Sunday, October 18, 2015

Democratic Candidates on Firearms

Since most of you seemed to enjoy my post about Donald Trump on firearms, I figured I would take a look at the other party, but lump all the candidates into one post.  With firearms being such a widely talked about topic, it is an extremely important topic that anyone running for office needs to consider, whether that be to get rid of them or control them, or to protect the Second Amendment.

The Democratic Party in the United States is generally known for being against firearms.  One of the biggest displays of this was the infamous Clinton Assault Weapons Ban in 1994.  If you haven’t noticed, that name is back again for the same party.  Let’s take a look at each candidate that was present in the last CNN/Facebook Democratic Debate.

Lincoln Chafee – 74th Governor or Rhode Island
Rhode Island is no doubt a state that is located near some the worst areas in US in terms of being able to own a firearm.  Chafee has spoken strongly yet carefully about common sense gun legislation and adherence to the Second Amendment.  He states that, “the freedoms granted to America in our Constitution should never be abridged.”

During the first debate on CNN, he stated that he wants to work with the gun lobbyists to find a common ground and that he does not want to “take away” guns, but find something mutually agreeable.  This doesn’t sound extremely left winged, which could be considered a plus to most readers.  In the past, he did vote NO on both prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and banning lawsuits against gun manufactures for gun violence.  Take that as you will.

Martin O’Malley – 61st Governor of Maryland
It’s no secret that Baltimore has recently been through some troubled times.  That was one of the things that O’Malley had both going against him and for him in the first debate.  We can start out by saying this: when asked at the debate who his biggest enemy was, he replied back with saying, “the National Rifle Association”.

NBC Washington stated that “Maryland’s guns laws are now the strictest in the nation.”  The bill bans 45 types of firearms, limits magazine capacity to ten rounds, and anyone buying a handgun will have to submit fingerprints to have to obtain a license for one.  People with concealed carry permits may be used to the fingerprint thing, but this is just to buy one, not carry one.  He also has been advocating “smart gun” technology which would prevent unauthorized users from using firearms.

With all that being said, and looking at Baltimore, it is safe to say that he is probably one of the poorest choices for protecting the Second Amendment.

Jim Webb – US Senator from Virginia
While watching the debate, I was shocked by Webb’s overall pro-firearm view.  During the debate he stated, “There are people at high levels in this government who have bodyguards 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The average American does not have that, and deserves the right to be able to protect their family.”  For this stance of his, and some other stances, he is not really liked as a Democratic candidate, and based off the other candidates’ views, one could see why.

Webb voted YES to allow firearms to be in checked in baggage on Amtrak trains.  He voted YES on prohibiting foreign and UN aid that restricts US gun ownership.  He co-sponsored the Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act which, in short, allows veterans to register unlicensed firearms acquired for abroad.  He co-sponsored banning a gun registration and trigger lock law in Washington DC.

There are more instances of Webb acting like this.  He is probably the most right wing minded Democratic candidate out of the lineup that we have currently.

Bernie Sanders – US Senator from Vermont
Sanders is much talked about these days.  Since he is a likely candidate to be competing for President, it’s important to take a look at his view on Firearms.  During the debate, he did mostly speak against the Second Amendment, but not as heavily as some of the others.  In fact, he actually took some heat from his past “pro” gun ideas.

During the debate, he was asked about holding gun manufactures legally responsible for mass shootings.  He responded as follows:

“…do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible?  I don't.  On the other hand, where you have manufacturers and where you have gun shops knowingly giving guns to criminals or aiding and abetting that, of course we should take action.”

Sanders wants to “deal with the straw-man purchasing issue”.  (That is someone who purchases a firearm from an FFL legally for someone else to own.)  He supports a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons, banning the “gun show loophole”, and instant background checks.  He voted YES on the assault weapons ban in 1994, and on a magazine limit to ten rounds.  He voted NO on decreasing a gun waiting period from three days to one.

However, he has done some “strange” things for a Democrat.  He voted against the Brady Bill, voted YES on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains, voted YES on prohibiting foreign and UN aid that restricts US gun ownership, voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers, and voted YES on prohibiting suing gun makers and sellers for gun misuse.

While he is no Jim Webb, he has some moments that are a little more pro-gun than some of the others like O’Malley and…

Hillary Clinton – 67th US Secretary of State
Now for the moment of truth.  Yes, I saved her for last.  We all know what this last name has done for the Second Amendment in the past, so let’s see what it may mean now.  In short, she is not too happy with anything that goes bang.  Before we continue, it can clearly be seen the Clinton changes her mind A LOT.  That was even brought up right away in the debate.  Let’s keep that in mind.

While she changed her mind in 2008, in 2000 she was for a national gun registry.  She has stated that she wants to bring back the 1994 assault weapon ban, as well as give local police access to federal gun tracking information.  She has supported the licensing and registration of all handgun sales.

She voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence, and NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.  She is also for “smart gun” technology.

She is very much against illegal guns and illegal gun dealers.  That isn’t a bad thing at all, but what can be considered “illegal” could be questionable.  A stolen firearm trying to be sold?  That should be considered illegal.  An AK-47 you purchased from an FFL being sold to your best friend or family member?  That should not.

Clinton advocates big time for keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.  I am sure ANY responsible firearm owner can agree with that.  She advocates firearm safety, especially when involving children.  Again, nothing too bad about any of that, but how it will be gone being done about is the question.

All in all, we have some similar views amongst the candidates, and some very different ones.  From most pro-Second Amendment, to most anti, I would have to rate them as follows.

1 – Jim Webb (most pro)
2 – Lincoln Chafee
3 – Bernie Sanders
4 – Hillary Clinton
5 – Martin O’Malley (most anti)

It may be surprising to see that Hillary is not the worst.  Granted, Hillary could be the worst, but O’Malley’s factual record proves that for now, he is the worst.  There is also a big jump in views when it comes to Webb.  All in all, none of these candidates (save for maybe Webb) have my support in terms of the Second Amendment.  Let’s see how this all continues.

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Most information came from On The Issues, an excellent source for quick info an where someone stands, with resources and references.  Cover picture background courtesy of CNN.


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