MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Hillary Clinton issued a fresh plea for stricter gun control Thursday after a mass shooting in Southern California, saying no parent should have to worry about being killed at a holiday party.
"I don't believe we can stop every incident of gun violence but we can stop a lot of them," said Clinton, speaking at a Women's Economic Opportunity Summit at Southern New Hampshire University. "We need to take action now."
Clinton appeared in the early primary state a day after a couple killed 14 people at a holiday banquet in San Bernardino. She pressed Congress to pass legislation prohibiting individuals on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's no-fly terror watch list from purchasing guns.
"If you are too dangerous to fly in America, you are too dangerous to buy a gun," she said.
Though House Republicans have said they do not plan to aggressively pursue new gun legislation, Clinton said there was no legitimate rationale for not banning those on the no-fly list from buying guns.
"There should be no debate. We are not violating anyone's rights. We are trying to protect our fellow Americans — people like you and me who went to a holiday party," she later at a town hall meeting in Dover. "People like us who went to the movies or dropped our kids off at school or went to church. We are better than this."
Investigators are trying to determine whether the rampage was terrorism, a workplace grudge or some combination.
"It's becoming clearer that we are dealing with an act of terrorism," Clinton said. "It does raise some serious questions about how we need to be protecting ourselves."
Clinton also stressed that she wanted people to "feel safe" but urged them not to vilify Muslims as a result of the attack.
"It's important to remember the vast majority of Muslim Americans are just as concerned and heartbroken about this as anyone else," said Clinton. "No matter what motivation these killers, these murderers had, we can say, one thing for certain: They should not have been able to do this."
Though gun control did not even merit a mention in Clinton's campaign kickoff speech last April, the issue has become a central cause of her presidential bid in recent months after a series of mass shootings. She nearly always mentions it in her stump speech, occasionally features families of victims in her events and even released an ad focused solely on the topic.
Promising to go further than President Barack Obama, Clinton has vowed to use executive power to expand background checks for sellers at gun shows and online. Clinton also backs congressional efforts to stop retailers from selling guns to people with incomplete background checks — as happened before Charleston, South Carolina, shooter Dylann Roof bought his gun — and to ban domestic abusers from purchasing guns. And she's proposed repealing legislation that shields gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers from most liability suits, even in the case of mass shootings.
Clinton also lent her support to a decision announced Thursday by Defense Secretary Ash Carter opening all combat jobs to women. The move overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule forbidding women from front-line positions.
"We've seen women in our armed forces prove their heroism," said Clinton. "Women who are qualified for these positions should be able to keep and win them."