Okay, that’s not exactly how the New York Times describes the 2020 field of Democrats running for president, but a new survey by the Times of gun control positions among the 2020 Democratic contenders for president reveals this really is the most hostile group of candidates in our nation’s history when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms. The candidates are unanimous in their support for a ban on semi-automatic rifles they define as “assault weapons”, as well as a ban on “high capacity” magazines and “red flag” laws. The Times also notes that support for gun licensing is sky high among candidates as well.
a federal gun licensing program was barely part of the discussion until this May, when Senator Cory Booker proposed one.
In a vivid example of how quickly the Democratic field is adopting new ideas, other candidates followed almost immediately. Thirteen of them, including nine of the top 10 by polling average, now support such a program.
The candidates’ licensing plans vary, but the common threads are a federal background check and an interview. Some candidates, including Mr. Booker and Julián Castro, would require applicants to pass a gun safety course. Andrew Yang supports a tiered system, meaning different guns would require different licenses, much as a regular driver’s license is not sufficient to drive a truck.
There’s also massive support for the registration of firearms, with Pete Buttigieg the only top tier candidate who isn’t calling for a registration scheme.
Some, including Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders, said the requirement would apply only to assault weapon owners who chose not to participate in a voluntary buyback program. But at least five candidates — Mr. Booker, Wayne Messam, Mr. O’Rourke, Ms. Warren and Marianne Williamson — are proposing more than that.
“Individuals will be required to register their guns through a registry,” Mr. O’Rourke told The Times. “All new handguns will be microstamped.”
Ms. Warren, a front-runner for the nomination and steadily rising in the polls, was similarly unequivocal.
“I believe that all guns should be registered,” she said.
So, not only does Beto O’Rourke want to ban and confiscate the most commonly-sold rifle in the United States, but he wants a ban on all new semi-automatic handguns as well. That’s what his microstamping requirement would amount to in practice, though the New York Times doesn’t bother to mention that fact. See, there really is no way to abide by a microstamping mandate, which requires a unique identifying mark to be stamped in two different places on the casing when the gun is fired. Since California’s microstamping mandate went into effect, there have been no new semi-automatic models of handguns for sale in the state, because there’s no way for manufacturers to comply. Even existing models have become unavailable for sale if even the smallest change is made to the design of an existing firearm. It amounts to a slow-motion handgun ban, and O’Rourke is on board with bringing that bad law to the federal statutes.
Given O’Rourke’s anemic polling numbers, what Beto believes might not be all that important. However, given the anti-gun attitudes of virtually every Democrat running for president, it’s easy to imagine the eventual nominee adopting a similar mandate, even if for the moment O’Rourke is the only candidate calling for the gun control law.
You can check out the survey responses from all of the candidates here.