Hillary Clinton: Responsible gun owners need to form 'rival organization' against NRA
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews on Jan. 5, 2016. (MSNBC)

The Democratic frontrunner said there ‘needs to be a rival organization to the NRA’ hours after Barack Obama’s statement on tighter gun control

Hillary Clinton urged moderate gun owners to band together against the National Rifle Association during an MSNBC interview on Tuesday after Barack Obama’s morning statement on tighter gun control.

“There needs to be a rival organization to the NRA of responsible gun owners who know that their hunting rights, their shooting rights, their collection rights ... all of that is not going to be affected,” Clinton said Tuesday in a pre-recorded interview with MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews during campaign stops in Iowa. “So I’m going to keep beating the drum, and I’m delighted that the president announced the actions he did today.”

Clinton recalled an exchange with a gun-owner at a campaign event on Tuesday. She said a man wearing a veterans cap told her after an event in Osage, Iowa, that he was a gun owner who had no problem with the government acting to keep guns out of dangerous hands.

“He asked me, ‘What can I do?’,” Clinton said. “I said, ‘Well, please stand up against the NRA and the gun lobby, and please talk to your friends. Because what we are proposing is consistent with constitutional rights’.”

Just hours prior, the president delivered a tearful call for gun control as he outlined new rules to close loopholes on background checks and tighten the enforcement of existing measures. The NRA said the president’s actions were “ripe for abuse” while the Republican presidential candidates, who have universally pledged to overturn Obama’s executive orders if elected, were quick to denounce the statement.

In contrast, senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont called gun violence in America a “moral outrage” and promised to continue Obama’s actions if elected president.

Clinton has embraced gun safety in her stump speeches, championing it as a defining issue of her campaign. In the Democratic primaries, guns are a rare issue in which Clinton can position herself to the left of Sanders, her main challenger and progressive rival.

“I’ve just met so many people, from Columbine to Sandy Hook,” she said. “I just can’t remain silent.”

Clinton was also pressed on whether comments by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump that she doesn’t have the “stamina” to run for president were sexist. Clinton stuck to her New Year resolution and did not say anything about Trump.

She did, however, indirectly reject Trump’s proposed prohibition on Muslims entering the US while trying to tie other Republicans in the field to his controversial rhetoric.

“When I hear what’s coming from the other side, and it’s not just one person, there’s an echo chamber there,” she said. “And we should not reward people who use inflammatory rhetoric, who use the kind of derogatory comments, whether it’s about Muslims, or Mexicans, or women, or people with disabilities.”

“That is not a sign of leadership,” she added. “That’s a sign of, you know, showmanship, of desperation, that should be rejected roundly by the American people.”

Asked where she drew the inspiration to run, Clinton said it was the words of a young female athlete during an event in New York City promoting women in athletics.

“She leaned over, leaned over me and she said, ‘Dare to compete, Mrs Clinton. Dare to compete,’” Clinton said. “And I thought, wow. You know, I have encouraged so many women and girls to compete, on the athletic field, in academics, in politics, in business, and I’m being asked to compete.”

Watch the interview, as aired on Tuesday, below.