Last updated on: 9/2/2015 10:13:08 AM PST
Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?
"We can have common sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable while respecting responsible gun owners... The stakes are too high, the costs are too dear, and I am not and will not be afraid to keep fighting for common sense reforms, and along with you, achieve those on behalf of all who have been lost because of this senseless gun violence in this country."
[Editor's Note: During the first Democratic candidates debate on Oct. 13, 2015, Hillary Clinton made the following statement:
Source: Igor Bobic, "Hillary Clinton Calls for 'Common Sense' Gun Reforms in Wake of Charleston Shooting," huffingtonpost.com, June 20, 2015
"I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long and it's time the entire country stood up against the NRA. The majority of our country supports background checks, and even the majority of gun owners do."]
"We certainly need an assault weapons ban, but we need more than that. There are some 260 people every day who are injured or killed by gun violence, so it's very important that we ban assault weapons, for starters, but there are other steps that need to be taken quickly. Local communities need to be able to regulate guns, as needed, to deal with their violence. So, we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We need background checks, so that the mentally ill are not possessing and using guns. And we need to end the gun show loopholes, as well, because there's far too much violence from guns, which is not needed."
Source: Democracy Now, "Exclusive: Expanding the Debate with Third-Party Candidates Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, Rocky Anderson," democracynow.org, Oct. 17, 2012
"I am in the camp that if you outlaw guns only the criminals are going to have guns. I supported permitting the concealed carry of handguns in New Mexico. I believe there is a lot less violence in the parking lot, as they say, because the potential perpetrator of a theft or an assault is thinking twice because someone might be carrying a gun. Restrictions on gun ownership will only encourage outlaws to have heavy ammunition and high calibre weapons."
Source: Rachel Ray, "Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Says Time Is Right for 'the Party of Principle' in the White House,” telegraph.co.uk, Jan. 19, 2016
"[Moderator Maria Bartiromo] Mr. Trump, are there any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America?
[Editor's Note: On Feb. 10, 2011, Donald Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Congress (CPAC): "I'm against gun control." The speech is available at Gary Franchi, "Donald Trump @ CPAC 2011," youtube.com, Feb. 14, 2011
TRUMP: No. I am a 2nd amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn't have 14 or 15 people dead right now.
If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn't have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no."
Source: Washington Post, “6th Republican Debate Transcript, Annotated: Who Said What and What It Meant,” washingtonpost.com, Jan. 14, 2016
Trump previously expressed a PRO opinion on this question. Read Trump's former position on gun control laws.]
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria
appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
"I'm pissed that we're actually asking ourselves the horrific question of, what will it take? How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA when people are dying?
I'm pissed that after working hard in the state of Maryland to pass real gun control--laws that banned high-magazine weapons, increased licensing standards, and required fingerprinting for handgun purchasers--Congress continues to drop the ball...
I proudly hold an F rating from the NRA, and when I worked to pass gun control in Maryland, the NRA threatened me with legal action, but I never backed down.
Here are some steps we should be taking:
1. A national assault weapons ban.
2. Stricter background checks.
3. Efforts to reduce straw-buying, like fingerprint requirements."
Source: Email to supporters, June 19, 2015
"I can understand that if some Democrats or Republicans represent an urban area where people don't hunt, don't do target practice; they're not into guns. But, in my state, people go hunting and people do target practice. Talking about cultural divides in this country, you know, it is important for people in urban America to understand that families go out together and kids go out with their parents and they hunt and they enjoy the outdoors and that is a lifestyle that should not be condemned...
[Editor's Note: In 1993, then-US Representative Bernie Sanders voted against a five-day waiting period and background checks on firearm purchases. In 1994, he voted in favor of banning semi-automatic assault weapons. In 2013, Senator Sanders voted in favor of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.]
If anyone thinks that gun control itself is going to solve the problem of violence in this country, you're terribly mistaken. So, obviously, we need strong, sensible gun control and I will support it. But some people think it's going to solve all of our problems. It is not."
Source: NPR, "NPR News Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders," npr.org, June 24, 2015
"In this particular case [the Emanuel AME church shooting in Charleston, SC], the FBI made a mistake. The law itself requires a background check, but that didn't fulfill their part of the bargain within the time that they were supposed to do.
[Editor's Note: In 1998, while campaigning for Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush supported statewide background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows.]
We don't need to add new rules, we need to make sure the FBI does its job. Because that person [Dylann Roof], should not have gotten a gun, should not -- would not have passed a background check. The first impulse of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is to take rights away from law- abiding citizens…
I think we need to focus on what the bigger issue is. It isn't law-abiding gun owners.
Look, I have an A plus rating in the NRA and we also have a reduction in gun violence because in Florida, if you commit a crime with a gun, you're going away. You're going away for a long, long while."
Source: Washington Post, "6th Republican Debate Transcript, Annotated: Who Said What and What It Meant," washingtonpost.com, Jan. 14, 2016
"The place where dangerous weapons are most likely to fall into the hands of crazies are crowded places. They are not likely to happen in some remote place. But in no way do I think we should restrict the rights, particularly the rights of law abiding citizens to have guns."
Source: Fred Lucas, "Ben Carson Is Ben Carson Is Talking About Guns Again, and He’s Clarifying a Very Important Point for Second Amendment Advocates," theblaze.com, July 21, 2015
"The fact is that we need to have more information about people's mental health background. But we don't need new [gun] laws in this country to be able to do that. We have laws that exist now. We just need to enforce the ones we do... All you hear now is let's have new laws, new laws, when we don't enforce the laws we have."
Source: Interview, CBS This Morning, cbsnews.com, Aug. 27, 2015
"Washington politicians shouldn't be taking advantage of recent tragedy to try to push an aggressive gun control agenda. Real assault weapons--machine guns--are already functionally illegal, and they have been since 1934. This proposal would have done nothing to prevent the terrible murders in Newtown, but it would limit the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. And gun control doesn’t work – the empirical data overwhelmingly demonstrate that strict gun-control laws consistently produce more crime and more murders.
The Second Amendment exists to ensure that law-abiding Americans can protect their homes and families, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to defeat this bill and to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms."
Source: Ted Cruz, "US Senator Ted Cruz Statement on Sen. Feinstein's Assault Weapons Ban of 2013," cruz.senate.gov, Jan. 24, 2013
"Before we start calling for more laws I think we ought to consider why we don't enforce the laws we have...
Well let's start with we know a whole bunch of people who have guns and aren't supposed to they're on a list and yet we're not doing anything about it. We're not prosecuting them. Many murders are committed by people who are not supposed to have guns and who have guns we know this, it's a fact, and yet these people aren't prosecuted..."
Source: "GOP Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina Tackles Gun Control Issue 24-hours after a Mass Shooting," wjbf.com, Oct. 2, 2015
"We have had 80,000 people fail a background check; 44 were prosecuted... Adding to the system that doesn't work does not make sense to me."
Source: Lauren Fox, "This Is Why Bringing a Gun-Control Debate Back to Congress Could Be Impossible," www.nationaljournal.com, June 24, 2015
"The Second Amendment is the last line of defense against tyranny and must be protected.
I was the first governor in America to have a concealed handgun license, and I’m a lifetime member of the NRA.
As President, I will:
• Defend the 2nd Amendment
• Oppose new gun control laws
• Protect the rights of gun owners from Big Government
• Oppose new gun restrictions, registrations, regulations & mandates
This issue is crystal clear. Abolishing guns because of reckless abusers makes as much sense as abolishing cars because some people drive drunk.
I'm a lifelong deer, duck, turkey, and pheasant hunter. But the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting — it's about preserving all the rights we possess as American citizens. Washington needs to understand this basic truth."
Source: Huckabee 2016, "Firearms, Freedom & the Second Amendment," www.mikehuckabee.com (accessed Aug. 19, 2015)
"There are many in Washington who give lip service to the Second Amendment, but vote to restrict gun ownership once they begin serving in public office. Gun control laws only restrict access to responsible gun ownership. High risk individuals will still be able to acquire firearms even with an increase in prevention. I do not support any proposed gun control law which would limit the right to gun ownership by those who are responsible, law-abiding citizens.
Politicians often give lip service to the 2nd Amendment but then go off to Washington and vote to restrict gun ownership. We need to send people to Washington that not only understand the 2nd amendment but the entire Bill of Rights."
Source: Rand Paul, "Protecting Gun Rights," paul.senate.gov (accessed Oct. 5, 2015)
"As Congress prepares to consider new gun control legislation, I stand firmly against any attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. As a concealed weapons permit holder, I value the freedom to exercise my Second Amendment right as protected by the Constitution and in accordance with gun laws designed to promote safe, responsible use. The right to bear arms is a unique and fundamental aspect of American liberty because, when exercised responsibly and in accordance with the laws in place, it makes our families and our property safer.
Last week, I announced I would join efforts to filibuster any gun control proposals that seek to restrict the rights of Americans who have never violated the law...
Current gun control proposals being discussed by Washington Democrats – by the admission of their own authors – would not have stopped the tragedies in Newtown or Aurora... any effective plan to deal with future violence must focus on addressing mental illness and identifying those Americans who should be forbidden to own guns."
Source: Marco Rubio, "Why I Support the Second Amendment - and Democrats Should Too," townhall.com, Apr. 4, 2013
Not Clearly Pro or Con
"I believe in the 2nd Amendment. Everybody has the right to keep and bear arms to either protect your family, protect yourselves, to be a hunter. The 2nd amendment is part of that Constitution. It's something I believe in. And, we're going to stand firm, very firm, for 2nd Amendment rights here in the state of Ohio."
Source: JohnKasich2010, "John Kasich Live Webcast – August 26th, 2009," YouTube.com, Sep. 8, 2009