Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is in the eye of storm after he appeared to have suggested gun rights activists to stop rival Hillary Clinton from being elected, also seen by many as an apparent provocation to 'assassinate' the Democrat nominee.
Speaking at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, the Republican nominee said his general election opponent wants to “abolish, essentially, the Second Amendment.”
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The second amendment to the constitution protects the right of Americans to bear arms. Trump has accused his Democratic rival of wanting to abolish it, a charge that she denies.
Clinton's campaign called the remark "dangerous."
"A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” it said.
When asked to clarify what Trump meant, his campaign said Trump was referring to getting supporters of the Second Amendment to rally votes for Trump in the election.
"It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power," the Trump campaign statement said.
Catherine Milhoan, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, said, “We are aware of his comments.” She declined to answer any additional questions about Trump’s remarks. The Second Amendment provides a constitutional right to citizens to own firearms. Clinton supports some new restrictions on gun ownership, but does not advocate overturning the amendment.
The GOP candidate’s distortion of Clinton’s position on the Second Amendment and his comments Tuesday prove “how dangerous Trump really is,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“What Donald Trump said today is repulsive, literally using the Second Amendment as cover to encourage people to kill someone with whom they disagree,” said Gross, whose group is named for James Brady, a White House press secretary wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
A spokeswoman for the US Secret Service said it was "aware of Mr Trump's comments".
He said that right would be adversely affected by liberal judges appointed to the US Supreme Court if Mrs Clinton reaches the White House.
Trump’s remarks immediately set off a firestorm of criticism on social media and threatened to upstage discussion of his economic policy speech the day before and his swing through the key battleground state of North Carolina. Connecticut Sen.
Chris Murphy, a Democrat and a leading advocate for stronger gun safety laws, called Trump’s comments “disgusting and embarrassing and sad.” “This isn’t play,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you, @realDonaldTrump.”