of thoughts, and we heard the outpouring of prayers and the same promises from a lot of our elected officials that this time it will be different -- But no specific prescriptions for how we will fight this sickness.”
It doesn't matter who you support in this race—meaningful gun reform is something we should all fight for. pic.twitter.com/yrkKrl4gk8
— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) October 5, 2015
The former Maryland governor has spoken out frequently in favor of tougher gun controls, particularly since nine people were shot dead at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. O’Malley’s latest comments can be seen as an attempt to gain traction in a race where he is currently lagging behind Clinton -- who is due to announce her proposals to expand gun controls Monday -- and Sanders -- who hails from a state with virtually no gun controls and a large number of gun owners.
“I have put out a specific roadmap for how we get there. Among those things, number one, a ban on the sale of combat assault weapons. Two, a requirement that every person who purchases a gun gets a license and is fingerprinted so that law enforcement will be able to quickly trace any gun used in a crime back to its source. Three, using the full power of the federal government,” O’Malley said. “Four, we need to make illegal gun trafficking a federal crime.”
In the aftermath of the Oregon shooting, Clinton and Sanders too have sought to clarify their positions on gun controls. While Sanders called for closing the “gun show loopholes” during a rally in Boston Saturday, Clinton is expected to push for expanded gun controls in her upcoming proposals.
Clinton is reportedly expected to seek extended background checks on weapons purchases to close the so-called “Charleston loophole” -- which allows even people with a federal criminal record to purchase a gun. Clinton will unveil her plan, just three days after pledging to take on the National Rifle Association.
“Here’s what the other side counts on,” Clinton reportedly said Friday, addressing a rally in Florida. “They count on really having an intense, dedicated group that scare politicians and say, ‘We will vote against you.’”