Beto O'Rourke became the latest Democratic presidential contender to release a sweeping gun control plan, complementing his campaign relaunch after the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso.
The big picture: 2020 Democrats have a bigger stake in gun control than they did in 2016, when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton only briefly addressed the issue in their primary debate. The pair of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton in August, which prompted a renewed national conversation about gun control, caused the pressure on the issue to rise.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Wants to reduce the number of U.S. gun deaths by 80%, noting 39,773 died in 2017 alone. Her plan includes appointing an attorney general to investigate the NRA's business practices and making it harder to export guns from the U.S. Warren would also try to pass a federal assault weapons ban.
- Her plan wraps gun control into her broader anti-corruption package and includes identifying white nationalism as a form of domestic terrorism, in reference to the alleged shooter in El Paso.
Sen. Kamala Harris: If Congress doesn't pass gun reform within 100 days of her potential inauguration, Harris says she would take executive action to institute background checks, require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke the licenses of gun dealers "who violate the law," and ban the importation of assault weapons.
Former tech executive Andrew Yang: Wants to require a federal background check and federal buyback program, eliminate the gun show loophole, ban high-capacity magazines and prohibit the manufacture and sale of bump stocks, suppressors, incendiary/exploding ammunition and grenade launcher attachments.
- Yang references smart guns in his policy and says he plans to "invest in innovative technology that would make firearms harder to fire for non-owners of the gun."
- Those who currently own firearms under Yang's plan would be grandfathered in with their existing licenses and receive one-time “Good Gun Owner” tax credits for adhering to additional requirements.
Sen. Cory Booker: Proposed a 14-part plan in May calling for a national gun licensing program, which would force Americans to apply for 5-year gun licenses and ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.
Former Vice President Joe Biden: Believes only "smart guns" should be sold, or guns that require "a biometric measure" to pull the trigger. He stressed that "our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA," at the first Democratic debate, and he expressed support for government buybacks.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Wants to spend $1 billion to help law enforcement combat white nationalism and "respond to domestic terrorist attacks before they occur," in reference to recent mass shootings. His plan would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, institute universal background checks and a national gun licensing system, and fund gun violence research at the federal level.
- The National Counterterrorism Center would arrest white supremacist suspects internationally under his plan.
- Online platforms like 8chan would also be monitored by law enforcement.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke wants to create a nationwide gun licensing system that will ensure anybody who wants to purchase a gun goes through an assessment by law enforcement. Guns will also be registered, and all new handguns will be microstamped.
- He also supports a ban and buyback program for assault weapons, as well as universal background checks.
- "If I want to protect my family, if I want to have a weapon in the home, that should be my right," she said in 2009. She said in 2018 she is "embarrassed" by her previous views on gun rights.
Author Marianne Williamson: Wants to ban assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, bump stocks and high capacity magazines, require universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods for all gun dealers, reinstate "restrictions on the ability of the mentally ill to purchase a gun," and remove "limits on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) ability to track and record gun ownership numbers."
- Reality check: A spending bill signed by President Trump in 2018 gave the CDC the authority to study the causes of gun violence — but "researchers who study gun violence are unimpressed," NPR reports.
Rep. Tim Ryan: On debate night, he linked the question of gun control to mental illness, saying: “73% of [school shooters] feel shamed, traumatized or bullied." He called for mental health professionals to be installed in every school in the country.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Wants to ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons, institute universal background checks and end the gun show loophole. He says he has a D- voting record from the NRA.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: Voted in favor of federal legislation that banned the manufacture, sale and possession of combat-style assault weapons in 1994 — which probably cost him his House seat in 1995, CNBC reports. He supports banning bump stocks and stronger background checks.