Nicholas Fronsaglia ’19 – Inside Politics Participant
According to Mass Shooting Tracker, in 2015 there were 372 mass shootings (a shooting where four or more people were shot and/or killed, excluding the shooter), resulting in 475 deaths and 1,870 injuries. These numbers have brought gun violence and control to the forefront of American politics. Both Republicans and Democrats are taking strong sides for and against stricter gun regulation to try and prevent these numbers from getting worse in the future. These discussions have brought the highly debated Second Amendment into hot contention. Public outcry has been pushing for strict regulations on gun ownership and purchasing, whereas groups such as the National Rifle Association have been standing strong for the protection of their right to bare arms. Each candidate has taken their own side on the issue, making it an issue that voters are paying attention to as election season heats up. Here are the views of the current Presidential candidates:
Trump takes the stance that it is not the guns that are killing people. He believes we should be worried about people who have access to guns and also have mental health issues. He believes that we should still have the freedom to own guns but agrees that mentally unstable individuals are the main issue behind mass shootings. He deflects the problems of background checks, illegal gun sales, and loopholes in the system to the fact that mass shooters are mentally unstable. Trump is also a strong believer that regulations are useless because gun violence is inevitable.
Cruz takes the far-right view summarizing that Obama is coming for our guns and if we do not stand by our Second Amendment Rights, then all firearms will be lost. Cruz believes that the Second Amendment is the greatest protection from government tyranny. In April of 2013, Cruz voted against banning of high capacity magazines, or magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets at a time.
Clinton has a long history of pro-gun regulation. She is seen as an ally for the pro-gun regulation advocates. One of her major points is that the gun manufactures should be held responsible for what their products are capable of. She also believes that strict regulations will help keep children safer. Clinton attempts to appease both sides by stating there is an explicit difference between simply halting all gun use and keeping guns away from the people who wish to do harm with them. Finally, she also wants to allow states to have the ability to make their own gun laws.
Similar to Clinton, Sanders also wishes that gun manufacturer immunity be reversed. He wants there to be instant background checks upon purchase that would not allow the sale of guns to those with criminal records or those who are deemed unstable to own a gun. One of Sanders biggest issues with the sale of guns is the gun show loophole which allows those who might not have been able to get their gun from a retailer to acquire it in the form of a private sale. Sanders is also a very strong supporter in banning semiautomatic guns. Sanders is considered an “F” voter by the NRA meaning he has a pro-gun control voting record.
With constant gun violence across the country, gun control is something all voters are looking at as election day quickly approaches. Each candidate has taken their side and only the voters will be able to choose which candidate has the best plan to stop the current rate of mass shootings.