BOSTON (CBS) – With mass shootings becoming far too common in the United States, gun control will certainly be a topic of interest for voters in the 2020 election.

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Here is a brief look at where each of the current presidential candidates stands on gun control:

Michael Bennet (D)

Colorado Senator

  • Has not outlined a campaign policy on gun control, but says he supports “common-sense” steps to end gun violence
  • Voted to close the “gun show loophole,” which would make it harder to buy firearms at gun shows
  • Voted to ban high-capacity magazines that can fire more than 10 bullets without reloading
  • Has voted to allow checked bags with guns on the Amtrak
  • Says he opposes completely restricting gun-ownership

Joseph Biden, Jr. (D)

Former Vice President

  • Wants to create a federal gun buyback program to get more guns off the streets
  • Plans to create mandatory universal background checks & reinstitute ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines
  • During his term as Vice President, led the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
  • During his time as a senator, authored assault weapons ban legislation which passed in 1994
  • During a debate, proposed every gun sold should have a biometric marker so only the buyer can pull the trigger

Cory Booker (D)

New Jersey Senator

  • Released a plan to create a national gun licensing program. Anyone applying to own a gun would have submit fingerprints, sit for an interview, complete a gun safety course and undergo a federal background check.
  • The license would be good for 5 years.
  • Booker wants to ban bump stocks, high capacity magazines, and assault weapons
  • Wants limit bulk purchases of guns and stop domestic abusers and people on terror watch lists from buying guns

Steve Bullock (D)

Governor of Montana

  • Bullock is a gun owner.  In 2018, he described himself as a “gun owner who believes in the Constitution, yet also recognizes its limits.”
  • Used to oppose universal background checks, but now supports them
  • Wants to outlaw high capacity magazines and assault weapons
  • Supports “red flag” laws to keep guns away from the mentally ill and convicted domestic abusers
  • Says gun violence should be viewed as a public health crisis

Pete Buttigieg (D)

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

  • Supports universal background checks and acknowledges mental health contributes to the gun violence problem in America
  • Supports federal ban on “weapons of war,” which include semi-automatic rifles and automatic rifles
  • Wants to ban high-capacity magazines
  • Supports “red flag” laws
  • Wants to establish a nationwide gun licensing system
  • Wants the federal government to resume funding research into gun violence

Julian Castro (D)

Former Housing Secretary

  • Laid out a gun control plan in August, after the El Paso and Dayton shootings
  • Proposes to issue an executive order which would tighten the license restrictions for firearms dealers
  • Wants to immediately ban the importation of assault weapons
  • Proposes renewing a permanent assault weapons ban and requiring anyone already owning an assault weapon to register it
  • Establish a gun buyback program to get assault weapons and high capacity magazines off the street
  • Pass legislation to close gun law loopholes, like the “boyfriend loophole” which allows abusive partners or convicted stalkers access to firearms, and the private sale loophole
  • Create a federal gun buyer license which would require fingerprints, an FBI background check, law enforcement interview, and a gun safety course
  • Ban high capacity magazines

Bill de Blasio (D)

Mayor of NYC

  • Has not offered a gun control plan in his campaign
  • Told Politico in August that he supports background checks, banning assault weapons, and putting other protections in place while preserving the Second Amendment

John Delaney (D)

Former Maryland Congressman

  • Supports universal background checks for every gun sale
  • Supports banning assault weapons. While in Congress, wrote a bill to ban semiautomatic weapons with military-style features as well as high-capacity magazines
  • Wants legislation that would outlaw bump stocks, trigger cranks, or any other device that helps increase the rate of fire for a semiautomatic weapon
  • Wants to pass a nationwide “extreme risk” law giving family members and law enforcement an avenue to go to court and restrict gun access for someone who is dangerous
  • Supports updating the Violence Against Women act to close the “boyfriend” loophole
  • Wants Congress to give the CDC funding to research gun violence

Tulsi Gabbard (D)

Hawaii Congresswoman

  • Supports gun control
  • In Congress, she co-sponsored and supported bills proposing a ban on assault weapons, the requirement of background checks for any and all gun purchases, closing the “gun show loophole,” and preventing terrorists from purchasing guns.
  • Advocates to solve the gun violence issue in a sensible, bipartisan manner

Kamala Harris (D)

California Senator

  • A vocal advocate for gun control and safety; also describes herself as a “good marksman”
  • Supports bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines; she co-sponsored bills to ban both.
  • Plans to sign executive orders and initiate executive action if Congress does not pass gun control legislation within the first 100 days of her presidency
  • The executive actions will call for background checks for those who buy guns from any firearm dealer who sells more than five guns per year, increased regulation on gun manufacturers, and closing the domestic abuser loophole.
  • As California’s Attorney General, supported state law restricting gun dealers and stores from using advertising that displayed or described handguns
  • Created a statewide initiative to capture and confiscate firearms from those who illegally possessed them

Amy Klobuchar (D)

Minnesota Senator

  • Supports gun control and gun reform
  • Advocates for closing loopholes, specifically the “boyfriend loophole”; works to protect victims at risk of gun violence from domestic partners
  • Supports intensive background checks that prevent those with a domestic abuse or a history of terrorism to get guns
  • Supports bans on assault style weapons and accessories that allow for semi automatic weapons to release more rounds when the trigger is pulled once
  • Acknowledges the importance of the Second Amendment and calls for regulations within it, not an elimination of it
  • Wants to identify gun violence as a public health issue in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies
  • Would not ban firearms for hunters
  • Wants to increase inspection of gun manufacturers

Wayne Messam (D)

Mayor of Miramar, FL

  • Wants to get guns away from those who are mentally ill, have been convicted of domestic abuse, or are on the terror watch list
  • Pledges to cut gun deaths by half by the end of his first term – and eliminate them entirely by the end of his presidency
  • As Mayor, he and five other mayors sued the governor to get rid of a state law that penalized local officials if they enact municipal gun regulations.

Beto O’Rourke (D)

Former Texas Congressman

  • Supports a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines for personal sale or use
  • Supports expanding background checks and closing loopholes, including the “boyfriend loophole”
  • Pledges to sign into law (if Congress passes it) the “No PAC Act” which would ban PAC contributions to anyone running for Congress or federal office.  O’Rourke believes this will eliminate the influence of the NRA.
  • Wants to create a nationwide gun licensing system

Tim Ryan (D)

Ohio Congressman

  • Although previously a member of the NRA, Ryan left the group after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Following the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017, Ryan gave $20,000 (of NRA donations) to three gun control organizations
  • Now fully supports gun control
  • Co-sponsor on several gun control and regulation bills, including No Guns for Abusers, Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback, Assault Weapons Ban, and bipartisan background checks
  • Has not proposed specific gun control measures for his campaign

Bernie Sanders (D)

Vermont Senator

  • Wants to expand background checks and end the gun show loophole so all purchases are subject to the same background checks
  • Wants to ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines
  • Wants to crack down on straw purchases, where someone else buys a gun for a criminal

Elizabeth Warren (D)

Massachusetts Senator

  • Unveiled a plan in August to cut gun violence deaths by 80%
  • Through executive action, she wants to expand the use of background checks to include sales at gun shows and online
  • Revoke licenses for gun dealers who violate the rules
  • Appoint an Attorney General who will investigate the NRA and how it – she says – has exploited loopholes
  • Supports closing the “boyfriend loophole,” creating a federal licensing system, imposing a one week waiting period for all gun purchases, increasing taxes on gun makers, and raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21

Marianne Williamson (D)

Self Help Author

  • Support bans on assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines.
  • Supports universal background checks and strict regulations for gun use by children, including mandatory child safety locks on guns
  • Supports prevention of firearm use by those who pose a threat to themselves or others
  • Advocates for more training and regulations for gun use
  • Believes that public funding for political campaigns will help end the NRA’s influence on the political process

Andrew Yang (D)

Former Tech Executive

  • Wants to create a strict licensing system with a requirement that gun owners prove use of a gun locker or trigger lock
  • Supports a ban of assault weapons and high capacity magazines
  • Invest in “smart gun” technology which would allow only a gun’s owner to fire the weapon

Donald J. Trump (R)

U.S. President

  • Defends the Second Amendment and gun ownership
  • President Trump’s Justice Department imposed a ban on bump stocks in December 2018
  • Has suggested the White House will propose a new series of gun control measures in response to mass shootings, but details have not been released

Joe Walsh (R)

Former Illinois Congressman

  • Opposes passing any laws to restrict gun ownership
  • In Congress, sponsored bills which would have loosened restrictions on gun sales

William F. Weld (R)

Former Massachusetts Governor

  • Has not outlined position on gun control since announcing presidential campaign
  • Supported gun control measures while governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s
  • According to statements made in 2016, he no longer supports increased gun control
  • In 2016 said, “Restricting gun rights doesn’t make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms.”
  • A lifelong hunter, he supports the Second Amendment “in its entirety”


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