Looking at the gun control ideas of the current presidential candidates is important to ensure that those fit what you believe as an informed citizen. Since Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke are some of the leading candidates, an analysis of their positions on gun control is vital to determine who can best serve the country and prevent future mass shootings. All candidates, for example, support a universal background check. On the other hand, the views on assault weapon bans and how to handle them are different. They all believe an assault weapon ban is important, but Biden would not apply this ban to previously owned weapons, nor force a buyback – though he does support a voluntary buyback. Sanders is unclear in his position on whether the buyback he supports would be mandatory or voluntary, so that point is still in question. Warren does not seem to have a plan for a buyback, which is an interesting fact given how many plans she has released. O’Rourke has the most intensive buyback plan, indicating an interest in a mandatory return of assault weapons. A deeper look, though, will assist in informing and allowing for easier analysis of which candidates have the strongest views and ideas.
Joe Biden does not have a direct gun control plan available on his campaign website, though the basics are visible. He supports universal background checks, and banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines. He claims he wishes to defeat the NRA, though there is little supporting evidence on how he wants to do that and some of his comments (like stating the NRA is not the enemy, the gun manufacturers are) bring up questions about his stance. While he is not entirely wrong, since even some members of the NRA do support some level of gun control, targeting the entirety of the organization is important to ensure that their lobbying cannot continue to influence gun laws.
Bernie Sanders presents a relatively minimalist plan for what he wants with regard to gun control on his website. Banning assault weapons and making it harder for criminals to get guns is a big goal, as is lowering the influence of the NRA. Previously he did vote on occasion in support of guns, but his current NRA rating is D-minus, indicating that the lobbying group feels that he would threaten their goals- which is excellent for prospects regarding gun bans and limitations.
Elizabeth Warren has an intensive plan for gun control, as she does for most things. She wants to eliminate corruption in order to prevent the NRA from continuing to have control in the government as her first priority. After that, federal licenses, a universal background check, purchase caps and prevention of illicit transfer of firearms are all focuses. The waiting period is another aspect of control that she addresses. Supposedly one exists, but Warren wants to ensure that it is followed and enforced. As with everyone, an assault weapons ban is on the table as well, along with a ban on things like trigger cranks that can cause even more death by making semi-automatic weapons fully automatic. The access to firearms that many domestic abusers and others at high risk for violence (either to themselves or others) is another limit that Warren sees as important – both with a higher age limit and stricter rules for who can obtain a gun. Along with these rules, Warren wants to strike back against the NRA and other gun lobbies. She believes that accountability and the elimination of corruption will help lower the amount of gun violence. When the manufacturers see that they are losing money with every mass shooting( since they can be sued for the deaths and injuries to people) they are more likely to enforce safety rules.
Beto O’Rourke was originally somewhat moderate on the gun control issue, at least vocally. Now, however, with the shooting in El Paso directly influencing his home, he has shown much less restraint. In fact, he supports a mandatory assault weapon buyback now, stating that Americans should not have weapons of war. Taking down the influence of the NRA, enforcing gun licensing, and limits on stockpiles are other ideas he has. A very large one that is not commonly seen is the idea of declaring gun violence a public health emergency. Beto believes that the massive number of deaths needs to be addressed, since over a hundred people die daily due to gun violence. Moving forward on this is vital, Beto knows, and he is now becoming much more vocal on the point.
Unfortunately, there are no perfect solutions when it comes to gun control. All of the candidates, however, have much better positions than we currently see with Republicans and their placating views toward the gun manufacturers and NRA. No matter who finds their way to the Democratic nomination, the idea of universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and support for more regulation with regard to guns is forthcoming. Perfection is hard to find, but anything is better than the mass shootings and constant fear the country deals with every day, unsure if they will get a call that their children have been killed by firearms, or if they will find themselves trapped in a mass shooting and in danger of becoming a statistic.
- https://www.dosomething.org/us/campaigns/do-something-about-gun-violence is a site that offers registration and reminders on how to keep up with the gun control movement, as well as an easy way to email representatives to keep them informed on the fact that you support gun control and you vote.
- https://momsdemandaction.org/ seeks to promote responsible gun ownership and prevent gun violence. The group is a grassroots campaign to ensure that children and families are made safer, and has chapters countrywide.
- http://www.30guncontrolactionsyoucantakenow.com/take-action offers, as the site says, 30 gun control actions that can be taken easily and quickly. It is important to ensure that the movement continues and that new laws are put in place to make the United States safer.
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