Three small words — "maybe there is " — uttered by Republican Donald Trump as an off-the-cuff comment have shaken up the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Speaking Tuesday in Wilmington, North Carolina, Trump said Democrat Hillary Clinton would appoint liberal Supreme Court judges who would take away Americans' constitutional right to own guns.
"By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don't know."
It is unclear whether Trump was joking when he said "maybe there is." But his opponents immediately interpreted it to mean that Clinton or the judges should be assassinated.
'Should not suggest violence'
"What Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook tweeted.
Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, erupted over the Trump comment.
But Trump denied having any thoughts of violence when he spoke.
"Give me a break," he told Fox News. "This is a political movement ... a strong and powerful movement, the Second Amendment. Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home. And there can be no other interpretation."
The National Rifle Association also was quick to run to Trump's rescue.
"There is something we will do on #ElectionDay: Show up and vote for the #2A #DefendtheSecond #NeverHillary," the gun rights organization tweeted.
This newest controversy has all but wrecked Trump's apparent efforts to "restart" his chaotic campaign. He made a relatively straightforward speech Monday in Detroit in which he spelled out his economic plans if elected.
Trump has a reputation of veering away from his prepared remarks for ad-libs and off-the-cuff remarks that he says the media distort.
Clinton has said, "There is no other Donald Trump. This is it."
But Trump tried Tuesday to paint Clinton as the one who has no self-control, calling her volcanic and impulsive and someone who is "wacky and makes bad decisions."
Trump got back to business when he said that if he is elected, he would charge American companies that move their factories overseas a 35 percent tariff on goods they export to the United States. He also promised to cut government regulations for people who want to start new businesses.
Clinton was in Miami, Florida, where four new cases of the Zika virus, suspected to have been spread by mosquitoes, have been reported.
She urged Republican leaders to immediately call the House of Representatives into special session and pass a bill funding the fight against Zika. She said this is an epidemic that will only get worse.
The Senate has passed a Zika funding measure, but the House recessed before it could pass one and reach a compromise with the Senate on a final bill.
Marissa Melton contributed to this report.