The Candidates' Current Stance on Gun Control

By AHMET AKDAG
On October 12, 2016

Photo courtesy of M&R Glasgow, Flickr

The second amendment and gun control have been a large part of this year’s election. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have established a clear position on their respective gun control policies. Major points brought up by both candidates involve combatting armed criminals, mentally unstable people and possible terrorists albeit in opposing methods.

Trump has insisted on the importance of the right to bear arms while stating support for improving mental health services, which he believes will reduce mass shootings. Trump has also said he intends to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals and those on terrorist watch lists specifically through more policing and better tracking of suspicious buyers.

Trump also looks to have the national right to carry a concealed weapon permit in all 50 states. Trump emphasizes that the right to carry is a right not a privilege, unlike a drivers license.

Clinton’s gun control policy emphasizes comprehensive background checks and closing loopholes regarding the sale of firearms. She also wants to bring back the assault weapon ban and supports taking guns from the hands of criminals and possible terrorists. Additionally, she supports legislation that bans mentally ill people who have been involuntarily admitted to an institution from being allowed to purchase a firearm. Finally, she supports police reform to improve the criminal justice system. 

“[T]he second amendment ... is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton, " said Trump during the second Presidential debate on Sunday. 

The NRA has stood behind Trump due to his statements in favor of protecting the rights of gun owners. Trump has also stood in support of the stop-and-frisk practice, which he believes helps take guns off the streets and away from gangs.

Clinton responded in Sunday’s debate by saying, “I respect the second amendment. But I believe there should be comprehensive background checks and we should close the gun show loophole and close the online loophole.”

In the previous debate, Clinton also mentioned improving community and police relations to help prevent firearms from ending up in the hands of gangs, opposing Trump’s plan for broader policing powers.

Clinton is also facing criticism from gun rights supporters, the NRA and even gun manufacturers for her stances. Clinton accused the NRA of blocking sensible legislation and called on NRA members “to form a different organization and take back the second amendment from the extremists.”

Clinton’s plans to close loopholes also include what is called the Charleston loophole, referring to a 3-day period gun buyers must wait before they can purchase the firearm. This has been criticized by gun sellers.

Overall, the position of the candidates regarding gun control seem to fall within the established platform of their respective parties. The Republican candidate supporting the right to bear arms with support from the NRA while the Democrat candidate supports more background checks and firearm restrictions. Both have stated support of fighting violence and crime, especially by preventing certain groups of people from buying firearms, but have proposed different approaches to achieve this. 

aakdag@ramapo.edu

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