Gun Violence and Gun Safety

Q76: Do you support strengthening background checks for gun purchases to close loopholes including hate crime misdemeanors, domestic violence abusers (spouse
and non-spouse), and private individual sales?

Biden: Yes. I have taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the national stage and won – twice. In 1993, I shepherded through Congress the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which established the background check system that has since kept more than 3 million firearms out of dangerous hands. The federal background check system (the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) is one of the best tools we have to prevent gun violence, but it’s only effective when it’s used. I will enact universal background check legislation and close other loopholes that allow people who should be prohibited from purchasing firearms from making those purchases. Specifically, I will require background checks for all gun sales. Today, an estimated 1 in 5 firearms are sold or transferred without a background check. I will enact universal background check legislation, requiring a background check for all gun sales with very limited exceptions, such as gifts between close family members. This will close the so-called “gun show and online sales loophole” that the Obama-Biden Administration narrowed, but which cannot be fully closed by executive action alone. Plus, I will close loopholes in the system, including the boyfriend loophole, the hate crime loophole, the Charleston loophole, and the fugitive from justice loophole — all of which are detailed in my plan to end gun violence HERE.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike’s gun safety plan is aimed at stopping the epidemic of gun violence in America. This comprehensive gun safety policy includes creating an effective background checks system, keeping guns away from people who pose a danger to themselves or others, protecting young people in schools and Americans in their homes, tackling daily gun violence in the hardest-hit communities, and confronting the gun industry head-on.

He will create an effective background check system so that no one can purchase a gun without passing a completed background check.

  • Require point-of-sale background checks for all gun sales and finally close the private sale loophole, which enables prohibited people to buy guns simply by finding unlicensed sellers at gun shows or on the Internet.
  • Require every gun buyer to get a permit before making a purchase. He will close loopholes, including one that prohibits married domestic abusers from possessing guns, but not many unmarried ones.
  •  Close the “boyfriend loophole” which allows domestic abusers to have guns, despite criminal convictions or restraining orders—simply because they are not married to their victims.
  • Pass a federal red flag law that expands extreme risk orders to 50 states—and funds state efforts to maximize the policy.
  • Require gun buyers to be at least 21 years old to buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
  • Set a temporary ban on gun possession by assault and other violent misdemeanor offenders.

Buttigeig: Yes. I will expand background checks to apply to all gun sales, including sales from unlicensed sellers at gun shows or online. For too long, we’ve let dangerous people buy guns without undergoing a background check—with deadly results. We need to make sure anyone who owns or carries a gun is responsible and does not pose a threat to themselves or others. We need background checks everywhere guns are purchased—including on transactions conducted over the internet and at gun shows. I support federal legislation that requires background checks on all gun sales and other transfers, with reasonable exceptions for immediate family, law enforcement, and emergency self- defense. I will close the loopholes that allow dangerous individuals to acquire and keep guns. These include the “boyfriend loophole” in domestic violence cases, the “Charleston loophole” that allows sales to occur without complete background checks, and the “hate loophole” that still allows individuals convicted of hate crimes to have guns.

De La Fuente: Yes.

Klobuchar: Yes. Gun violence in America has cut short far too many lives, torn families apart, and plagued communities across the country. Senator Klobuchar believes we must address the mass shootings as well as the everyday gun violence in this country continues to take the lives of the equivalent of a classroom of school children every week. She supports a package of gun violence policies including instituting universal background checks by closing the gun show loophole and the Charleston loophole and banning bump stocks, high capacity ammunition feeding devices and assault weapons. She is also the author of a proposal that would close what is commonly referred to as the “boyfriend loophole” by preventing domestic abusers from getting an AK-47. In addition, during her first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will direct the CDC to study gun violence as a public health issue and help identify approaches to reduce gun violence and save lives. Read more about Senator Klobuchar on gun safety here: action-senator-klobuchar-on-gun-violence-57fb7bc94d67

Sanders: Yes. When Bernie is in the White House, we will move aggressively to end the epidemic of gun violence in this country and pass the common sense gun safety legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans want. As President, Bernie will expand background checks and end the gun show loophole. All gun purchases should be subject to the same background check standards.

Steyer: Yes. My administration will Reverse existing ​DOJ policy that allows fugitives to buy guns​, and reverse Social Security Administration policies that exempt records of mentally ill from background checks, as well as pass universal background checks by expanding them to private sales and unlicensed sellers; close the ​Gun Show​, ​Boyfriend​, and ​Charleston​ loopholes; establish waiting periods at the federal level for delivery of guns; pass the Making America Safe and Secure Act (​MASS​ Act) on gun licensing standards and incentives for both buyers and sellers.

Warren: Yes. In 2017, almost 40,000 people died from guns in the United States. My goal as president, and our goal as a society, will be to reduce that number by 80%. We might not know how to get all the way there yet. But we’ll start by implementing solutions that we believe will work. As president, I will immediately take executive action to rein in an out-of-control gun industry — and to hold both gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for the violence promoted by their products. I will take executive action to require background checks bringing the vast majority of private sales, including at gun shows and online, under the existing background check umbrella. I’ll also close the boyfriend loophole using ATF’s existing regulatory authority. And I’ll use executive and regulatory authority to the greatest degree possible, including rescinding Trump era rules that lower the standards for purchasing a gun and those that make it easier to create untraceable weapons or modify weapons in ways that circumvent the law. But I won’t stop there. Congress must pass comprehensive legislation containing our best ideas about what will work to reduce gun violence. I have already introduced a comprehensive bill to address our nation’s deadly gun violence crisis, the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act. When I am president, I will push Congress to pass this legislation to implement common-sense reforms including universal background checks; closure of the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allows a sale to proceed after three days even if the background check is not complete; permanent closure of the boyfriend loophole that includes individuals with restraining orders or those convicted of stalking; and a permanent ban on gun ownership for anyone convicted of a hate crime.

Q77: Do you support increased funding for enforcing laws regulating gun dealers?

Biden: Yes. As described above, I will enact universal background check legislation and close other loopholes that allow people who should be prohibited from purchasing firearms from making those purchases. I will direct my Attorney General to deliver to me within my first 100 days a set of recommendations for restructuring the ATF and related Justice Department agencies to most effectively enforce our gun laws. I will then work to secure sufficient funds for the Justice Department to effectively enforce our existing gun laws, increase the frequency of inspections of firearms dealers, and repeal riders that get in the way of that work.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will increase ATF funding by up to $100 million annually so that the Bureau is able to police the gun industry more effectively.

Buttigeig: Yes. Enforcing the law is only a small part of ending gun violence in this country. First, we need to make sure that background checks are the law of the land, and that everyone who sells a gun — and not just currently licensed gun dealers — are required to carry out that law. Then, we need to make sure that the ATF Bureau, which is in charge of enforcing the laws regulating gun dealers, has a permanent director. The ATF has not had a permanent director since 2015. Then, I’ll ensure ATF has the funding it needs to do its job, and do it right.

De La Fuente: Yes.

Klobuchar: As part of her plan for the first 100 days of her Presidency, Senator Klobuchar will increase inspections and strengthen enforcement to crack down on gun manufacturers and sellers that violate the law.

Sanders: Yes. When Bernie is in the White House, we will move aggressively to end the epidemic of gun violence in this country and pass the common sense gun safety legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans want. We will fully fund the AFT and crack down on gun manufacturers who knowingly sell firearms to those who should not have them.

Steyer: Yes. My administration will regulate sellers by monitoring their inventory and restricting sales locations, as well as prohibit manufacturing of guns outside of traditional supply chains, including 3D printing and ghost guns.

Warren: Yes. My administration will use all the authorities at the federal government’s disposal to investigate and prosecute all those who circumvent or violate existing federal gun laws. I’ll instruct my Attorney General to go after the interstate and transnational gun trafficking trade with all the resources of the federal government. Only 1% of gun dealers are responsible for 57% of guns used in crimes. As such, my administration will direct the ATF to prioritize oversight of dealers with serial compliance violations — and then use its authority to revoke the license of dealers who repeatedly violate the rules. And I will fight to fully fund ATF’s regulatory and compliance programs and remove the riders and restrictions that prevent it from doing its job.I’ll also fight for changes to the law that will hold gun dealers accountable. Congress should pass basic safety standards for federally-licensed gun dealers, including employee background checks, locked cabinets, and up-to-date inventories of the weapons they have in stock. I have proposed a law that would impose criminal liability and jail time for corporate executives when their company is found guilty of a crime or their negligence causes severe harm to American families — and that includes gun industry CEOs. And I will push to ensure civil liability for firearms dealers by repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Q78: Do you support federal funding for “buy back” programs to assist local law enforcement in getting guns off the street?

Biden: Yes. I will institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets. This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike supports federal funding for voluntary programs that enable people to get value for firearms they no longer want.

Buttigeig: Yes. I support a robust, voluntary buyback program, offering at least market rate value for an assault weapon. An impediment to local buybacks in the past has been funding, and my administration will work with the ATF Bureau to ensure that ATF has the necessary funding to pursue an effective voluntary buyback program.

De La Fuente: Yes.

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar supports a voluntary weapons buyback program and focusing on passing the assault weapons ban.

Sanders: Yes. Bernie will implement a voluntary buyback program to get assault weapons off the streets. He will also regulate assault weapons in the same way that we currently regulate fully automatic weapons — a system that essentially makes them unlawful to own and requires licensing and registration.

Steyer: Yes. I support working with communities to decrease the amount of firearms in circulation under a voluntary buy back program.

Warren: Yes. Our nation’s gun violence epidemic is a public health crisis, and we need to treat it that way. That means starting with the solutions we believe will work, like gun buybacks and a federal licensing system, and constantly revisiting and updating those solutions based on new public health research. I believe buybacks work best when accompanied by other strong steps to regulate the gun industry, like a federal licensing system. I have proposed a ban on the production, sale, and importation of military-style assault weapons, combined with the establishment of a buyback program to allow those who wish to do so to return their weapon for safe disposal. I have also proposed an annual investment of $100 million to conduct research into the root causes of gun violence and the most effective ways to prevent it, research that can help us better understand how to make gun buybacks as effective as possible.

Q79: Do you support bans on high velocity semi-automatic weapons?

Biden: Yes. The bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that I, along with Senator Feinstein, secured in 1994 reduced the lethality of mass shootings. But, in order to secure the passage of the bans, they had to agree to a 10-year sunset provision and when the time came, the Bush Administration failed to extend them. As president, I will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun. That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children. It’s wrong. I will enact legislation to once again ban assault weapons. This time, the bans will be designed based on lessons learned from the 1994 bans. For example, the ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality. While working to pass this legislation, I will also use my executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons.

I will also regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. Currently, the National Firearms Act requires individuals possessing machine-guns, silencers, and short-barreled rifles to undergo a background check and register those weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Due to these requirements, such weapons are rarely used in crimes. As president, I will pursue legislation to regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike supports federal funding for voluntary programs that enable people to get value for firearms they no longer want.

Buttigeig: Yes. As a veteran, I know that military-grade weapons have no place being sold to civilians. The same is true for high- capacity magazines, some of which can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition and significantly increase a shooter’s ability to injure and kill large numbers of people quickly, without needing to reload. We’ve already decided that certain weaponry—like tanks and rockets—are unacceptable in civilian hands. Congress should similarly reinstitute a ban on selling federal assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

De La Fuente: Yes.

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of the assault weapons ban as defined under Senator Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

Sanders: Yes. As President, Bernie will ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons. Assault weapons are designed and sold as tools of war. There is absolutely no reason why these firearms should be sold to civilians. And we will regulate assault weapons in the same way that we currently regulate fully automatic weapons — a system that essentially makes them unlawful to own.

Steyer: Yes. My administration will ban high risk weapons including assault weapons, device modifications, high capacity ammunition magazines, and strengthen laws on untraceable firearms, including ghost guns, 3D printed guns, and home manufactured guns;

Warren: Yes. Congress should again ban the future production, sale, and importation of military-style assault weapons, and require individuals already in possession of assault weapons to register them under the National Firearms Act. We should establish a buyback program to allow those who wish to do so to return their weapon for safe disposal, and individuals who fail to register or return their assault weapon should face penalties.