Clinton advocates 'sane gun laws' at Robert Kennedy memorial
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Former President Clinton invoked former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in a call for increased gun restrictions on Wednesday during a memorial for the 50th anniversary of the former senator and attorney general's assassination.

Parkland, Fla., shooting survivor and "March for Our Lives" student activist Emma González read a portion of one of Kennedy's speeches to a crowd of hundreds, including members of the Kennedy family, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. 

“We stood up for Emma,” Clinton said after González's reading. “You know why I love that? Because she and her generation are the first people who have made sensible, sane gun laws a voting issue in this country.”

“Bobby Kennedy would say ‘Hey, nobody is trying to take away your right … but we should take away the option to commit mass murder with killing machines without adequate background checks, sure,’ ” Clinton continued. Kennedy died from gunshot wounds. 

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“I think if he were here today, and as we were told in the invocation he really is here today, he would remind us that perhaps the words he spoke then are truer today than they were then,” Clinton told the crowd in a short speech.

Clinton said Kennedy's message of inclusiveness applies to modern politics but did not mention specific policies.

“His message really, no matter how dressed up in the finest poetry, never changed: We can do better. And because we can, we must,” Clinton said. “And the intensity of conviction burned away like a blowtorch all those layers of complacency and comfort. Show up, stand up; we can do better."

“And if we had had a large Muslim population back then he would have gone to them and said you too can be part of America if you share our values and our vision,” he continued.

Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE III (D-Mass.), who is Robert Kennedy's grandson, echoed Clinton's call for the country to be more inclusive and "better," in keeping with his grandfather's vision.

“Empathy for those struggling and striving,” Joe Kennedy said. “Indignation at the wealthiest country on Earth would leave children hungry, sick, abandoned and alone. Compassion for the least among us. Faith that our nation, that our world, are capable of better.”

Joe Kennedy said his grandfather fought for “the very thing at stake today: a country who accepts you for who you are.” 

Several prominent lawmakers and leaders were present at the ceremony to read famous quotes from Robert Kennedy, including his daughter and former lieutenant governor of Maryland Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former aide Peter Edelman, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Daniel Mulhall, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMilitary bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' Women must continue to persist to rise as political leaders of America MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. John LewisJohn LewisWarnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter Texans receiver Kenny Stills shows off 'Black Lives Matter' tattoo honoring protesters Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Ga.), Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonKaren Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - States are pausing reopening Democrats release bilingual ads on police reform bill MORE (R-Mich.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday The Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Mass.). 

Clinton closed his speech and the main events of the memorial with a call for hope.

“And we have got to stop hating each other, it’s bad for us,” Clinton said. “And by the way that includes the members of our clans and our tribes. The outstretched hand beats the clenched fist.”

Country star Kenny Chesney performed "This Land is Your Land" at the event. Other musical performers included Irish tenor Mark Forrest, the Eastern High School Choir, the American University Gospel Choir and the Choral Arts Society of Washington.