AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Democrats wasted no time in pushing the most anti-gun agenda ever heard on a presidential debate stage Tuesday night, standing united on the issue of gun control during the first night of the second debate between the Top 20 Democrat candidates. Not one of the ten on stage found any gun control proposal that would go too far. Many decided that the biggest enemy is the NRA, not the small number of violent criminals driving violent crime. All offered support for “universal background checks,” “assault weapons bans,” but many also spoke about getting “dark money” and “PAC money” out of politics.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed that the vast majority of Americans support what he and other Democrats are calling for, while also using the topic of school shootings to remind Democrat voters of his relative youth.
Pete Buttigieg: "I was a junior when the Columbine shooting happened. I was part of the first generation that saw routine school shootings. We have now produced the second school shooting generation … We dare not allow there to be a third. Something is broken." #DemDebate
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 31, 2019
Buttigieg mentioned Columbine, and supported a ban on semi-automatic firearms, but wasn’t about to acknowledge that the Columbine killings took place during the last “assault weapons ban.” The enforceability and even the efficacy of the laws Mayor Pete was pushing simply wasn’t a concern for the candidate.
Not that Buttigieg was unique in that regard. None of the candidates offered up any ideas on how their draconian gun control laws would actually be enforced, or even what their proposed penalties for violating these laws might be. Debate co-moderator Jake Tapper asked candidates earlier in the debate if they would support raising taxes on the middle class in order to pay for Medicare for All. It’d be great if he’d ask the second round of candidates if they would build more federal prisons to house violators of their gun control laws, given that they would turn tens of millions of Americans into criminals overnight.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper used the question to pat himself on the back for pushing gun control laws through the legislature in 2013, after the Aurora, Colorado shootings.
Colorado must serve as a model for how the nation will address gun reform. We cannot wait for another tragedy to take action. We must act now.
— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) July 31, 2019
What Hickenlooper left out is the fact that violent crime has increased in Colorado since he signed those gun control laws. In fact, Denver has the fastest growing crime rate of any large American city.
The most frustrating thing about this debate was the lack of substance in both the questions and answers. No matter the candidate or the moderator, each side glossed over any real discussion of how these anti-gun proposals would work, or the profound consequences their proposals would have on individual liberty, constitutional rights, the criminal justice system, and the human right of self-defense. Instead, we got the verbal equivalent of cotton candy; easy to swallow, but not a lot to digest.
Senator Amy Klobuchar declared that “This is about the NRA,” which is another way of saying “this is about millions of law-abiding gun owner, not the small number of individuals who are actually driving crime in our worst neighborhoods.”
This isn’t just about a system or it’s not just about words. This is about the NRA. I sat across from the President of the United States after Parkland because I’ve been a leader on these issues and have the bill to close the Boyfriend Loophole.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) July 31, 2019
Klobuchar’s “Uncle Dick,” who seems to be up in a tree stand every time Klobuchar mentions gun control, didn’t make an appearance during Tuesday’s debate. Either Uncle Dick isn’t focus grouping well or perhaps there’s some behind-the-scenes family drama we don’t know about.
What we do know is Klobuchar vowed to put in place federally mandated universal background checks, bans on the most commonly sold rifles in the country, and “something about magazines,” likely a California or New Jersey-style ban that forbids continuing to possess the magazines, even if they were purchased legally.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock was asked about his recent change of heart when it comes to banning semi-automatic rifles, and he didn’t answer the question. Beto O’Rourke talked about getting money out of politics without mentioning the hundreds of millions of dollars that Michael Bloomberg plans to spend in the 2020 elections.
Bernie Sanders claimed that no one on stage was promising magic solutions to end all gun violence, though that’s not true at all. Elizabeth Warren, for one, has talked about “ending the gun violence epidemic.”
If eight children died every day from some mysterious virus, we'd be doing everything we could to research ways to stop it. #WeNeedToKnow how to end the gun violence epidemic. It's time to #FundGVPResearch. pic.twitter.com/bi2PNxgYCq
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 25, 2019
Democrats are going to have to pace themselves or they’ll be calling for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment before the first primaries start. Pete Buttigieg even mentioned the 18th and 21st Amendments to the Constitution in his answer about gun control. He glibly noted that the nation passed amendments to both ban the sale of intoxicating liquors and repeal the ban years later. Clearly, Mayor Pete hasn’t taken away the same lessons from Prohibition’s failure that I and most gun owners have. From a rise in crime to the government actually poisoning Americans who dared to violate Prohibition’s statutes, the 18th Amendment caused damage that lasted long past its time as an active amendment.
The bottom line is this was the most vocally anti-gun group of candidates we’ve seen on a debate stage since at least the last debate, and that record will likely stand until tonight’s debate on CNN several hours from now. Unfortunately, this is the most anti-gun crop of presidential candidates in our nation’s history.. and they’re just getting started.
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