Where the presidential candidates stand on gun violence

As the nearly-endless presidential campaign promises fourteen more months of posturing, we bring you our “take” on the presidential choices we face today. Where do the major candidates stand on gun sense in America? No offense to also-rans, but we’ll not cover every declared wannabe; there are just too many. We promise to add them in if and when they rise to fighting-chance status. To Mike Huckabee, Jim Webb and Bobby Jindal; just keep scratching and clawing! You MAY be about to break above 1% in the polls, but probably not.

As NY Times’ correspondent Charles Blow mused in a recent op-ed, “Oh Ben!” With GOP candidate Ben Carson, we are truly touching the fringes of Crazy Town. He has blamed the Roseburg, OR victims for their own deaths of injuries. Dr. Carson declared that no bullet-ridden human body could possibly devastate as much as “taking away the Second Amendment,” when nobody has ever tried to do such a thing. Walking awkwardly backwards from that gem of misjudgment, he recommended that victims faced by a madman armed with multiple firearms, including a semi-automatic assault rifle, to attack the shooter. Tha, apparently, is what brave Ben would have done.

But wait! It gets better. Apparently, the Holocaust could have been prevented but for gun restrictions in Nazi Germany. Apparently gun control resulted in 60 million WW2 European theatre deaths. Following his “They should have defended themselves” gaffe, he claims that he was held at gunpoint at some earlier point in his life. What does he say he did? Words to the effect, “Hey, point your gun at the guy behind the counter.” Brave fellow, this Dr. Ben. And he striving for the leadership of the free world. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

Since candidate Carly Fiorina has never served in public office, she has no palpable performance record to judge. We can only go by what she has said. In her 2010 senatorial contest in California versus Barbara Boxer, Fiorina made clear that she endorsed the NRA position of permitting people on the US terrorist no-fly list. Her rationale? The list is flawed, so there should be no restriction. Guns in the hands of suspected terrorists on commercial aircraft? A brilliant idea by any measure.

As demonstrated in a recent speech to the NRA, Ms. Fiorina has unequivocally and uncritically thrown her hat in the NRA ring. More guns are the solution for America’s orgy of gun-enabled lethality. Fiorina’s penchant for lying to reinforce her political extremism stretches back to the Boxer debate when she claimed that the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy had inappropriately been placed on the no-fly list. This was false. Kennedy never appeared on that list.

What does candidate Hillary Clinton have to say about gun sanity? Ms. Clinton has strongly advocated for sensible gun regulation, especially concerning the unchecked distribution of increasingly powerful firearms. Following the atrocity of killing in Roanoke VA, Clinton declared “I also want to reiterate that we have got to do something about gun violence in America, and I will take it on.” According to The Hill, gun sense advocates strongly support her candidacy, just as conservatives like Senator Cruz, calling Hillary a “gun grabber,” challenge her to “come and take” theirs.

Jeb! — AKA the “Energizer Bunny” candidate — has developed through his years in public life from moderate support for certain gun controls such as instant background checks on gun show purchases (1998) to enactment of the NRA-drafted Florida “Stand Your Ground” law that was invoked in the defense of George Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin to death in 2012. In 2005, under the Jeb! state administration, Florida’s SYG law was the first of its kind in the nation. Eager to strut his conservative creds and to showcase his “leadership,” Jeb! has doubled-down on SYG several times in 2015.

Donald Trump’s positions on gun sense might best be described as conflicted. In his book, The America We Deserve, he has endorsed gun activists’ fear-mongering that Democrats want to confiscate all guns, which is a flat-out untruth. At the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he declared outright that he is “against gun control.”

During the current election season, Trump swore undying fealty to the NRA, bringing two sons and a daughter-in-law on-stage as solemn, if wooden, public witnesses to his devotion. The irony lies in his conversion from a position in 2000 that opposed the sale of assault rifles and supported a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of any gun and critiqued the GOP’s mindless genuflection to the NRA agenda. Additional tid-bits from The Donald on gun safety show up in a recent interview in the ever-paranoid InfoWars, an outlet of the equally paranoid Alex Jones.

Marco Rubio’s position on gun regulation seems to depend on his audience-du-jour. While he has dutifully genuflected to the NRA (which accords Rubio an “B+” rating), he has also admitted the possibility of restrictions on felons and the mentally ill. He has expressed skepticism that would allow employees to carry guns to work. Shortly after the community college mass shooting in Oregon, Rubio declared that no gun regulation would have prevented that massacre. Instead of focusing on gun laws, Rubio suggests, more attention is warranted for treating mental illness. He states this while his Party slashes funding for programs that address mental health in America.

Rubio has opined that neither criminals nor the mentally ill should carry guns so long as restrictions do not impinge upon the rights of “law-abiding” citizens. ETM Now supports this position, except concerning military-purposed semi-automatic assault rifles. The rub lies in the fact that the NRA, on whose support Rubio’s political ambitions depend, resists any and all measures proposed to stem the flow of firearms to such persons. Rubio voted for and staunchly supports Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, enacted when he served in the State legislature. Trayvon Martin’s family most likely disagrees with Rubio’s position on SYG.

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