Gun control and gun safety have been one of the hottest debates in US politics over the last few years. The continual rise in gun violence across the country and the horror of mass shootings that have occurred in the States means that gun control policy is a majorly important factor ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.
With the 2020 Gun Safety Forum taking place recently in Las Vegas, many Democratic presidential candidates were present to outline how they intend to affect change in the way the country handles its gun laws. Let’s take a look at where some of the favorites for the Democratic presidential nominee stand on this key topic.
Elizabeth Warren is the current favorite in the latest democratic candidate odds, and her ideas on gun control include a policy that is popular among a large proportion of her fellow candidates. That is to introduce a country-wide federal licensing system for the buying-back of any gun or ammunition. Currently, background checks can vary depending on the state, but a federal licensing system would ensure greater controls as to how weapons are sold and distributed.
Warren is also keen to significantly raise taxes on firearm and ammunition sales, which would be another deterrent to those looking to buy guns, but also those looking to sell.
Joe Biden’s plan to address this issue is perhaps slightly more conservative than some of his fellow candidates, but should he be elected there would undoubtedly still be a major shift in the country’s gun control laws. He would not go as far as to introduce a federal licensing system, but would instead offer greater incentives for states to adopt a licensing system, which would be at the discretion of that state.
Biden is also keen to action initiatives to combat gun violence, particularly gun violence in municipal areas.
37-year-old Pete Buttigieg has gained more and more supporters in recent months, and he is an advocate for universal background checks when it comes to buying firearms. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is also keen to address the mental issues that can fuel violent crime, an issue he believes is one of the factors causing the increase in gun violence across America.
Buttigieg is a young, energetic and forward-thinking candidate. If he can get the political youth on his side, he could yet upset the odds when the Democratic presidential nominee is announced.
Kamala Harris is in favour of a mandatory buyback programme, which would encourage gun owners to either get rid of their firearms via the programme or face new background checks to keep them. It could be argued that this would be a step too far too soon in a country that has not altered its gun control laws in such a dramatic way over the last several decades.
However, many Americans are simply fed up with the scourge of gun violence and are sick of seeing innocent lives taken by way of shootings. Perhaps such a bold policy would win over many American voters and with Harris an outsider to take the nomination at this current stage she may need a bold plan of action to win support.
Gun control was an issue on which Bernie Sanders faced most criticism in the 2016 election, as rival candidates questioned his past votes against national background checks. It may not be surprising then, that Sanders’ ideas on gun control are slightly more reserved than his bold plans in other areas of politics.
The 78-year-old believes that a middle ground must be found on the topic of gun control and that attempting to change too much too soon could widen the cultural and socio-economic divides that exist in America. Only time will tell whether such an outlook will cost Sanders when it comes to the Democratic nomination.
It’s widely accepted that increased legislation on gun control is needed to some degree. The question lies in how to implement such change, and to what extent laws should be altered. As the 2020 Presidential Election looms on the horizon, it’s clear that whichever candidate can put forward a sensible, workable solution to this issue will have a great chance of success.