AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Tuesday night’s Democratic debate featured a single question about gun control, but at least we got a chance to hear from all of the candidates. Unfortunately, every one of them tried to outdo the next in terms of their support for sweeping gun laws that would criminalize the exercise of our right to keep and bear arms.
Joe Biden was first out of the gate, and talked about how he was able to pass the Clinton Gun Ban in 1994 before he took a swipe at Bernie Sanders for voting for the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act. Biden’s gaffes have been coming fast and furious as of late, and he bizarrely claimed that 150 million Americans have been killed by guns since 2007. Biden finished by issuing a threat to gun manufacturers that he will come for them if he’s elected. This has been part of his stump speech for at least the past few days, and every time, he looks into the camera and points his finger. It’s such a scripted line, but the Democrat audience in South Carolina ate it up.
Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, completely changed the subject from gun control to her desire to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, which she said is needed in order to pass gun control. The thing is, she never got back to the gun control bills she wanted to pass, but spent her entire time rambling about removing the filibuster in order to pass any number of her proposals.
When Bernie Sanders had the opportunity to respond, he swiped back at Joe Biden by noting he had voted for terrible trade agreements. The crowd in South Carolina didn’t like that, and booed Sanders for his dodge. Sanders said the point was that every politician makes a bad vote every now and then, and said his vote in support of the PLCAA was simply that; a bad vote. Sanders proudly touted his “D-” rating from the NRA. Right now, he said, we need to expand background checks, close gun show loophole, and do what Americans, not the NRA, wants.
Bloomberg, who earlier in the debate slipped and talked about having “bought” the congressional seats of dozens of Democrats in the 2018 elections, said that he “has a 6-million person organization” that has put background check laws on the books in twenty states (of course he didn’t talk about the fact that those new laws haven’t led to fewer crimes.
Michael Bloomberg actually just said that he bought 21 seats in Congress for the Democratic Party so that Nancy Pelosi would be Speaker of the House. He really said that out loud. According to him: Democrats BOUGHT their house majority in 2018. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/1IdxV5ifFH
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) February 26, 2020
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar stuck to her theme for the night, that Democrats need a midwesterner to win the nation’s midsection in November. She claimed that she was the only one on stage who won in Republican congressional districts while being for the assault weapons ban, hoping to portray herself as a moderate who can bring independents and some Republicans into the Democratic fold, at least on Election Day. And then she brought up her Uncle Dick in the deer stand, which she has done every single time she’s been asked about firearms in a debate setting. At this point, I’m starting to get worried for the guy. It sounds like he’s been up there for months, and it also sounds like Amy Klobuchar doesn’t know any other gun owners besides her uncle who lives in a tree stand.
Buttigieg also stuck to the same talking points he brings up when he’s asked about gun control; namely that anything that even resembles the weapon of war he carried in Afghanistan shouldn’t be sold in this country. And, as always, none of the moderators bothered to ask him a follow up question: if you don’t think modern sporting rifles should be sold in the United States, what do you think should happen to the roughly 18-million rifles in private hands?
The other billionaire on stage, Tom Steyer, was the last to answer, and he said that the real problem is that corporations have bought Washington, D.C., and that specifically, “gun manufacturers own the Senate,” which begs the question: Does Bloomberg then own the House of Representatives? Steyer didn’t bring up any specific gun control proposals, but said he believes that term limits need to be imposed on Congress, and Democrats need to win big in November to have the mandate needed to pass gun control laws.
If you notice, there really wasn’t much discussion about any of the actual proposals from any of the candidates, which are arguably the most anti-gun campaign platforms in our nation’s history. Some candidates didn’t even bother to mention any of their gun control plans, much less attempt a somewhat deep dive in the minute that they had to answer the question.
Gun owners didn’t learn anything new in Thursday night’s debate, but they definitely got a reminder of what’s at stake in the November elections. No matter which candidate on stage ends up as the eventual nominee, the future of our right to keep and bear arms depends on them losing on Election Day.