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Hillary Clinton wants "common sense" gun reforms. Can she change the law?

Throughout the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton has tried to use the gun issue to differentiate herself from Bernie Sanders. She went after him for his support of what she called the "Charleston loophole" and his vote to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits. Clinton has called for both "common sense" gun reforms and "a national movement" to reduce the plethora of guns available in America.  

But are her ideas possible? We took a look at her policy plans and her past views:

What is Hillary Clinton's plan to stop gun violence?

Her plan includes several proposals:

Has her position shifted throughout her political career?

Not really.

As First Lady, Clinton supported the 1993 Brady Bill, which imposed background checks on those attempting to purchase guns. Towards the end of her husband's presidency, she also called on Congress to "buck the gun lobby" and pass gun control legislation in the aftermath of the Columbine school shooting.

When she ran for re-election to the Senate in 2006, the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave Clinton a grade of "F."

However, during her 2008 run for the White House, she aligned herself more with gun owners. "While the men often talked about hunting trips or pose in camouflage, Mrs. Clinton shared her memories of learning to shoot a gun when she was a child," noted the Wall Street Journal. But the NRA's Wayne LaPierre called on his organization's members to vote against Clinton in that election: "To the prospect of Hillary ever occupying the White House again – this time, not as the ever-influential wife of the most anti-gun president in American history, but as president in her own right, bent on outdoing Bill Clinton's gun ban legacy, we say, 'Never again!'"

What are the chances her proposals become law?

The makeup of Congress would probably have to change for any of Clinton’s proposed policies to become law. When the Manchin-Toomey amendment -- proposed in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy -- failed to advance in the Senate, Democrats held an eight-seat advantage over Republicans. Now Republicans hold a ten-seat advantage. Republicans have held a 33+ seat majority in the House during this entire time.

If Congress does not move on guns, whoever becomes president could use executive authority to force action. In fact, should she win the presidency, Clinton will rely "on the executive power of the presidency to further gun restrictions that would have little chance of becoming law" in Congress, the Washington Post reported. In an emotional speech at the beginning of the year, President Obama  used executive action to require anyone “in the business of selling firearms” to obtain a federal license and conduct background checks of potential buyers. 


This is part of an ongoing look at policy proposals of the remaining presidential candidates. 

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