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A Quick Guide to the Presidential Candidates’ Stand on: Gun Control

Make sure you know everything there is to know about the November elections.
A Quick Guide to the Presidential Candidates’ Stand on: Gun Control
Getty Images/ Joe Raedle

We are less than six months away from the 2016 presidential elections, and it’s crucial that Black women’s voices are heard. For the next few weeks, ESSENCE will be taking a quick look at some of the most important issues on the ballot this season to make sure that you understand each candidate’s stand on the issues that matter most to us. This week, it’s all about gun control.

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Hillary Clinton

Though Clinton criticized then-Senator Obama in 2008 of being too polarizing with his calls for gun control, she has since essentially declared a fight against the NRA.

Her campaign website points to her tenure as First Lady, when she was an advocate for the Brady Bill, which required federal background checks on certain gun sales, and she has vowed to continue that fight. Under her proposals, background checks would no longer automatically pass if they’re not completed within three days, and checks would be required for both Internet and gun show sales. 

Additionally, Clinton would ban military-style weapons and push for laws that would punish individuals, stores or organizations that either make illegal sales or put guns in the hands of those with a record. 

Read more here.

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Donald Trump

Trump has taken a firm stance protecting the Second Amendment, arguing that people are safer when they’re able to defend themselves. His campaign website describes his promise to uphold individuals’ Constitutional rights and improve the systems that are in place.

His website criticizes the Obama administration for failing to prosecute “violent criminals,” like those in places like Baltimore and Chicago. He proposes a system that would put violent criminals who commit a crime using a gun in prison for five years with no possibility for parole. 

He’s vehemently against expanded background checks, arguing that doing so would be a waste of energy considering criminals rarely obtain guns legally. Instead, he says we must channel our efforts into improving our mental health systems. Additionally, he wants to legalize concealed carry permits in all 50 states.

Read more here.

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Bernie Sanders

Somewhat surprisingly, Sanders has taken a moderate viewpoint on the gun control debate, saying that he wants to cut down on gun violence while protecting people’s Second Amendment rights. His website is noticeably lacking his stance on the issue. 

In the 90s, Sanders repeatedly voted against the Brady Bill, and in 2005, he voted in favor of a bill that would grant immunity to gun manufacturers in the event that one of their guns was used to create a crime. He has recently reversed his stance on the latter, though he hasn’t said his vote was “a mistake.” 

However, in recent months, Sanders has voted in favor of expanded background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning high-capacity gun magazines and banning military-grade weapons. He has also called for an improved mental health system, saying that expanding access to health care cut help cut down on some gun violence.

Read more here.