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Melanie Mason
June 3, 2016

Two standbys of Hillary Clinton’s stump speech — riffs on guns and national security — assumed added resonance in San Bernardino, the city that was shaken by a terrorist attack six months ago.

Speaking at CSU San Bernardino on Friday night, Clinton’s message was subtle but unmistakable: Here, these issues are personal.

“You here in this beautiful city know the horrors, the losses associated with gun violence are just unimaginable,” Clinton told about 1,000 attendees, as she vowed to “take on the gun lobby.”

Later, she added that residents “know so well here that the most important responsiblity of any president is to be the commander-in-chief.”

The rally took place around 10 miles from the Inland Regional Center, the site of the mass shooting in December, in which a radicalized husband and wife gunned down 14 people.

On both guns and national security, Clinton has often differentiated herself from her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders. Clinton has positioned herself to the left of Sanders on gun control and has leaned on her foreign policy experience, particularly as secretary of state, to make the case that she is better prepared to be president.

Julio Santos, a 26-year-old history teacher from San Bernardino, said before the event that he had hoped Clinton would address gun control in light of the shooting as well as this week’s murder-suicide on the UCLA campus.

“What happened at UCLA — it’s happening more often now. Something needs to be done,” he said.

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