Where They Stand: 2020 Presidential Candidate Views On Gun Control

Gun Rights

UPDATED FEBRUARY 2020

BOSTON (CBS) – With mass shootings becoming far too common in the United States, gun control will certainly be a topic of interest for voters in the 2020 election.

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Here is a brief look at where each of the current presidential candidates stands on gun control:

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Joseph Biden, Jr. (D)

Former Vice President

  • Wants to create a federal gun buyback program to get more guns off the streets
  • Plans to create mandatory universal background checks & reinstitute ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines
  • During his term as Vice President, led the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
  • During his time as a senator, authored assault weapons ban legislation which passed in 1994
  • During a debate, proposed every gun sold should have a biometric marker so only the buyer can pull the trigger
  • Wants to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to hold gun manufacturers accountable
  • Supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual can purchase per month to one
  • Close multiple loopholes, including the “Charleston loophole” which allows individuals to purchase firearms even if their background check is not complete
  • Supports “red flag” laws and wants to give states the funding to implement them

Michael Bloomberg (D)

Former New York Mayor

  • Believes gun violence is a national emergency and promises it will be his top priority if elected
  • Developed a gun safety proposal with five pillars: an effective background checks system, restrict those who pose a danger to themselves or others from using guns, protect young people in schools and homes, tackle gun violence in the hardest-hit communities, and confront gun industry head-on
  • Wants point-of-sale background checks for all gun sales
  • Wants nationwide “red flag” laws
  • Proposes a “central system” to notify local authorities when individuals have become prohibited from owning a gun
  • Wants to change the minimum age for gun purchase to 21
  • Supports reinstating the federal assault weapon ban
  • Wants to fund at least $100 million annually for local violence intervention programs in the “hardest-hit” communities.

Pete Buttigieg (D)

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

  • Supports universal background checks and acknowledges mental health contributes to the gun violence problem in America
  • Supports federal ban on “weapons of war,” which include semi-automatic rifles and automatic rifles
  • Wants to ban high-capacity magazines
  • Supports “red flag” laws
  • Wants to establish a nationwide gun licensing system
  • Wants the federal government to resume funding research into gun violence
  • Wants to close multiple loopholes including the “Boyfriend loophole” which allows physically abusive ex-boyfriends/stalkers to buy firearms.
  • Believes it should be required to notify law enforcement when a gun is lost or stolen
  • Wants to prohibit “ghost guns” and 3-D firearm printing

Lincoln Chaffee (L)

Former Senator and Governor of Rhode Island

  • Has not yet outlined campaign policy on gun control, but supports “common-sense” gun safety legislation and voted in favor of it in the past
  • Supported legislation in 2013 that would have banned semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

Tulsi Gabbard (D)

Hawaii Congresswoman

  • Supports gun control
  • In Congress, she co-sponsored and supported bills proposing a ban on assault weapons, the requirement of background checks for any and all gun purchases, closing the “gun show loophole,” and preventing terrorists from purchasing guns.
  • Advocates to solve the gun violence issue in a sensible, bipartisan manner

Amy Klobuchar (D)

Minnesota Senator

  • Supports gun control and gun reform
  • Advocates for closing loopholes, specifically the “boyfriend loophole”; works to protect victims at risk of gun violence from domestic partners
  • Supports intensive background checks that prevent those with a domestic abuse or a history of terrorism to get guns
  • Supports bans on assault style weapons and accessories that allow for semi automatic weapons to release more rounds when the trigger is pulled once
  • Acknowledges the importance of the Second Amendment and calls for regulations within it, not an elimination of it
  • Wants to identify gun violence as a public health issue in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies
  • Would not ban firearms for hunters
  • Wants to increase inspection of gun manufacturers

Bernie Sanders (D)

Vermont Senator

  • Wants to expand background checks and end the gun show loophole so all purchases are subject to the same background checks
  • Wants to ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines
  • Wants to crack down on straw purchases, where someone else buys a gun for a criminal
  • Wants to implement a buyback program
  • Supports “red flag” laws
  • Wants to ban 3-D printing of firearms and bump stocks

Tom Steyer (D)

Businessman, Philanthropist

  • Would declare gun violence a public health epidemic
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports “red flag” laws
  • Wants to establish a national assault weapon registry
  • Supports requiring a license for all gun ownership
  • Wants to create a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention to coordinate oversight efforts between executive departments and local government
  • Wants to increase funding for mental health counselors at public middle and high schools

Elizabeth Warren (D)

Massachusetts Senator

  • Unveiled a plan in August to cut gun violence deaths by 80%
  • Through executive action, she wants to expand the use of background checks to include sales at gun shows and online
  • Revoke licenses for gun dealers who violate the rules
  • Appoint an Attorney General who will investigate the NRA and how it – she says – has exploited loopholes
  • Supports closing the “boyfriend loophole,” creating a federal licensing system, imposing a one week waiting period for all gun purchases, increasing taxes on gun makers, and raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21

Donald J. Trump (R)

U.S. President

  • Defends the Second Amendment and gun ownership
  • President Trump’s Justice Department imposed a ban on bump stocks in December 2018
  • Has suggested the White House will propose a new series of gun control measures in response to mass shootings, but details have not been released
  • Believes The White House has made progress on background checks

William F. Weld (R)

Former Massachusetts Governor

  • Has not outlined position on gun control since announcing presidential campaign
  • Supported gun control measures while governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s
  • According to statements made in 2016, he no longer supports increased gun control
  • In 2016 said, “Restricting gun rights doesn’t make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms.”
  • A lifelong hunter, he supports the Second Amendment “in its entirety”
  • Believes “red flag” laws will work if done correctly
  • Does not believe universal background checks are a viable solution
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