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[Daniel Nass]

Election 2020

Where the 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand on Guns

We polled every campaign on an array of gun policies. Here’s what they said.

Gun reform has received little attention in past presidential races, but it’s a key issue among Democrats vying for the White House in 2020. Several candidates have released briefs detailing how they’d handle gun policy from the Oval Office, and a couple — namely Cory Booker and Eric Swalwell — have made conquering gun violence a centerpiece of their campaigns.

To bring some clarity to the discussion, The Trace surveyed the 21 candidates who have qualified for the Democratic debates on a range of gun policies. We picked issues ranging from the mainstream (universal background checks) to the wonky (the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s authority over firearms). We also asked each candidate whether or not they own a gun.

In order to do an apples-to-apples comparison among the candidates, we asked yes-or-no questions and did our best to slot every response into one of those categories. If a candidate’s answer was ambiguous, we labeled it with a question mark, and we noted any candidates for whom no specific position could be discerned. We also provided space for the contenders to explain their positions in their own words.

In an earlier era, we would have scrutinized these candidates’ relationships with the National Rifle Association, but “NRA-friendly Democrat” is now an oxymoron. Every candidate on this list who’s been graded by the NRA received an “F” in the most recent evaluation (except for Steve Bullock, who has a “C”).

So far, nine candidates’ campaigns have submitted responses to The Trace’s questionnaire. For those who haven’t, we’ve drawn on a candidate’s public statements, campaign website, and/or legislative record to fill in the blanks. We’ll update this page throughout the primary season, whenever a new campaign responds to our questionnaire or a candidate takes a public position on any of the issues we’re tracking. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find a list of all the updates we’ve made since publication. If you spot something that we missed, please let us know.

1 of 11

🔗 Do you own a gun?

In 2012, Donald Trump told The Washington Times that he owns two guns: a .45-caliber Heckler & Koch, and a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson. Among the Democrats who may take him on in 2020, at least nine say they own firearms.

Answer Comments
“Michael owns a hunting shotgun.” – Told to The Trace
“Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” Field and Stream
Booker doesn’t own a gun, according to a Post survey. The Washington Post
“Having the experiences that I’ve had in Montana, be it in the outdoors hunting, being a gun owner…” The Missoulian
“Pete Buttigieg … owns two antique guns that he doesn’t use.” The Washington Post
Castro doesn’t own a gun, according to a Post survey. The Washington Post
“Former congressman John Delaney (Md.) also owns a firearm.” The Washington Post
Gabbard doesn’t own a gun, according to a Post survey. The Washington Post
“She told Newsday in 2009 that she stored two rifles under her bed… A campaign spokeswoman said that Gillibrand no longer owns firearms, but it is unclear when or how she got rid of them.” The Washington Post
“I am a gun owner, and I own a gun for probably the reason a lot of people do — for personal safety. I was a career prosecutor.” Politico
“John Hickenlooper owns a shotgun and a rifle, both used for bird hunting.” The Washington Post
Told to The Trace
Klobuchar doesn’t own a gun, according to a Post survey. The Washington Post
“O’Rourke inherited several [guns] from his great-uncle, a former sheriff’s deputy and sharpshooter, but he said they’re not in operating condition.” The Washington Post
“Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) has a Remington 12-gauge shotgun that he won in a raffle and hasn’t used (when he hunts, an aide said, he borrows a gun).” The Washington Post
Told to The Trace
“No, but several members of my family do, and I’ve done recreational shooting from time to time.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
Yang doesn’t own a gun, according to a Post survey. The Washington Post

No information found

2 of 11

🔗 Do you support a new federal ban on assault-style weapons? Would you support a buyback program for existing assault-style weapons?

Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were banned at the federal level from 1994 to 2004, when the law expired. Research shows that during the ban, shootings that killed six or more people occurred at a lower rate than in the decades before or after. Experts rank assault weapons bans as one of the most effective measures for reducing mass shootings, though recent polls indicate that public support is mixed. Under a buyback program (which was not a provision of the previous assault weapons ban), the federal government would compensate gun owners for their newly illegal weapons.

Answer Comments
“Michael supports a well-crafted assault weapons ban that would successfully get weapons of war off the streets.” – Told to The Trace
“He’ll begin by again championing legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – bans he authored in 1994.” Campaign website
Booker’s gun violence plan says that he will “ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.” Medium
“When I view an assault weapons ban, it’s sort of military, semiautomatic, typically removable clips, a magazine of 10 or more — it’s like the AR-15s.” AP
“Ban military-style assault weapons.” Campaign website
“I think renewing the assault weapons ban … is very reasonable.” YouTube
“I support things like gun buybacks.” CNN
“Assault weapons need to be banned.” NYC.gov
“Delaney cosponsored the Assault Weapons Ban Act, which would ban semiautomatic weapons that have military-style features, including the AR-15. This legislation also includes a ban on high-capacity magazines.” Campaign website
“She has long called for reinstating a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines.” Campaign website
“I would ban the bump stocks, the large magazines, and the military-style assault weapons.” The Washington Examiner
Harris’ gun violence policy page calls for an “assault weapons ban.” Campaign website
“As President, Hickenlooper would support and sign into law the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.” Medium
“In 1994, I voted for the assault weapons ban – a vote that cost me my seat in Congress, but a vote I have always known was right … I would vote the same way today.” – Told to The Trace
“Amy supports a package of gun violence policies including … banning bump stocks, high capacity ammunition feeding devices and assault weapons.” Campaign website
“Stop selling assault weapons that were designed, engineered, and sold to the United States military for the express purpose of killing people as effectively, as efficiently, in as great a number as possible.” Houston Chronicle
“We have to get these weapons of war off the street with a ban on these types of weapons. They’re for war.” CNBC
“Bernie believes assault weapons and high-capacity magazines have no place on our streets and must be banned. Voluntary buybacks may be one option to remove from society those weapons already in private hands.” – Told to The Trace
“I’m the only 2020 candidate calling not only for a ban but a mandatory national buyback of military-style assault weapons. I first called for this in May 2018 and I’m the author of HR 2959, the Freedom from Assault Weapons Act.” – Told to The Trace
“We need to put in place real laws to protect our loved ones, starting with a federal ban on assault weapons. I’ve also supported legislation that would allow for the use of federal funds to support a voluntary buy back program for these weapons of war.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
Yang’s gun safety platform calls for licensing for semiautomatic rifles, and a buyback program for “anyone who wants to voluntarily give up their firearm,” but no ban. Campaign website
3 of 11

🔗 Should background checks be required for all firearm sales, including sales between private owners?

Currently, federal law exempts private sales from mandatory background checks — it’s a provision widely referred to as the “gun show loophole,” though it applies to all transactions with unlicensed sellers. An estimated 22 percent of gun sales took place without background checks in 2015, and private sales are a common route for prohibited purchasers to acquire guns. Universal background checks have overwhelming public support, though research on their efficacy is mixed.

Answer Comments
Told to The Trace
In the Obama administration, Biden led a gun safety task force that recommended Congress “pass legislation that goes beyond closing the ‘gun show loophole’ to require background checks for all firearm sales.” Obama White House
Booker’s gun violence plan says that he will “ensure a background check on every gun sale by closing the loophole on guns show and online sales and the so-called ‘Charleston Loophole.'” Medium
“I think universal background checks would make a difference.” CNN
“He understands that solving the gun violence epidemic requires a comprehensive approach, and that begins with universal background checks as the foundation for reducing gun violence.” Campaign website
“I think that there are reasonable steps that we can take: closing the gun show loophole…” YouTube
“More thorough background checks across the board.” NYC.gov
De Blasio belongs to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose members pledge to advocate for policies including “comprehensive background checks.” Mayors Against Illegal Guns
“Delaney supports requiring background checks for every gun sale.” Campaign website
“She has long called for … requiring comprehensive pre-purchase background checks, closing the gun-show loophole.” Campaign website
“We need to pass universal background checks.” Campaign website
Harris’ gun violence policy page calls for “universal background checks.” Campaign website
“We need a national system of universal background checks to address the state-by-state patchwork and loopholes.” Medium
“It’s time to require background checks on all gun sales nationwide, and I will fight for that legislation when I am elected president.” – Told to The Trace
“Amy supports a package of gun violence policies including instituting universal background checks by closing the gun show loophole.” Campaign website
“Universal background checks without exceptions. Close the boyfriend loophole, the Charleston loophole, the gun show loophole, the online loophole — no more loopholes and no more excuses for refusing to close them.” Houston Chronicle
“We have to have a universal background check so we know everyone who is trying to get a gun including people at gun shows and personal sales — we have to close those loopholes up.” CNBC
“Bernie is a proud cosponsor of the Background Checks Expansion Act which would require a background check for any sale or transfer of a gun.” – Told to The Trace
“I cosponsored and voted for H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, and as President would urge Congress to send me such a bill so that I could sign it into law.” – Told to The Trace
“We need universal background checks. I am a cosponsor of a bill that would expand federal background checks to all gun sales, including for private sellers.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
Yang’s platform calls for a licensing system in which all applicants must “pass a federal background check, eliminating the gun show loophole.” Campaign website
4 of 11

🔗 Do you believe the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller should be overturned?

This 2008 Supreme Court decision established that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own a firearm for self-defense, rather than applying specifically to militias. In the decade since, the ruling has had a limited impact on existing gun control laws. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented on the ruling, told The New York Times, “I thought Heller was a very bad decision.”

Answer Comments
“As President, Michael would support the efforts of states and the District of Columbia to enact common sense gun safety legislation. He would also fight for federal legislation to do the same.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
“I have and always will be a defender of our Second Amendment rights. It is my duty to protect that freedom.” Independent Record
“The Supreme Court has interpreted the second amendment to say that people have a right to bear arms, regardless of whether they’re in a militia or not. So you’re not gonna get rid of the second amendment. People are gonna have the right to bear arms.” YouTube
In 2008, Gillibrand signed an amicus brief arguing that the Second Amendment protects individual gun rights. However, she has recently disavowed her past record on guns. CNN
“The Heller decision was a radical departure from established, longstanding interpretation of the Second Amendment.” – Told to The Trace
“I believe that the Heller decision was wrongly decided… [But] we can pass commonsense gun responsibility legislation despite the Heller decision.” – Told to The Trace
“Beto believes Heller was wrongly decided. [The] vast majority of Americans believe in sensible gun reform, including universal background checks, closing gun sale loop holes, banning assault weapons, instituting red flag laws. The courts shouldn’t be an obstacle to these reforms.” – Told to The Trace
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed American’s constitutional right to bear arms. I believe the best way to protect that right is for Congress to support reasonable laws and regulations which will make it harder for criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill to obtain guns.” Record-Courier
“In 2004, Bernie voted against a bill that would repeal the District of Columbia’s laws that prohibit the sale and possession of handguns, handgun ammunition and semiautomatic weapons not banned by federal law. In 1999, Sanders voted against two amendments to weaken the District of Columbia’s gun laws.” – Told to The Trace
“I don’t think that’s necessary. In that decision, Justice Scalia acknowledged that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated.” – Told to The Trace
Warren responded to The Trace’s questionnaire but did not answer this question.
Told to The Trace
“Responsible gun owners should continue to enjoy the right to bear arms.” Campaign website

No information found

5 of 11

🔗 The majority of gun violence occurs in cities and disproportionately affects people of color. Do you have a plan for reducing community gun violence?

Mass shootings dominate the headlines, but make up only a small fraction of gun violence — most shootings attract little media attention. More than half of homicide victims in 2017 were black, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and guns were used in the vast majority of those killings. While on-the-ground violence prevention strategies have been shown to reduce crime, these programs often struggle to survive on limited state and local funding.

Answer Comments
“Michael believes gun violence is a national epidemic that continues to plague communities across the country. He has announced four common-sense priorities that he believes will reduce gun violence and keep guns out of the wrong hands: expanding and improving universal background checks, banning bumpstocks, limiting the size of magazines, and keeping weapons of war off the streets. He strongly supports H.R. 8 and believes we should put pressure on Republicans in the Senate to pass the bill.” – Told to The Trace
“Cory will direct new federal funding to support evidence-based programs similar to those he supported as mayor of Newark… Additionally, Cory will provide grant funding to local law enforcement to combat gun violence to adopt new technology, including acoustic gunshot detection systems.” Medium
Buttigieg belongs to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose members pledge to “invest in victim services and neighborhood-level violence intervention programs.” Mayors Against Illegal Guns
“I think of all the lives that are being lost to gun violence. That’s a national emergency.” Dallas News
As mayor of New York City, de Blasio put $12.7 million towards a “violence interruptor” program in 2014. New York Daily News
He also launched in the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence in 2017. NYC.gov
Gabbard co-sponsored a bill that would establish a House Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention. Congress.gov
“Fines paid by law-breaking gun corporations… will be invested in expanding access to mental health treatment, trauma informed care, and community-based violence intervention programs.” Campaign website
“Gun violence is disproportionately high in dense, underserved urban areas, particularly within impoverished communities of color. Hickenlooper knows the only way to address this violence is through a holistic approach … we also need to invest in economic development and proven, local community-based strategies and services to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. These programs will hire individuals from the local communities to participate in Group Violence Intervention, Hospital-based Violence Intervention and other holistic programs that have been proven to work.” Medium
“Our approach at the national level should rely on a multi-part strategy: investing in a public health approach as we have done in Washington state; supporting violence intervention programs that have been so successful in places like Oakland, California and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and strengthening our national gun laws and their enforcement, given that large percentages of guns involved in community violence actually originate from out-of-state sources, particularly states with lax gun laws.” – Told to The Trace
“Beto will provide support for communities through public education around firearm safety, and community-based violence retrenchment programs, equipping violence interrupters with the support they need to change behavior at the local level.” – Told to The Trace
“Bernie understands that inequality and gun violence are connected… We will build upon evidence-based programs and practices where gun violence prevention has been successful… You cannot have a conversation about gun violence disproportionately impacting communities of color without talking about gun violence at the hands of the police… Bernie believes we must invest in community policing. Only when we get properly trained, diverse officers into the communities, working within neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer together.” – Told to The Trace
“Large public investments in education, job training, job creation, health care, gang violence prevention, youth empowerment and after-school programs, and requiring police agencies to use body cameras and reflect the diversity of the localities they serve.” – Told to The Trace
Warren responded to The Trace’s questionnaire but did not answer this question.
“I propose a U.S. Department of Peace that would focus on reducing violence in our homes and in our streets… I would work with and support local law enforcement agencies to help stem the tide of illegal guns and spread best practices by cities who are reducing illegal guns and make these ideas available to other cities and localities.” – Told to The Trace
“Initiate and fund mindfulness programs in schools and correctional facilities, which have been demonstrated to reduce violent behavior.” Campaign website

No information found

6 of 11

🔗 Should all prospective gun buyers be required to obtain a license from the federal government?

Currently, 14 states and Washington, D.C., have some form of licensing requirement in place. These may require prospective buyers to obtain a permit to purchase a gun, maintain a license as long as they own one, or undergo mandatory safety training before they are able to buy a firearm. Experts rank gun licensing among the most effective policies for reducing gun deaths.

Answer Comments
“Michael agrees with the goal of keeping firearms out of the wrong hands and believes that everyone should be required to go through a background check.” – Told to The Trace
“Gun licensing will not change whether or not people buy what weapons — what kinds of weapons they can buy, where they can use them, how they can store them.” CNN
“Individuals could seek a gun license at a designated local office… They would submit fingerprints, provide basic background information, and demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course. The FBI would then verify submission of required materials and run a comprehensive background check before issuing a federal gun license, after which the license-holder could freely purchase and own firearms. The license would be valid for up to five years before renewal with regular, automatic checks to flag non-compliance with license terms.” Medium
Buttigieg’s campaign platform says he will “establish a nationwide gun licensing system.” Campaign website
Delaney co-sponsored a bill that would provide federal grants to state and local governments for handgun licensing programs. Congress.gov
When asked if she supported firearm licensing, Gillibrand said, “No, I think there is a better approach.” The Washington Examiner
When asked how she liked Cory Booker’s proposal for federal gun licensing, she answered, “I like the idea.” YouTube
“Gun owners will obtain a national gun license based on eligibility requirements including a background check. This license would be renewed online every five years. Gun owners will have a three-year grace period to meeting the licensing requirements.” Medium
“I am open to proposals for licensing requirements to purchase firearms. Research makes clear that states with licensing laws see reduced gun violence.” – Told to The Trace
“Beto believes licensing is a good and important idea and would fight every day to enact the measures upon which there is already consensus — and work to build consensus around others.” – Told to The Trace
“Bernie supports the right of states, localities and tribal governments to implement licensing programs.” – Told to The Trace
“We should create a federal licensing program for gun owners, requiring them to satisfactorily complete a training program with both written and practical exams, the same way most states do with cars and hunters.” – Told to The Trace
“I believe gun buyers should be required to obtain a firearms license from the federal government before purchasing a gun. We have that requirement in Massachusetts, and I am a cosponsor of Senator Markey’s bill to create incentives for similar laws nationwide.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
“As President, I will promote a stringent, tiered licensing system for gun ownership.” Campaign website

No information found

7 of 11

🔗 Do you support Extreme Risk Protection Order laws?

ERPO laws, also known as red flag laws, allow family members and law enforcement to petition a judge to have guns removed from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. Since the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, 11 states have passed their own red flag laws, and several others are actively considering similar legislation. At the federal level, a proposed bill would create grants to encourage state, local, and tribal governments to adopt red flag laws.

Answer Comments
Told to The Trace
Biden stood next to Governor John Carney as he signed the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act, a red flag law named for Biden’s late son. Delaware Online
“Cory will incentivize states to pass ERPO laws.” Medium
“I think red flag laws … would make a difference.” CNN
“Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides, and Pete wants to disrupt easy access to firearms through measures including Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as red flag laws, and waiting periods.” Campaign website
“Taking meaningful steps to address gun violence, such as instituting … extreme risk protection orders.” Campaign website
De Blasio belongs to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose members pledge to advocate for policies including red flag laws. Mayors Against Illegal Guns
“Delaney is calling for a national extreme risk protection order law that would provide grants to support state, local, and tribal governments that adopt extreme risk laws.” Campaign website
Gillibrand co-sponsored the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act this year. Congress.gov
Harris co-sponsored the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act this year. Congress.gov
“This type of state-level legislation needs to be incentivized… As President, Hickenlooper will create a grant program to help states give local law enforcement the resources they need to implement extreme risk protection orders.” Medium
“Washington state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order has been an enormous success, and is a model for the nation.” – Told to The Trace
Klobuchar co-sponsored the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act this year. Congress.gov
“Let’s adopt red flag laws — not one city or one state at a time, but for this entire country.” Houston Chronicle
“Bernie supports legislation to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers and ‘red flag’ laws such as the one in place in Vermont which allow for temporary removal of firearms from those deemed by a state court a danger to themselves or others.” – Told to The Trace
“California has helped lead the way on this, and we should have a federal equivalent.” – Told to The Trace
“I support extreme risk protection order laws to temporarily keep guns away from people at risk of committing violence.” – Told to The Trace
“We need to be proactive to prevent violence.” – Told to The Trace
Yang’s platform says he will “prevent dangerous individuals from owning guns,” but does not mention red flag laws specifically. Campaign website

No information found

8 of 11

🔗 Should the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act be repealed?

This law, passed in 2005, shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability when their products are used to commit crimes. Since its passage, the law has prevented most lawsuits against gun makers and dealers from proceeding to trial.

Answer Comments
“Michael believes that gun manufacturers who act irresponsibly or negligently should be held responsible for their actions. He would support repealing or amending the PLCAA if it is necessary to ensure that they are.” – Told to The Trace
As a senator, Biden voted against PLCAA. U.S. Senate
“Cory will fight to end gun industry immunity by repealing PLCAA and allow victims of gun violence to have their day in court when a gun dealer or manufacturer has acted negligently.” Medium
Buttigieg’s campaign platform says he will “hold the gun industry accountable.” Campaign website
“Yes, and there certainly should not be specific loopholes created only for gun manufacturers that protect them more than any other business.” WBALTV
Gillibrand co-sponsored a bill to repeal PLCAA this year. Congress.gov
Harris co-sponsored a bill to repeal PLCAA in 2016. Congress.gov
“The PLCAA needs to be repealed to put gun manufacturers in the same category as every other business. No private enterprise should be immune from liability.” Medium
“I voted against legal immunity for gun manufacturers when I served in Congress, and oppose it today.” – Told to The Trace
Klobuchar co-sponsored a bill to repeal PLCAA this year. Congress.gov
Told to The Trace
Ryan voted in favor of PLCAA in 2005, but has since reversed many of his positions on gun issues. Congress.gov
“When Bernie is in the White House, we will pass the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act into law to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act’s prevention of lawsuits against the gun industry.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
“I’ve co-sponsored Senator Blumenthal’s Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, finally giving victims of gun violence their day in court.” – Told to The Trace
“If manufacturers and dealers were held more accountable, it would encourage them to be more proactive for safety.” – Told to The Trace
“We should institute a system of fines anytime a firearm gets used in a mass shooting on the gun manufacturer.” Twitter

No information found

9 of 11

🔗 Should the Consumer Product Safety Commission have regulatory authority over the products of gun manufacturers?

The Consumer Product Safety Act, the 1972 statute which established the country’s dedicated consumer safety agency, explicitly excludes firearms and ammunition from the oversight function that the agency wields over most other consumer goods. As a result, the CPSC cannot currently collect data on accidental gun injuries, work with the industry to establish safety standards, or issue recalls for defective firearms.

Answer Comments
“Michael would support such an effort, but he would first start with advancing universal background checks, which the public broadly supports and would be an effective way of reducing gun violence.” – Told to The Trace
In the Obama administration, Biden led a gun safety task force that recommended Obama issue an executive order authorizing the CPSC to “review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes.” NCSL
“Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms.” Medium
Told to The Trace
“I am open to considering this as part of a larger strategy of ensuring that federal agencies that are responsible for enforcing firearm laws have the resources and authority necessary to do their jobs properly.” – Told to The Trace
Told to The Trace
“We know that gun manufacturers are not making the safety updates they could. Gun manufacturers must be held accountable.” – Told to The Trace
“We must empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission to implement safety standards that must be met by all firearms manufactured or in commerce in the United States, which would eliminate dangerous junk guns.” – Told to The Trace
Warren responded to The Trace’s questionnaire but did not answer this question.
Told to The Trace
“Create federal safety guidelines for gun manufacture and distribution, similar to federal car safety requirements, with strict penalties for the violation of these guidelines.” Campaign website

No information found

10 of 11

🔗 Should Congress appropriate federal funds to study gun violence?

Since 1996, language in a congressional appropriations bill has served as a de facto prohibition on the CDC’s ability to fund research on gun violence as a public health issue. Last year, new language clarified that the CDC may, in fact, direct its funding to the study of gun violence, and on June 19, the House passed a spending bill that included $50 million in gun violence funding, the first time since the 1990s that the subject has received an earmark in a congressional bill. (The bill is unlikely to make it through the Senate.)

Answer Comments
Told to The Trace
In the Obama administration, Biden led a gun safety task force that recommended Congress provide $10 million to the CDC for gun violence research. Obama White House
“After nearly two decades of shameful inaction, Cory will make a significant investment into research on gun violence, including into evidence-based approaches to reducing gun suicide.” Medium
“I think if we ever looked at this as a public health issue, and not a political issue, we could make strides.” Fox News
“Though the ban on CDC research into gun violence was finally lifted in 2018, Congress still has not provided funding. Providing full support for federal research would help prevent violence and save lives.” Campaign website
Gabbard co-sponsored a bill that would remove restrictions on the CDC’s ability to fund research about gun violence. Congress.gov
Gillibrand co-sponsored a bill which would give the CDC $10 million in funding for each year between 2018 and 2023 to study gun violence. Congress.gov
Harris and other attorneys general signed a letter asking Congress to “direct funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the purpose of studying the causes and prevention of gun-related injuries and death.” Letter
“A minimum of $50 million.” – Told to The Trace
“Yes, Congress absolutely should appropriate federal funds to study gun violence. Gun violence is a public health crisis that can be prevented, and the federal ban on gun violence research was a mistake and should be eliminated.” – Told to The Trace
“Senator Klobuchar will direct the CDC to study gun violence as a public health issue and help identify approaches to reduce gun violence and save lives.” Medium
“We will also fully invest in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and research into gun violence so we can not only continue to understand what’s happening but begin to address it.” Houston Chronicle
In 2017, Ryan co-sponsored a bill that would remove restrictions on the CDC’s ability to research gun violence. Congress.gov
“Bernie believes we need more research on gun violence, suicide, and especially the epidemic of veteran suicides. We will provide significant funding to both CDC and NIH to study gun violence.” – Told to The Trace
“We should repeal the Dickey Amendment entirely so that the CDC and NIH can conduct gun violence research unfettered. I agree with the call by Everytown for Gun Safety and the American Medical Association for Congress to appropriate $50 million annually in federal funding for research into the causes and effects of gun violence, and my budget would reflect this.” – Told to The Trace
“I supported the recent efforts by House Democratic appropriators to provide $50 million to the CDC for gun violence research.” – Told to The Trace
“The restriction on studying gun violence as a public health issue should be removed.” – Told to The Trace

No information found

11 of 11

🔗 If Congress does not pass new gun regulations while you are president, would you enact new restrictions via executive order?

Executive orders, which presidents may issue to direct the operations of the federal government, have been used with increasing frequency in recent administrations. President Obama announced a range of gun reform measures via executive order in 2013, following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and another set in 2016.

Answer Comments
Told to The Trace
“The president and I are determined to take action… There is executive action that can be taken.” The New York Times
“Beginning on Day One in office, Cory will take executive action to build on ongoing efforts and take concrete steps forward — closing dangerous loopholes in gun sales, cracking down on unscrupulous dealers and gun manufacturers, and investing in communities impacted by gun violence.” Medium
Bullock criticized Obama’s decision to use executive actions on gun control in 2016: “This discussion is too important for the president to circumvent Congress with the stroke of a pen.” Independent Record
“I would certainly explore executive action, but we need legislation because it’s going to be more robust.” Press gaggle
“Large, bipartisan majorities support a broad range of common sense gun safety measures, but political partisanship has prevented the government from taking the necessary steps. Delaney believes it is possible to respect the Second Amendment and still adopt meaningful reforms.” Campaign website
“If Congress fails to send comprehensive gun safety legislation to Kamala’s desk within her first 100 days as president – including universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and the repeal of the NRA’s corporate gun manufacturer immunity shield – she will take executive action to keep our kids and communities safe.” Campaign website
“As president, I’m prepared to exercise executive authority to address the crisis of gun violence through the following actions: update the definition of ‘engaged in business’ of dealing in firearms for gun seller’s licensing and background checks; strengthen reporting to NICS; use existing DOJ grant programs to fund states’ implementation of extreme risk laws and to fund violence intervention programs; direct ATF to provide a comprehensive report on firearms trafficking; and aggressively enforce the law against corrupt gun dealers and manufacturers, including by revoking their federal licenses when appropriate.” – Told to The Trace
Inslee responded to The Trace’s questionnaire but did not answer this question.
“Senator Klobuchar leads legislation in the Senate to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’ by preventing people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms, and she will take executive action to get it done immediately.” Medium
“Beto will not hesitate to use executive action, reversing the Trump administration’s policy of allowing fugitives to purchase guns and undoing regulatory action that allows access to the 3D printing of plastic guns; directing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine, by regulation, who qualifies as a dealer; and providing ATF with the resources it needs to provide adequate oversight of the gun industry.” – Told to The Trace
“If Congress fails to act on gun safety, Bernie will take executive action to expand background checks, hold manufacturers and dealers accountable, end loopholes that put guns in the wrong hands, and require government contractors to disclose political spending.” – Told to The Trace
Swalwell responded to The Trace’s questionnaire but did not answer this question.
“As President, I would use every administrative tool, including executive orders, to address it.” – Told to The Trace
“We must take action to prevent any more Sandy Hooks. Our children deserve to be safe in their schools and citizens safe in their communities.” – Told to The Trace

No information found

Mayors Against Illegal Guns is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, which is among The Trace’s funders.

Additional reporting by Tom Kutsch. All photos from AP Images. Icons by Eleonor Wang from flaticon.com.