Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Gun Control?
A gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last Thursday, killing 9 people and injuring 7. This is the 294th mass shooting to take place so far in 2015, and has re-sparked an intense debate about if and how the government should try to prevent gun violence.
With 21 candidates remaining in the 2016 presidential election cycle, there are a lot of opinions on gun control floating around. We’ve complied their stances here, but for the sake of our sanity and yours, we’ve decided to only include candidates who are polling over 1% (sorry Waka Flocka).
Mike Huckabee – Anti-Gun Control
His memoir is called “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” if that tells you anything. According to his book, Huckabee thinks that city-slickers, not guns, are the real problem: “Clearly, city slickers who are more afraid of guns than of the criminals who might use them have a serious mental condition rendering them incapable of critical thinking,” he wrote. He has an A+ rating from the NRA, and it’s not just because they like grits and gravy.
Ben Carson – Anti-Gun Control
Earlier this year, Carson made his views on gun control pretty clear: “I am extremely pro-Second Amendment, no question about it.” During a Facebook Q&A, he said that although two of his cousins died from gun violence and he has operated on numerous bullet wounds, he “never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.” Carson has also said that semi-automatic weapons should be okay to own if you live in the country, but if you live in the city “and the semi-automatic weapon was going to fall into the hands of a crazy person” he would “rather you not own one.”
Days after the Oregon school shooting, he made statements advocating to arm teachers. Carson has also suggested that gun control caused the Holocaust.
Rand Paul – Anti-Gun Control
Paul has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association and is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. After the Charleston shooting, he said “There’s a sickness in our country. But it isn’t going to be fixed by your government. It’s people not understanding where salvation comes from. I think if we understand that, we’ll have better expectations of what to expect from government.” Whatever that means. Paul also voted against moving forward on background-check legislation in 2013.
Bernie Sanders – Moderate Gun Control
Sanders has a mixed voting record on gun legislation. He says he wants sensible gun control, instant background checks, a ban on assault weapons and improved mental health services, but his voting record tells a different story. In the 1990s, he voted against a gun control measure and voted to ban certain lawsuits that would hold gun manufacturers liable for violence caused by their products. Even so, it doesn’t look like the NRA will #FeelTheBern any time soon.
Donald Trump – Anti-Gun Control
What do dummies, losers, and lightweights all have in common according to the Donald? They all support gun control! Okay fine, we made that up. But after the Oregon shooting, he said that the campus would have “been a hell of a lot better off” if the teachers had been armed. Recently he has been vehemently anti-gun control, but in his book “The America We Deserve,” Trump said he supports a ban on assault weapons and longer waiting periods on gun purchases. In the days since the shooting, he has argued that America needs greater law enforcement against violent crime, mental health care reform, and more protections for legal gun ownership.
Hillary Clinton – Pro-Gun Control
The only thing Hillary is more passionate about than pantsuits is gun control. “We have got to do something about gun violence in America, and I will take it on,” Clinton said. She promised to fight to “balance” the second amendment to prevent tragedies such as the Virginia shooting, saying that there is “so much evidence” that with stricter gun laws “we could prevent this kind of carnage.” She wants to get rid of legislation that protects gun makers from being sued by shooting victims and vowed to use executive powers as president to expand background checks at gun shows and ban domestic abusers from purchasing guns.
Carly Fiorina – Anti-Gun Control
When Fiorina ran for Senate in 2010, she said, “The no-fly list has been, unfortunately, way too large, and I know people who have been on it who have been stopped and if we permit anyone who is on that no-fly list to have their 2nd Amendment rights taken away from them, that’s a terrible problem.” It seems like the bigger problem here could be the fact that she knows multiple people on the no-fly list, but we digress.
With no record of elected office, her only other statement regarding gun control was her opposition to a 1994 bill which banned several assault weapons.
Ted Cruz – Anti-Gun Control
Cruz famously cooked strips of bacon using a machine gun in a 2015 YouTube video,
causing meat-loving teenaged gun owners to take down their naked Kate Upton posters and replace them with this:
Cruz voted against the 2013 Senate legislation to expand background checks. He has an A+ ranking from the NRA, and once sent a letter after the Sandy Hook shooting promising to “filibuster any legislation that undermines the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” A few days after the Charleston church shootings, Cruz joked, “You know the great thing about Iowa is, I’m pretty sure you all define gun control the same way we do in Texas — hitting what you aim at.” Fits right in with the joke he made about Vice President Biden only days after the death of Biden’s son. Note to his campaign manager; teach him the concept of “too soon”.
Marco Rubio – Anti-Gun Control
“I can tell you that I always find it interesting that the reflexive reaction of the left is to say we need more gun laws. Criminals don’t follow gun laws. Only law-abiding people follow gun laws. And there is just no evidence that these gun laws would prevent these shootings.”
In 2015, Rubio introduced a bill to loosen Washington DC’s gun laws and make it easier to buy guns. When 2013 Senate legislation was proposed after the Sandy Hook massacre to expand background checks for gun purchases, Rubio voted against it.
Chris Christie – Limited Gun Control
“If you look at what we’ve done in New Jersey, we want to control violence. And some of that may involve firearms, but a lot of it doesn’t. We need to have adults in the room who make decisions based upon controlling violence in this country.”
Christie has a moderate track record on gun control: he signed 10 gun control measures into law in April of 2013, and then vetoed three gun control bills the next month. He has since tried to double down on anti-gun control stances, calling for take-backsies.
Jeb Bush – Anti-Gun Control
After the Oregon shooting, Bush said, “Look, stuff happens.” He continued, “The impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do… You don’t solve the problem by passing the law, and you’re imposing on large numbers of people, burdens that make it harder for our economy to grow, make it harder for people to protect liberty.” It’s like putting your foot in your mouth runs in his family or something.
Bush has maintained a consistent record of opposition to any stricter gun laws, and as governor of Florida, he signed the “Stand Your Ground” law (which played a role in the 2012 shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin). He increased sentencing for acts of gun violence and vetoed all attempts to strengthen Florida’s gun laws.
John Kasich – Limited Gun Control
“I don’t think any president can stop mass shootings…These are terrible tragedies and we need to find out more about who this person is. If this person had mental illness they should never have had a weapon. That’s the rules.”
While in Congress, Kasich voted for the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons, but since then has tacked right on gun control stating that a “cooling-off period” is needed after any gun violence tragedy before talking about gun control measures. As governor of Ohio, he has signed several bills that have greatly expanded gun rights. He believes the death penalty and longer sentences are the best ways to combat gun violence, and that more should be done to prevent mentally ill individuals from getting guns.
Feature photo courtesy of : Wikipedia