Guns and Gun control have been a major topic for the Presidential candidates recently. With the focus on gun control some very ignorant statements have been made by both Democratic and Republican candidates.
Let’s start off with a tweet from Bernie Sanders. In his tweet from December 30th he says he will “Strengthen and better enforce the instant background check system…make ‘straw man’ purchases a federal crime; ban semi-automatic assault weapons which were designed strictly for killing human beings…”. Let’s go through these one by one. First off, background checks are required for all sales by Federal Firearms License dealers. It is a federal crime for them to sell without doing one. So unless he is implying that the laws are not being enforced then his statement has absolutely zero meaning. If he is referring to private sales he should probably be informed that almost every state requires private handgun sales to go an FFL meaning a background check will be conducted. It is also illegal to sell to someone who does not reside within your state unless you do it through an FFL. In other words, Background checks are almost universal except for private sales of long guns. Sanders next statement is laughable at how ill-informed it is. He promises to make “Straw man” purchases a federal crime. Meaning if you buy a firearm for someone who is not legally eligible to own one you will be committing a crime. A quick google search reveals that “An illegal firearm purchase (straw purchase) is a federal crime”. With penalties of up to “…ten years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000”. It really is inspiring to see how much effort the candidates put into research. Lastly, he mentions his support for an “Assault Weapons” ban. Claiming that these firearms “were designed strictly for killing human beings…”. As a proud owner of one of these “Assault Weapons” I can say that I did not buy my AR-15 for the sole purpose of killing human beings. As a matter of fact I bought it for hunting and target shooting. What is really meant by “Assault Weapon” is popular semi-automatic firearms that accept standard capacity magazines. There is also the minor fact that the use of any long gun in a crime is extremely rare.
Now for the Republicans. Jeb Bush posted a picture of an engraved handgun on twitter with the caption “America”. We’ll just leave out the fact that his “American” gun was made by FN Herstal, or Fabrique Nationale, a Belgian company. Anyway, let’s move on to Trump. “If you had more guns, you’d have more protection because the right people would have the guns”. First, I highly doubt that increasing the number of guns you have makes you safer. Besides having a long gun and a handgun, there is a point of diminishing returns. Not that there should be a limit on the number you can own, but arguing that owning more firearms makes you safer is ridiculous. Being an expert in one firearm would be much better. What makes someone the “Right person” anyway. That is incredibly vague.