Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton explicitly stated her plans to "shut down" the National Rifle Association and expressed hope at banning handguns in an interview with The Des Moines Register last summer. At least, that’s according to a viral image that first cropped up on an anti-Clinton Tumblr blog and has been shared widely on Facebook.
"I will get the NRA shut down for good if I become president. If we can ban handguns, we will do it," the post quotes Clinton as telling the Register on Aug. 8, 2015.
But here’s the thing: The quote is wholly fabricated. Clinton was never quoted in the Register making that statement, and it appears she has not made such a statement anywhere else.
Clinton campaigned heavily in Iowa throughout the summer and fall of 2015, and Register reporters and the paper’s editorial board interviewed her several times. But she was not in Iowa on Aug. 8, when she allegedly made the statement. Clinton’s first visit to Iowa in the month of August occurred on Aug. 14, followed by public events on Aug. 15 and Aug. 26.
A review of the Register’s archives show Clinton was neither interviewed nor quoted directly on Aug. 8 or in the days immediately following.
Clinton did make several statements regarding gun control on the Iowa campaign trail that were covered by the Register. In all of them, she laid out an agenda that calls for broader background-check requirements, including sales at gun shows, as well as stronger measures to prevent gun purchases by domestic abusers and people with serious mental health problems.
"I'm going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better than that," Clinton said in Iowa in July. "A majority of Americans and a majority of gun owners agree with universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who are mentally unstable and even terrorists."
On Aug. 26 in Ankeny, she responded to the on-air murders of a news crew in Virginia:
"We've got to do something. It's a very difficult political issue. But we are smart enough, compassionate enough to balance legitimate Second Amendment rights concerns with preventive measures and control measures, so whatever motivated this murderer ... we will not see more needless, senseless deaths," she said.
She went on, "If guns weren't so readily available, if we had universal background checks, if we could put some time out between the person who got fired, or domestic abuse, or whatever other motivation ... maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage."
On Oct. 6, she described her views again, in response to a mass shooting in Oregon: "I feel like this is unfinished business in our country, and I am very determined that we are going to try to bring some sanity back, so that people's Second Amendment rights are protected — but they are not absolute, the way the NRA wants them to be," Clinton said at an event in Davenport. "There are common-sense ways to make sure people are not using guns to commit mass murders."
Gun control came up again at an event in Sioux City on Dec. 4, after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. At that time, she expressed support for banning gun sales to people on federal "no-fly" lists.
"I think we've got to be more willing to start imposing these kinds of gun-safety measures," Clinton said. "I'm certainly going to continue advocating for them."
Internet searches for the quote found on the image refer only to the image itself — not to any original reporting from the Des Moines Register, another news outlet or to raw audio or video. Evidence of the quote does not appear to exist beyond what was originally posted on Tumblr.
A post spread via social media quotes Clinton as telling The Des Moines Register, "I will get the NRA shut down for good if I become president. If we can ban handguns, we will do it."
Clinton was quoted in The Des Moines Register several times about gun control in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses, but she did not say what the post accuses her of saying. Clinton has not advocated for shutting down the NRA or banning handguns outright.
The claim is entirely fabricated. We rate this statement Pants on Fire!