Washington: Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for "common sense" gun control legislation and decrying "institutional racism" just days after a violent shooting in a historic black South Carolina church that killed nine people.

Clinton says Congress should pass legislation keeping guns from criminals and the mentally ill while "respecting responsible gun owners."

She says, "The politics on this issue have been poisoned but we can't give up."

In 2013, Congress rejected legislation that would have expanded background checks on firearms sales.

Clinton is also addressing what she called a "long struggle with race," saying the country "can't hide from any of these hard truths about race and justice in America."

Clinton was speaking at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, after a West Coast fundraising swing.