New York, NY – Hillary Clinton, on Thursday night failed to defend her statement that the state of Vermont was responsible for New York gun violence, after fact-checks revealed only 55 guns were linked to Vermont in 2014.
In a Democratic debate, held in Brooklyn, NY that saw increased hostility between the former Secretary of State and her opponent, native New Yorker, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton was asked repeatedly why she had skewed the facts in a statement made earlier in the week.
Wolf Blitzer, moderator asked Clinton, “Why did you put out that statement blaming Vermont and its gun policy for some of the deaths by guns in New York?”
Clinton dodged the Vermont targeted statement and without dialing it back gave a blanket statement.
“The facts are that most of the guns that wind up committing crimes in New York come from out of state. They come from the states that don’t have the kind of serious efforts to control guns that we do in New York,” Clinton said.
Guns traced to the state of Vermont accounted for only 1 percent of the more than 7,600 firearms recovered in New York. The greatest number of firearms (1,397) traced to a single state, belonged to New York. – Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (2014)
Even the response by Clinton was absent the big picture. The majority of guns in totality, when adding up all firearms traced to other states would support her answer to Blitzer’s question, but Vermont barely factored in the equation.
The entire truth revealed in the ATF report showed guns traced to the state of New York accounted for the highest single state contribution of those recovered and successfully traced.
Clinton’s strategy, to portray the Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont as a gun-wielding, National Rifle Association friendly legislator backfired during the debate when Sanders revealed that he has a “D-“ NRA rating, rating that he has historically embraced.
“Here’s what I want you to know,” Clinton said, addressing the panel on gun violence earlier in the week. “Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state. And the state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont.”
In examining the statement, one need only look at its lede, “Here’s what I want you to know.”
According to the Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms, 7,686 firearms were recovered in the state of New York in 2014, with 4,585 successfully traced.Only 55 firearms linked to crime came from the state of Vermont, with the state one of the lowest-level contributors at 13 out of 15.
The highest contributing source of guns was actually the Empire State, itself at 1,397 firearms traced.
Preying on the emotions of the panel and those in the room, Clinton delivered her message that the rural New England state of Vermont, a state that relies heavily on tourism for its revenue stream, with a total population estimated at 626,000 (U.S. Census) had the highest per capita number of guns linked to crime in New York.
The former First Lady’s presentation insinuated that Vermont was a high level contributor to New York’s gun problem. And although her per capita statement was true, the overall rhetoric and message were far from the truth.
On Thursday, she refused to account for her statement.
The presidential candidate also failed to reveal to the initial gathering, including family members and victims of violent crime, that their home state was actually the highest-level contributor, instead creating a smokescreen based on incomplete information in order to gain their votes.
Guns traced to the state of Vermont accounted for only 1 percent of the more than 7,600 firearms recovered in New York. The greatest number of firearms (1,397) traced to a single state, belonged to New York.
In the debate, Clinton also portrayed Vermont as having lax gun control standards that need to be brought in line.
The state of Vermont had only with 161 crime-related firearms recovered with a total of 104 weapons traced.
The former Secretary of State in her debate strategy also played on raw emotions and tragedy – blaming her opponent in a vicious attack – for the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that occurred in Connecticut, as though his “D-“ NRA rating somehow was a contributor to the senseless killings.
In closing, Clinton drew again on New Yorker’s emotions, calling their attention to her service as U.S. Senator to New York and support during and after the 9-11 attacks.