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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Orlando attack pushes gun control and terrorism into forefront of presidential campaign



WASHINGTON - The Orlando massacre thrusts the contentious debate over gun control into the election season and into Florida, a state that will likely decide the winner of the presidential race and where firearm regulations are already controversial.

But demands for a swift political response in Tallahassee and Washington were met with equally pitched alarm over the attacker's ties to terrorism, and as Sunday wore on, familiar and conflicting stances emerged between Democrats and Republicans.

"This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets," presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said Sunday.

Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, pressed for a aggressive approach to fighting terrorism and redoubled his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. His response feeds into a view that he says what many people think but will not say, that Muslims are dangerous and politically correct responses don't keep us safe.

"When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?" Trump posted on Twitter. "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!"

A day earlier in Tampa, Trump criticized Clinton on guns and advocated for arming people in order to fight back against mass shooters. "Let the bullets go in the other direction," he said, forming his hand as if he were holding a gun. "BOOM. BOOM. BOOM."

That dynamic - calls for new laws versus an all-out war on terror - will intensify in the coming days, reviving the discussion that followed the last mass shooting, in San Bernardino, Calif., in December.

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[Last modified: Sunday, June 12, 2016 8:11pm]


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