During a face-to-face interview with AARP in August, Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was asked 13 policy questions, one of which was about terrorism. Clinton responded by explaining her position that terrorism is actually just a component of a broader violence issue in this country and to combat it she is looking to push for more gun control.
“Well, these are legitimate fears. I believe that people are rightly concerned about violence. Terrorism is part of that violence, and we have to do the best job we can to keep America safe” said Clinton.
“I’m looking at violence broadly.…” she continued. “It’s also why I’ve advocated gun-safety reform, like comprehensive background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, closing the online loophole—because, you know, it’s not only terrorists we need to be worried about. Terrorism is part of it, but gun violence kills 33,000 Americans a year…We’ve got to get serious about stemming violence and terrorism in every way we can.”
Clinton’s response glossed over recent terror threats the nation has been facing, such as the Chelsea bombing, the Boston bombing, or the Minnesota knife attack we saw at a mall just last week. Furthermore, the stats Clinton referenced in her statement regarding gun violence is skewed. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) the number of homicides involving guns is closer to 11,000 annually, with the remainder of gun deaths caused by suicide or accidents not “violence” inflicted by another individual.
Though Clinton ensured that she planned on fighting terrorists by “going after them where they operate, doing everything we can to take away their territories so they can’t mastermind attacks from afar” and said that we “have to go after them online because that is where they recruit, radicalize and direct attacks,” the only policy implementation she addressed was more gun control.
Republican candidate Donald Trump was also asked the same series of questions by AARP but responded in written form, not face-to-face with the organization. Trump’s response to how he would address terrorism was the following:
“The only way to truly defeat Islamic terrorism is to call it by its name and identify it as a military and ideological foe. The U.S. will cease processing visas or admitting refugees from regions of the world where proper vetting cannot occur and which are at a high risk for terrorism.
We will also resume ideological screening to prevent entry into the United States by those who do not share our values, as was regularly done during the Cold War.
Overseas, we will militarily target and destroy ISIS, al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorists through overwhelming force and by cooperating with regional and international allies who share our goals. Here at home, we will catch, stop and punish lone-wolf terrorists like the Orlando shooter who murdered 49 innocent people.”
Contrary to Clinton’s gun-control standpoint, Donald Trump has also been outspoken arguing that banning guns doesn’t deter terrorists or criminals set on committing acts of violence.