The 2020 Candidates on Gun Reform


Where are the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on the issue of gun reform?

Gun reform was identified by the 2018 midterm voters as one of their most pressing concerns, and is one of the seven issues I covered in my 2020 candidate guides. Many of the readers here at Political⚡Charge asked me to organize the information in those guides by issue, and so, by popular demand, here we are.

In alpha order, here are where the 2020 candidates stand on the issue of gun reform. You can click on the candidate’s names to go their campaign website to learn more.

Michael Bennet

Gun Reform Stance: “In 2012 Bennet joined then Colorado Senator Mark Udall in asking for stricter gun control, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. After the shooting, Bennet said, “In Colorado, we support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, we support the ability of people to hunt and recreate and to protect their families and homes, and we want to keep the wrong weapons out of the hands of the wrong people.” Source 

Assault Weapons: “In 2013 Bennet voted against a Senate Amendment … that would have reinstated the federal assault weapons ban.” Source

Background Checks: “Bennet participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster, demanding that gun laws be changed in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. During his participation in the filibuster, Bennet talked about the 2012 Aurora shooting, citing that as a response to the shooting, the state of Colorado closed gun sale loopholes and now requires background checks for any gun purchase.” Source


Joe Biden

Gun Reform: “Biden has long supported greater gun control measures, including an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and universal background checks.” Source 

Legislation: “As a senator, Biden authored the assault weapons ban legislation that passed in 1994, seven years after he first introduced it. The law lapsed in 2004 and has not been reinstated. Biden also voted in 1993 for the Brady Bill, which established waiting periods for handgun purchases and created the current background check system.” Source

Voting Record: Biden has consistently received a score of F from the NRA for his voting record. Source


Cory Booker

Gun Reform: As mayor, Booker was “involved with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of mayors dedicated to bringing sanity to our gun laws.” Source 

Assault Weapons & Background Checks: “He supports legislation to require background checks for all gun purchases and introduced legislation to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Booker previously sponsored legislation to ban bump stocks, devices that convert semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatic guns.” Source

Gun Trafficking: “I even personally appealed to the ATF for law enforcement access to crime gun trace data so that my department, and departments across New Jersey, could do more to understand and battle against gun trafficking.” Source

Crime & 2nd Amendment Rights: “So take, for example, gun violence in my city. The majority of guns that we recover don’t even come from New Jersey. They come from criminal gun runners who are not law-abiding citizens who should have a Second Amendment right. They come from criminals who can walk into secondary markets & buy weapons.” Source


Pete Buttigieg

Background Checks: “As the mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group that advocates for gun control legislation at the state and federal level. He also supports universal background checks, and opposed allowing guns in schools and so-called “Stand Your Ground” self-defense gun laws.” Source 

Assault Weapons: “After the Las Vegas massacre, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, wrote: “I did not carry an assault weapon around a foreign country so I could come home and see them used to massacre my countrymen.” Source

Gun Reform: “Do you believe the 2A entitles you to acquire a Predator drone? If not, then you agree there are limits, and might perhaps consider joining the majority of Americans (incl. gun owners) in supporting popular, *constitutional*, evidence-based gun policy measures to help save lives.” Source

Arming Teachers: Buttigieg is against arming teachers. (see above)


Julian Castro

Background Checks: Castro has spoken out about stronger background checks at gun shows. Source

Assault Weapons: Castro has pushed for renewing the assault weapons ban and limiting high-capacity magazines. Source

2nd Amendment: “The Second Amendment is there in the Constitution, folks will have the right to bear arms. At the same time, like every other freedom, there are reasonable limits, regulations to be placed on it.” Source


John Delaney

Gun Reform: “Delaney considers the top-three gun control priorities to be passing legislation for universal background checks, limiting the availability of “certain high-powered, military-style assault weapons” and passing a national red flag law.” Source 

Restrictions: Delaney supports restrictions on gun purchases. Source

Reciprocity: “In December 2017, Delaney voted in opposition to concealed carry reciprocity.” Source 

Arming Teachers: Delaney was a signatory on a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, opposing the proposal that federal education funds be spent on purchasing guns for teachers. Source


Kirsten Gillibrand

Revised Stance on Guns: “Now on guns, I should have done more. I regret not caring about other communities. My community didn’t have the gun violence that other parts of the state had. And in fact, the biggest issue for upstate New York was hunting rights. My mother didn’t just cook the Thanksgiving turkey, she shot the Thanksgiving turkey, so I came from a different lens. But, what I regret is that I should have cared more about ending gun violence in other places. And so the first thing I did when I became a Senator was I met with families who lost their loved ones to gun violence. And when you meet a mother or father who has lost a child to gun violence there is no way you will ever not answer them directly and say, ‘I will do something to end gun violence.’” Source

Assault Weapons: “She supports reinstating a ban on assault weapons and banning high-capacity magazines, as well as other restrictions.” Source

Background Checks: “She opposes the idea of a national concealed carry policy and favors a number of other restrictions, including closing the “gun show loophole,” requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and increasing restrictions on domestic abusers.” Source 

Gun Trafficking: “America has no federal law criminalizing gun trafficking across state lines, making it harder to stop the flow of illegal guns up the Iron Pipeline or prosecute traffickers. Last week I reintroduced my bill [the Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act] to fix that. We need to keep illegal guns off our streets and save lives.” Source 


Kamala Harris

Gun Ownership: Harris believes that people convicted of a felony or found by a court to be mentally ill should not be able to own or possess a gun. Source 

Assault Weapons: Harris is a supporter of the Second Amendment who has also made it clear that she backs “common-sense” gun control. “Assault weapons shouldn’t be walking the streets of a civilized country. We should have universal background checks.” Source

Gun Trafficking: As CA Attorney General, “she prosecuted transnational gangs for trafficking in guns and drugs. In a 2011 gun sweep that Harris led in California, more than 1,200 firearms were collected from individuals who were either mentally unstable or convicted of a crime that would not allow them to have a firearm.” Source

Arming Teachers: “Arming teachers with guns would make our schools less safe. Instead, we should be arming them with fair wages, school supplies, and the resources they need to educate the next generation.” Source


John Hickenlooper

Gun Reform: “Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills that require background checks for private and online gun sales and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.” “The legislation thrust Colorado into the national spotlight as a potential test of how far the country might be willing to go with new gun restrictions after the horror of mass killings at an Aurora movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.” Source

Assault Weapons & Background Checks: “Hickenlooper signed several gun bills in 2013 that banned high-capacity magazines and implemented universal background checks for private gun sales.” Source

Arming Teachers: When asked if he would support arming teachers, Hickenlooper responded, “Well, I think that that’s one of those things that, when I’ve talked to teachers, literally almost no teacher wants to be carrying a weapon. … We’ve gotten to the point, I mean, we’re terrorizing ourselves, right? If you were trying to harm this country, what better thing could you do than to create a context where kids were too scared to go to school, or, when they got to school, they were too scared to learn?” Source


Jay Inslee

Gun Reform: “He has been outspoken in favor of gun control, and after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., last year, he confronted President Trump on live television, denouncing Mr. Trump’s suggestion to arm schoolteachers.” Source 

Assault Weapons/Background Checks: “Among other measures, he wants to expand background checks and restrict some semiautomatic weapons. His advocacy on the issue goes back many years; he lost his seat in Congress after voting for the 1994 assault weapons ban.” Source

Gun Control Enforcement: “Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and state attorney general Bob Ferguson are urging gun dealers in their state to abide by the terms of a gun control initiative that voters passed by a wide margin last fall. Inslee and Ferguson, both Democrats, sent a letter Thursday to 262 gun dealers who operate in counties where sheriffs have indicated they will not enforce the so-called Initiative 1639, which passed with 60 percent of the vote.” Source 

Arming Teachers: “Inslee stood and promoted Washington’s extreme-risk protection order law as a national model. He then launched into a criticism of Trump’s endorsement of encouraging schoolteachers to carry guns as a response to the recent massacre at a Florida high school.” Source 


Amy Klobuchar

Closing Loopholes: “Klobuchar has also worked to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” in federal gun violence legislation. Current federal domestic violence firearm prohibitions only apply to “intimate partners” which does not include dating partners a victim has not lived with, had a child with, or been married to. … Klobuchar’s efforts have been instrumental in protecting all victims at risk of gun violence from intimate partners.” Source

Background checks: She has emphasized the need for stronger background checks that flag those who have a history of domestic abuse or have been investigated for terrorism. Source

Assault Weapons: She has supported a ban on assault weapons and bump stocks. Source

2nd Amendment: “Change to the nation’s gun laws can take place while still respecting the Second Amendment, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said. … ‘In fact, when you read Justice [Antonin] Scalia’s opinion from the Supreme Court about how that amendment applies to individuals, he actually wrote in there that you can have safety rules and regulations.'” Source

Hunting: 2006: “In terms of legal guns, I would do nothing to hurt hunting. We spend $50 million per year on fishing and hunting — it’s an important part of our culture and economy in Minnesota. I do not see a need right now for a bunch of new laws on guns that would effect people who are out their hunting, or out there legally with guns.” Source 


Beto O’Rourke

Conceal Carry: “He also opposes concealed carry reciprocity, which would make concealed carry permits granted in any state valid nationwide, forcing states with strict licensing requirements to recognize permits from states with looser standards.” Source

Assault Weapons: “Assault weapons should be for military use only, O’Rourke believes. He would ban them for personal sale or use. … He has said he is ready to debate a possible ban on high-capacity magazines, which allow weapons to fire many rounds without reloading.” Source

Background Checks: “O’Rourke would expand background checks to make them universal for all gun purchases.” Source

Arming Teachers: “[O’Rourke] kept up his attack on the National Rifle Association and reiterated his opposition to using guns to protect schools during a town hall speech last weekend.” Source


Bernie Sanders

Gun Reform/Gun Violence: “Gun violence is an epidemic in this country that must end. Our job: take on the NRA, expand background checks, end the gun show loophole and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.” Source 

Assault Weapons: “A gun-control advocate, Sanders would ban assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines or equipment that allow more than ten rounds to be fired at once.” Source

Background Checks: “He supports universal background checks and voted for the Manchin-Toomey legislation expanding federal background checks.” Source

Revised Stance on Litigation: “In early 2016, Sanders changed his position on a gun law that protects some gun manufacturers and sellers from civil lawsuits. Sanders supported the measure in 2005 while he was serving in the House of Representatives. In 2016, he co-sponsored a bill to repeal that law.” Source

Arming Teachers: “Arming teachers is not the answer to our country’s gun epidemic.” Source


Eric Swalwell

Legislation: “Swalwell has co-sponsored numerous gun control-related bills in Congress, including a bipartisan measure to expand background check requirements. In February, Swalwell introduced the “No Guns for Abusers” Act, which aims to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals with a history of domestic violence.” Source

Assault Weapons: “The congressman penned a USA Today op-ed last May calling for a ban on military-style assault weapons.” Source

Buyback Plan: “One controversial plan he has suggested is a ban and federal buyback of semi-automatic assault weapons.” Source

Background Checks: “Besides a ban and buyback of every assault weapon, he also wants to improve the system for background checks.” Source 

Related Issues: “He also wants to invest more resources in mental health support, do more to prevent gang violence and better enforce laws on books.” Source

Arming Teachers: “More guns is not the solution. Teachers with guns is not the solution. The only solution to protecting our children is getting the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the most dangerous people. Period.” Source


Elizabeth Warren

Expanding Background Checks: “If we want to stop dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands, we need to improve and expand our system of background checks. Overwhelming majorities of Americans–Democrats and Republicans alike–agree. It’s time for Congress to finally take action and pass a universal background checks bill.” Source

Assault Weapons: Warren supports a ban on assault weapons. “We can take these weapons of war off our streets.” Warren has also voted to ban high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets. Source

Guns & Mental Health: Warren has called for legislation banning individuals with a history of mental illness from purchasing guns. Source

Arming Teachers: Warren does not support arming teachers in schools. Source

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  1. Reblogged this on Bennet Kelley's Clippings & More and commented:
    Political Charge profiles the 2020 Dems on gun issues.

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