Here’s Where All The 2020 Candidates Stand On Gun Control

Here’s Where All The 2020 Candidates Stand On Gun Control

Welcome to Got Issues?, MTV News’s candidate-by-candidate breakdown of your biggest concerns and questions about the 2020 race.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll from February, most Americans want tougher gun laws but have little confidence their lawmakers will take action — so candidates for the 2020 presidential race have to step up and do more than offer “thoughts and prayers” for the murdered and injured when it’s too late.

The recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have once again underscored the need for systemic change within America’s gun-violence culture. According to Mass Shooting Tracker, as of this writing, there have been more than 300 mass shootings this year alone, far surpassing the number of days in 2019; according to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, 100 Americans are killed with guns every day, and hundreds more are shot and injured. In 2019 alone, more than 28,000 people have been shot or killed with guns, the Gun Violence Archive reported.

While change will require more than one person in one job, plenty of Presidential hopefuls are answering people’s valid fears with promises to take action. Here’s what we know about each candidates’ stance on gun control, as well as past moves they’ve made in the fight for a safer country, and the most recent “grades” given to them by the National Rifle Association (NRA), according to a database from Everytown For Gun Safety, if they have one.

Michael Bennet

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not as of publish time.

So here’s what we do know about his past stances: Bennet has a mixed past when it comes to gun control. He said during a CNN town hall that he supports banning assault weapons, and recently told CBS News that he thinks the Senate needs to pass HR 8, the gun control legislation that mandates federal criminal background checks on all gun sales. On the very same day in 2013, he voted to ban high-capacity magazines — legislation introduced after the July 2012 attack at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado — and he voted against banning assault weapons — legislation introduced following the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. In 2010, he said he opposed restrictions on the right to bear arms, and then, in 2016, said he was in favor of restrictions on the right to bear arms. He had a C+ rating from the NRA in 2010, but by 2016, that rating had decreased to an F. (That’s seen as a good thing from most Democrats — the worse the NRA thinks of you, the tougher you are on gun-control laws.)

Joe Biden

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not really.

So here’s what we do know about his past stances: The former Vice President, who owns a shotgun, doesn’t have an official gun-control policy on his campaign site, but he did propose the concept of “smart guns” during the June debates. The policy, in which no gun would “be able to be sold unless your biometric measure could pull that trigger,” would ensure that no one could fire a gun except for the people whose fingerprints are registered for that specific firearm, according to the Verge. But that idea, which he’s been touting on the campaign trail, isn’t a truly specific gun-control policy.

Thankfully, we can look towards his more than four decades as a politician doing the dang thing. As a senator, he wrote the 1994 assault weapons ban and voted for the Brady Bill in 1993, which created the country’s first background check system. During the 2007 presidential primary debate, he said: “The one thing that’s clear: We should not have let the assault weapons ban lapse,” though he hasn’t hasn’t been quite as vocal as other candidates on that front lately. As Vice President, he headed the gun task force that led President Barack Obama’s administration to push for legislation requiring universal background checks in 2013, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting; that work paved the way for more than 20 executive orders on gun violence. More recently, he argued in support of a federal gun buyback program, enhanced background checks, and reinstating the 1994 assault weapons ban, the Washington Post reported. He received an F rating from the NRA.

Cory Booker

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: Booker has one of the most ambitious gun control plans of any of the candidates as of publish time, including both a gun violence prevention plan and a firearm suicide prevention plan. His plan to end gun violence includes typical Democratic proposals — universal background checks; banning assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks; funding gun violence research; closing the “boyfriend loophole” to disarm domestic abusers; closing the “Charleston loophole,” which allowed a self-described white supremacist who had previously admitted to drug possession to purchase a weapon before his background checks cleared; supporting extreme risk prevention laws, which would allow police to take away someone’s guns if there’s proof of a risk of violence; and pushing for better enforcement of the gun laws that already exist — and a slew of other preventative gun laws.

His plan also includes requiring that gun owners not only pass a background check, but also that they obtain a license to purchase and own a firearm; allowing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to oversee gun manufacturers and incentivizes them to make their products safer; repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that makes gun manufacturers practically immune from lawsuits; requiring handgun microstamping, which would allow “law enforcement to identify the source of ammunition used in crimes by making the shell casing traceable to the specific gun that fired the round”; increasing funding to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) so that they can more effectively “investigate crimes and crack down on gun dealers”; limiting gun buyers to one handgun per month; requiring that gun owners report their lost or stolen firearms; increasing funding to local law enforcement to combat gun violence and adapt to new technology; and calling on the IRS to investigate the NRA’s tax status.

**takes deep breath**

Booker is currently a co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would ban assault weapons. He has an F rating from the NRA.

Steve Bullock

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not as of publish time.

So here’s what else we know about his past stances: Bullock, who owns a gun, has expressed support for “universal background checks and cracking down on straw purchases of guns.” The former governor has a personal connection to gun violence — in 1994, his 11-year-old nephew was shot and killed by another student. He has told CNN that he would not only support a ban on semiautomatic weapons, but also on “everything from red flag laws [also known as extreme risk protection laws, which would allow police to take away someone’s guns if there’s proof of a risk of violence] to closing, sort of having a universal background check, to make sure that we’re doing everything we can, some age restrictions, magazine restrictions.”

Pete Buttigieg

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The South Bend Mayor supports universal background checks; a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; enacting extreme risk protection laws; closing the “boyfriend loophole” to disarm domestic abusers; closing the “Charleston loophole”; prohibiting people from buying or owning firearms if they are convicted of a hate crime; repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that makes gun manufacturers practically immune from lawsuits; establishing a nationwide gun licensing system; and resuming federal funding for gun violence research, according to his campaign website.

Buttigieg also has a plan to “combat the national threat posed by hate and the gun lobby,” which he released on August 5. The plan stipulates that he would dedicate $1 billion to the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and state and local authorities to combat radicalization and violent extremism. He would also aim to invest in and grow the FBI’s domestic counterterrorism field staff and pass anti-hate measures in Congress. He would also work to “name and shame” platforms like 8chan that spread violent extremism online, and invest in training law enforcement on the “connection between misogyny and violent extremism.”

Buttigieg, who “owns two antique guns that he does not use,” according to the Washington Post, received a D rating from the NRA.

Julián Castro

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The former Housing and Urban Development Secretary recently revealed a sweeping gun control policy proposal on his campaign website, which supports the typical democratic staples — universal background checks; renewed assault weapons bans; limits on high-capacity magazines; gun buyback programs; federal licensing programs; and extreme risk protection laws — but it also includes a set of hefty guidelines to decrease domestic terrorism. His plan involves instituting police reform to address racial disparities; establishing a White House Initiative on Disarming Hate that would coordinate programs between multiple agencies to combat hate and domestic terrorism; hosting an annual summit to talk about the best ways to “counter hateful ideologies”; working to rehabilitate members of extremist organizations through grant programs from the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services; requiring state, local, and tribal governments to report hate crime statistics; committing to the Christchurch Call, an international agreement to address extremism on the internet; and investing $50 million a year to the Department of State programs to disrupt online extremism.

Castro also supported the assault weapons ban after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and, more recently, said he supported the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019. He’s also in favor of closing the “Charleston loophole.”

Bill De Blasio

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not as of publish time.

So here’s what we do know about his past stances: The mayor of New York City said in 2018 that “bump stocks need to be banned, assault weapons need to be banned.” He also belongs to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose members pledge to advocate for policies including “comprehensive background checks.”

John Delaney

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The former Maryland representative, who owns his own firearm, calls for “universal background checks on gun sales, including closing the loophole for private sellers” on his campaign website. He also calls to reinstate gun violence research; close the “boyfriend loophole” to disarm domestic abusers; ban “semi automatic weapons that have military-style features, including the AR-15,” as well as “high-capacity magazines” and “all accessories designed to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic weapon, including bump stocks and trigger cranks.” He previously co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban Act which would have resumed the ban after it lapsed in 2004. (Every iteration of that ban has stalled in Congress.) Delaney has an F rating from the NRA.

Tulsi Gabbard

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Does she have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about her stances: The representative from Hawaii called on Congress to pass legislation to ban military-style assault weapons; instate universal background checks; and close loopholes in laws regarding gun shows, domestic violence, and suspected terrorism, according to her campaign website. In the House of Representatives just this past year, Gabbard, who is a military veteran, co-sponsored a background check bill and a bill that would close the gun show loophole by making background checks required for firearms sold or traded at gun shows by private individuals. She has an F rating from the NRA.

Kirsten Gillibrand

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Does she have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about her stances: The New York Senator’s gun plan is largely a middle finger to Donald Trump: Her Plan to Combat Gun Violence is literally part of her “Trump Broken Promises Tour.” In it, after railing on Trump for breaking his promises of supporting sronger background checks and other anti-gun violence agenda items, she says she would issue an executive order directing the Department of Justice to prosecute those who illegally traffick guns across state lines; she’ll expand universal background checks; close the “Charleston loophole”; establish extreme risk protection laws; close the “boyfriend loophole” to disarm domestic abusers; keep guns away from terrorists; ban military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; provide federal resources to help local law enforcement trace firearms used in crimes and require that they participate in the national data collection system for gun crimes; repeal the Tiahrt Amendment in order to allow firearms trace data to be used in lawsuits; reinstate research on gun use; and repeal the law that makes gun manufacturers practically immune from lawsuits.

In the Senate, Gillibrand co-sponsored bills that would ban assault weapons in both 2019 and in 2013, and co-sponsored a background checks bill in 2019. But she hasn’t always been so pro-gun control. While serving in the House of Representatives in 2007, she had an A+ rating from the NRA, having co-sponsored the Second Amendment Enforcement act that allowed folks to openly carry loaded assault weapons on the street; helped overturn Washington, DC’s handgun ban; actually fought for the Tiahrt Amendment; and more anti-gun control measures. Then, she was nominated for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat in 2009, and she basically pulled a complete 180 on her gun-control stances. Now, she has an F rating from the NRA.

Kamala Harris

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Does she have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about her stances: The California Senator and former prosecutor, who owns a gun, has called for an assault weapons ban; universal background checks for anyone who sells five or more guns per year; revoking licenses of gun manufacturers and dealers who break the law; closing the “boyfriend loophole” which would disarm domestic abusers; reversing Trump’s change to the definition of “fugitive from justice,” which allows fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants to buy guns; and banning the import of AR-15-style assault weapons, according to her campaign website. She was the co-sponsor of a Senate bill to ban assault weapons in 2019, and has called for prohibiting people who have been convicted of a federal hate crime from buying guns. According to her campaign site, she plans to give Congress 100 days to pass stronger gun laws before signing an executive order to pass gun reform laws. She has an F rating from the NRA.

Amy Klobuchar

Does she have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about her stances: The Minnesota Senator supports universal background checks and banning bump stocks, high capacity ammunition feeding devices, and assault weapons, according to her campaign website. In Congress, she co-sponsored a Senate bill to ban assault weapons and voted in support of the 2013 assault weapons ban. She also authored a proposal to prevent domestic abusers from buying or owning firearms. She has an F rating from the NRA.

Wayne Messam

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The Miramar, Florida, mayor says on his campaign website that preventing mass shootings will be his “number one priority.” He supports law enforcement taking guns from domestic abusers, people with mental illness, and those on the terrorist watch list. In June, he told the Independent Journal Review that he plans to “push for universal background checks” and that he would ban assault-style weapons. As mayor, he made an amphitheater gun-free, but hasn’t had the power to do much else in order to institute gun control. He sued to change that, Axios reported.

Beto O’Rourke

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The former Texas congressman, who owns antique guns that he does not use, has a two-pronged approach to gun violence: combating hate, white nationalism, and online radicalization; and combating the NRA’s influence in politics.

Not all of his proposed policies and priorities are explicit or direct, but he supports universal background checks; want to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which would disarm domestic abusers; want to create dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and Federal Bureau of Investigations; want to block terrorist content online, including forcing 8chan and Stormfront offline; support requiring social media platforms to remove hateful activites on their site; want to amend section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which would removal legal immunity from lawsuits for large social media platforms that don’t block terrorist content; plan to sign the Christchurch Call, an international agreement to address extremism on the internet; plan to sign the No PAC Act, which would ban PAC contributions, like those from the NRA, to members of congress; want to create a nationwide gun licensing system and registry; support banning assault weapons, trigger cranks, silencers, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines; plan to implement a national buyback program; want to limit individuals to one gun purchase per month; plan to declare gun violence a public health emergency; and want to make gun trafficking a federal crime.

And he’s been relatively consistent on his positions: According to the New York Times, he pretty much made his name when he live-streamed a sit-in on the House floor in support of stricter gun laws in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016. He has an F rating from the NRA.

Tim Ryan

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not as of publish time.

So here’s what we do know about his past stances: The Ohio representative owns a Remington 12-gauge shotgun that he doesn’t use, according to the Washington Post. After the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, he condemned Republican leaders for not pushing for background checks, calling them “a basic step that 99% of the American people support.” He also co-sponsored a bill in favor of background checks in the House in February. He had an A rating from the NRA in 2010, which fell to an F after he changed his positions in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when the group opposed universal background checks, according to Cleveland. The NRA gave him his last political donation that year, Cleveland reported, and he took all of the NRA donations he had ever received and gave them to the gun control organizations Sandy Hook Promise, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and Everytown for Gun Safety. Altogether, he has donated nearly $20,000 to gun control organizations.

Bernie Sanders

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The Vermont Senator supports background checks; closing the gun show loophole; banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines; and cracking down on “straw purchases,” in which people buy guns for criminals who cannot buy weapons on their own, according to his campaign website. However, Sanders hasn’t always been such a strong gun control advocate: He voted against the Brady Bill in 1993, which created a blueprint for the nation’s current background check system, he’s opposed federal research into gun violence, and, in 2005, he voted for a bill that would prevent gun manufacturers from being held financially responsible, according to NBC News (he has since reversed his defense of this 2005 law, per NBC). He has a D- rating from the NRA.

Joe Sestak

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The Pennsylvania representative and retired U.S. Navy officer has called for banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines; closing the gun show loophole; and creating a national background check system, according to his campaign website. He has an F rating from the NRA.

Tom Steyer

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not as of publish time.

So here’s what we do know about his past stances: The billionaire philanthropist, whose website does not have a gun policy platform, supports universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and restricting high-capacity magazines.

Donald Trump

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not really?

Here’s what else we know about his stances: 

The President, who owns a gun, signed a bill that reversed a policy that stopped people who cannot care for themselves from buying a gun, has proposed loosening restrictions on buying and carrying firearms, and is in favor of arming teachers — a policy that furthers the much-disproven myth that a “good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun,” and which teachers themselves say they don’t want. His administration officially banned bump stocks and he’s spoken about raising the minimum age to 21 to buy assault rifles — two things many gun activists support.

But Trump has a habit of making promises he cannot keep, and has backtracked on many of the policies he supposedly favored, including saying he supported background checks just 24 hours after he said background checks would lead down a “slippery slope” in eroding gun owners’ rights, according to USA Today. While he expressed support for extreme risk protection laws, which would allow police to take away someone’s guns if there’s proof of a risk of violence, current reports suggest he’s already changed his mind back.

He’s also pushed some pretty harmful rhetoric, including blaming the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, on both mental health and video games, which experts have disproven as false pretenses. As experts pointed out to PBS, removing mental health as a risk factor would only diminish gun violence by about four percent. Furthermore, there is no sufficient evidence linking the closure of mental health institutions to an uptick in gun violence, as the President has claimed. His election campaign was endorsed by the NRA in 2016.

Elizabeth Warren

Does she have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about her stances: The Massachusetts senator is known for having a plan for everything, and combating gun violence is no exception. Warren supports universal background checks; requiring gun owners to report multiple purchases; raising the minimum age of buying a gun to at least 21 years old; prosecuting gun traffickers who cross state and national lines; revoking gun licenses from dealers who break the law; investigating the NRA; closing the “boyfriend loophole,” which would disarm domestic abusers; reversing Trump-era rules like lowering the standards for purchasing guns, enabling 3-D printed guns, and “reversing the ATF ruling that allows a shooter to convert a pistol to a short-barreled rifle using pistol braces.”

She also supports a federal licensing system; increasing taxes on gun manufacturers; establishing a waiting period; capping firearm purchases to one per month; banning assault weapons; banning large capacity magazines; passing red flag laws, which would allow police to take away someone’s guns if there’s proof of a risk of violence; prohibiting anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning a gun; improving the Gun-Free School Zones Act to include college and university campuses; repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that makes gun manufacturers practically immune from lawsuits; strengthening the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) enforcement; passing a law that would impose potential jail time for gun industry CEOs if their company is found guilty of a crime; and increasing research on gun violence, according to her plan. She also co-sponsored a bill in the Senate that would ban assault weapons, and, in 2013, co-sponsored the proposed Assault Weapons Ban. She has an F rating from the NRA.

Bill Weld

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Not as of publish time.

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The former Massachusetts governor is largely a mystery when it comes to gun control. He doesn’t have a section on his website mentioning gun control, he hasn’t tweeted about gun violence, and he hasn’t mentioned it in any recent interviews. However, in 2016, when he ran as vice president with Gary Johnson on the libertarian ticket, he opposed gun control. But, according to the Conservative Review, he supported gun control measures during his tenure as governor. Like we said: a mystery.

Marianne Williamson

Does she have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about her stances: The author wants to ban assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and bump stocks; supports universal background checks and waiting periods for buying and selling firearms; supports passing extreme risk protection laws, which would allow police to take away someone’s guns if there’s proof of a risk of violence; and closing the gun show loophole, according to her campaign website.

Andrew Yang

Does he have an official gun-control policy? Yes!

Here’s what else we know about his stances: The Silicon Valley entrepreneur has a plan to institute a three-tiered licensing system for gun ownership. Tier 1, which is for basic hunting rifles and handguns, requires a safety course; tier 2, for semi-automatic rifles, requires all buyers to have a tier 1 license and be 21 years old; and tier 3 licenses are for advanced and automatic weapons, which requires fingerprints and DNA to be submitted to the FBI, a gun locker inspection, and regular trainings.

According to Yang’s vision, everyone who wishes to buy or own a gun on any of the tiers must have a federal background check; no one with a history of violence, domestic abuse, or violent mental illness would be able to get a license; and the system would eliminate the gun show loophole. He supports an assault weapons ban and federally funding research on gun violence.


Source : Christianna Silva Link

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