Hillary Clinton's views on gun control, gay marriage draw criticism

In this Oct. 13, 2015, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

Recently, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s views on gun control and gay marriage have faced criticism from conservatives and liberals alike.

In regards to gun control, Clinton is too liberal for conservatives. On LGBT rights, while Clinton does differ from Republicans in her support for issues like gay marriage, the consistency of her record has been questioned by Democrats.

The NRA immediately noticed that in a New Hampshire town hall meeting on Friday, Oct. 16, Clinton said Australia’s gun buyback initiative was “worth looking at.”

“This validates what the NRA has said all along. The real goal of gun control supporters is gun confiscation. Hillary Clinton, echoing President Obama's recent remarks on the same issue, made that very clear,” Chris Cox, executive director of The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action said, in a press release specifically about Clinton’s comments.

“I don’t know enough details to tell you how we would do it… but certainly the Australia example is worth looking at,” Clinton said at the town hall. “The Australian government, as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of automatic weapons, offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns.”

Australia’s gun buyback program collected 650,000 guns in 1996 after mass shootings shook the country. Since that year, Australia has had zero mass shootings.

In a June article, The Washington Post pointed out that America is “unusually violent” compared to other countries.

In the midst of a slew of school shootings, so many that last week the University of Connecticut held a campus safety conference discussing violence, Clinton’s tentative comments have created a firestorm. Her remarks are also politically calculated in an attempt to hammer primary opponent Bernie Sanders over his supposed weakness regarding his more tepid gun control policies.

Megan Handau, 3rd-semester political science and women’s gender and sexuality studies double major, and the president of UConn Students for Hillary Clinton, is supportive of Clinton’s gun control comments.

“I believe Secretary Clinton's opinion on stricter gun laws is for the betterment of the nation,” Handau said. “In other nations where guns are completely outlawed to citizens or controlled, gun violence is greatly decreased. Given that people our age are some of the most vulnerable victims to these crimes, I think we should support someone who would fight for protection against this completely preventable violence.”

When it comes to LGBT rights, though, Handau’s support for Clinton comes with a qualification.

“As for her change of opinion on gay marriage, she has admitted that she should have supported it sooner,” Handau said. “I agree with that, however as it applies to her presidency, we know that she will now fight for these citizens. Also, she has long fought for minority rights as members of the women's rights and civil rights movement, so we know that she is effective in these endeavors.”

Handau’s comments bring up Clinton’s now infamous quote in 2004, when she made a speech in support of “traditional” marriage.

“The fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman…as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization…its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults,” Clinton said at the time.

Since then, Clinton’s tune has changed, as she is now a full a supporter of LGBT rights. An email that surfaced from when Clinton was Secretary of State, though, has her evolution on the issue back in the spotlight.

In 2010, the State Department altered U.S. passport application forms to reflect the reality of modern same-sex marriage. Rather than having “Mother” and “Father,” the forms were changed to read “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.” Clinton was angry about the change, and said so in an email to the State Department.

“Who made the decision that State will not use the terms ‘mother and father’ and instead substitute ‘parent one and parent two’? I’m not defending that decision, which I disagree with and knew nothing about, in front of Congress,” the email read.

The State Department subsequently reversed the alteration.


Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sten.spinella@uconn.edu.