Hillary Clinton discusses gun violence during campaign stop - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hillary Clinton discusses gun violence during campaign stop

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton discusses gun violence. (WFSB) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton discusses gun violence. (WFSB)
Clinton supporters line up for event in Hartford. (WFSB) Clinton supporters line up for event in Hartford. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited Hartford on Thursday ahead of the state's primary on Tuesday.

Her message is specific as she pushed for stiffer gun control measures. Clinton said she wants to keep the weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

"I am not hear to make promises I can't keep. I am here to tell you that I will use every single minute of every single day if I'm fortunate enough to be President looking for ways that we can save lives," Clinton said on Thursday.

Clinton spoke with victims of gun violence and hundreds of supporters at the Wilson-Gray YMCA on Albany Avenue around 11:30 a.m. She was joined inside by some of the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims. 

Clinton has been vocal about gun control and pushing for thorough background checks in addition to calling out manufacturers and gun dealers. 

"The leading cause of death for young African American men more than next to the nine causes combined is gun violence," Clinton said. "It is just too easy for people to reach for a gun to solve their problems. It makes no sense and we can do this consistent with the second amendment, and with the support of responsible gun owners."

Police estimated there were 600 people inside the event while more than 300 were outside the Wilson-Gray YMCA. 

"Gun violence knows no bounds. I learned that the hard way," Erica Smegielski, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Since then, she has been an advocate for "common sense gun laws."

On Thursday, she spoke out alongside Clinton.

"Blame the victims, blame the victims mother, blame the victims family, blame the victims neighborhood. We need someone to blame instead of just saying we have too many guns in the wrong hands," Clinton said.

She praised the bipartisan gun control legislation passed in Connecticut after the Newtown massacre, as a model for the nation.

Her own daughter, Chelsea Clinton, began campaigning for mother yesterday, speaking broadly about why her mother should win the Democratic nomination but also focusing on guns.

"I didn't know I could care more about gun control until I became a mom and gun control is one of those issues that does feel more deeply personal," Chelsea Clinton said Wednesday. "I couldn't imagine what the Sandy Hook families confront everyday."

Crowds formed on Thursday morning ahead of her speech. 

Clinton is the lead among Connecticut Democratic primary voters in the latest edition of the Quinnipiac University Poll. She has a 9-point lead over Sanders.   

Hillary Clinton is expected to visit Bridgeport on Sunday, sources told Eyewitness News. The time and location for the weekend event was not released on Thursday. 

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