WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) — The mothers of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis — two black teens both gunned down in Florida — have announced their support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Sybrina Fulton — Martin’s mother — wrote an op-ed for CNN last week, citing Clinton’s stances on gun control.
“She has called for key reforms — from better training for officers to eliminating racial profiling and investing in body cameras for every police department,” Fulton wrote. “She sees what I see: a criminal justice system that is not always just. A system that has contributed to creating a reality where just selling cigarettes, playing loud music, looking at a cop the wrong way or walking home from the store are now activities that can get you killed.”
Fulton’s son was fatally shot in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman had called 911 and reported Martin for suspicious behavior. In an altercation with Zimmerman, Martin was shot in the chest. A jury acquitted Zimmerman of second degree murder and manslaughter the following year.
Lucia McBath’s son, Jordan Davis, was also killed in 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla. Davis was confronted in a gas station parking lot by Michael Dunn, who complained that the teen and his friends were listening to their music too loudly. After an argument, Dunn returned to his car to retrieve a handgun and fired 10 rounds into the car, killing Davis. Dunn was later sentenced to life in prison.
McBath took a sharper tone than Fulton in an op-ed for BET published Tuesday.
After praising Clinton for her plans to close the “Charleston loophole” — a background check loophole that allows someone to purchase a gun if their background check is not completed within three days — she took aim at Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.
“Unfortunately the same cannot be said of any of the other GOP candidates who are in lock step with the NRA. It also cannot be said of Senator Sanders,” McBath wrote. “He voted against the Brady Bill five times. He also voted for [the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act], the law that gives gun manufacturers and dealers immunity, not once, but twice, and he continues to say that his vote wasn’t a mistake; that ‘it’s complicated.'”
Clinton has been making an aggressive play to position herself to the left of Sanders when it comes to gun control. She has repeatedly slammed Sanders over his 2005 vote for PLCAA, which Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama voted against. The bill allows for immunity from prosecution for gun manufacturers. Sanders reversed his position on immunity just before the last Democratic presidential debate Sunday.
McBath and Fulton’s endorsements also signify a bigger problem for Sanders — Clinton’s lead among black voters. While Sanders has managed to garner endorsements from prominent Black Lives Matter supporters Shaun King and rapper Killer Mike, he still lags among black voters.
A poll out Tuesday from Monmouth University showed Sanders 50 percentage points behind Clinton when it came to black voters. After the Democratic presidential debate in November, Public Policy Polling found that 72 percent of black voters surveyed thought Clinton won the debate, while 27 percent thought Sanders won.
Sanders’ few endorsements also pale in comparison to Clinton’s, which include the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as some 30 of its members and a laundry list of influential black politicians. Singers Pharrell and John Legend also are expected to campaign for Clinton this spring, according to The Hill.