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On the issues: Gun Control

Here’s what the 2016 presidential candidates have had to say about gun control.

Miranda Andrade-Ceja

Miranda Andrade-Ceja

Miranda Andrade-Ceja

Ariana Sawyer, News Editor

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Bernie Sanders

The National Rifle Association gave Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, running as a democrat, an F for his gun control voting record. Sanders has said the country should ban semiautomatic weapons, and that he would stop shielding gun manufacturers from lawsuits. He is pro-hunting, but does not think anyone needs an AK-47 to hunt, and in July 2015, he said that while guns in Vermont are for hunting, guns in Los Angeles are for killing.

“Back in 1988, when I first ran for Congress, I supported a ban on assault weapons. And over the years, I have strongly supported instant background checks, doing away with this terrible gun show loophole. And I think we’ve got to move aggressively to do away with this gun show loophole, that we have to address the issue of mental health, that we have to deal with the straw-man purchasing issue, and that when we develop that consensus, we can finally, finally do something to address this issue.”


Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, D, has said she would like to stand up to the NRA and stop shielding gun manufacturers from lawsuits. When she ran against President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, she positioned herself as more conservative than Obama on gun control. Now, she has said that Sanders is not tough enough on gun laws. Clinton wants to stop perpetuating the idea that anyone has a right to have a gun anytime.

“You know, I remember very well when I accompanied Bill to Columbine after that massacre and met with the family members of those who had been killed and talked with the students, and feeling that we had to do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal and the mentally unstable. And during the Clinton administration, that was a goal — not to, in any way, violate people’s Second Amendment rights, but to try to limit access to people who should not have guns. Unfortunately, we saw the tragedy unfold at Virginia Tech. We now know that the background check system didn’t work, because certainly this shooter, as he’s called, had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself and others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun.”


Donald Trump

Donald Trump, R, has said that if the United States takes guns away from the good people, then they will be target practice for the bad people. He said he believes in the importance of protecting the Second Amendment, or the right to bear arms. Trump is anti-gun control, but has said the policy must focus on dealing with the underlying mental health issues that cause people to go and shoot up innocent people.

“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72 hours if a potential gun owner has a record.”

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Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, R, voted not to ban high-capacity gun magazines in April 2013 and believes gun laws are useless since only law-abiding citizens follow the law. He believes that criminals will continue to use guns so passing laws that restrict gun users is pointless. The NRA rated Rubio a B-plus for his pro-gun rights legislation. Rubio has a concealed weapons permit, but said he does not carry a gun.

“I don’t [carry] because I spend most of my time in airports and in the Capitol where you’re not allowed to necessarily carry those around. But let me say this to you: all Americans have a right to that — all Americans have a Second Amendment right to buy a firearm, to possess one for both self-defense and for sport. And we should be very careful about anything that infringes on that.”


Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the author of a brief on behalf of 31 states to defend the Second Amendment. The NRA gave him an A, making him a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms. Cruz voted “no” on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets in April 2013.

“When citizens cease to have the right to defend ourselves, we cease to be free. And now, more than ever, as radical Islamic terrorists seek to attack Americans on our own soil, Americans’ right to protect our families and communities is all the more critical to our safety and freedom.”


John Kasich

In Aug. 2015, the NRA changed Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s grade from an F to an A. The F was the result of Kasich’s vote to ban assault weapons, but he describes himself as a Second Amendment advocate. He has said he believes that better parenting would solve gun violence issues more effectively than tighter gun laws. In 1999, he voted to decrease the gun waiting period from three days to one.

“I don’t believe the government should be taking guns from people. I think people have a right to be armed. It’s about keeping the Second Amendment and it’s allowing legitimate gun owners to be able to do what they want, which is exercise their constitutional right.”

Miranda Andrade-Ceja

Miranda Andrade-Ceja


This article is part of a weekly series informing students of where candidates stand on the issues for the 2016 presidential elections.


All information comes from Ontheissues.org, a nonprofit that keeps track of candidate voting records and public statements and the official website of Ted Cruz.

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