In the United States, you can be shot at an elementary school, murdered at church, or even executed on live TV – and yet there’s no real expectation of gun reform. The NRA is lobbying our politicians and gun companies are footing the bill. Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of universal background checks yet even common-sense reforms are being rejected at the state and federal level. Below is a guide to where the 2016 presidential candidates stand on gun control.

Hillary Clinton (D)

Clinton believes that America needs stronger regulations and has vowed as president that she would take it on.  According to her campaign site, Hillary supports logical actions to lower and stop gun violence. She would like to have universal background checks, crack down on illegal gun traffickers, and prevent ownership of guns by domestic abusers and stalkers.

Clinton defended the need for background checks on sales of firearms, not only with the Brady Bill, but also with sales of firearms at private gun shows/events. More and more people are conducting their own checks, with many providers now offering a cost-effective background check, open to the general public.

Hillary, during a speech at Des Moines Area Community College, said in regards to gun violence, “It happens every day and there is so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available, if we had universal background checks, if we could put some timeout between the person who is upset because he got fired or the domestic abuse or whatever other motivation may be working on someone who does this – that maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage.”

Bernie Sanders (D)

Sanders stands strong in his belief that gun control should be handled at the state level with the exception of federally required instant background screening for the purchase of a firearm.

Sanders feels gun control should be a state issue because “attitudes and actions with regards to firearms differ greatly between rural and urban communities.” Bernie also recognizes the need for federal intervention in relation to requiring the instant background screening for all firearms purchases to keep guns from getting into the hands of felons and the mentally ill. Sanders voted against the Brady Bill among others, which has been a subject of criticism among some liberal groups.

Bernie has voted in favor of a nationwide ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines of over ten rounds.  In June, Sanders spoke spoke on the matter saying, “We need strong sensible gun control, and I will support it. But some people think it’s going to solve all of our problems, and it’s not.  You know what, we have a crisis in the capability of addressing mental health illness in this country. When people are hurting and are prepared to do something terrible, we need to do something immediately. We don’t have that and we should have that.”

Ted Cruz (R)

Ted opposes “unreasonable and burdensome” gun restrictions, and has voted “no” on banning high-capacity magazines.

After the shootings earlier this year in Charleston, PBS host Tavis Smiley tried to discuss gun control with Senator Cruz after a statement he made to a crowd in Iowa.  Cruz said during his visit, “We need a Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms. You know the great thing about the state of Iowa, I’m pretty sure y’all define ‘gun control’ the same way we do in Texas – hittin’ what you aim at.”

 John Kasich (R)

On his campaign site, it states that as Governor of Ohio, Kasich removed restrictions on licensing requirements for hunters and created policies to expand hunting rights in the state.  He has also enacted legislation in the state that protected the concealed carry laws, privacy of permit holders, reciprocity licenses with other states, and expanding where permit holders are legally able to carry their firearms.

John opposes any further restrictions on guns and initially voted in favor of the 1994 ban on assault rifles, but then backed off of that stating that we should have a “cooling-off” period after gun-violence related tragedies before implementing new laws on the issue.

Donald Trump (R)

Trump’s campaign site discusses his views on the 2nd Amendment in great detail and states the Constitution doesn’t create the right to keep and bear arms; it ensures the government cannot take it away.

Trump supports enforcing gun laws already in place, but also believes the background check system is flawed.

Recently Trump declared that he wants to allow a national concealed carry law, allowing any gun owner with a permit to concealed carry to do so in any state legally.  He also supports ‘Project Exile’ which he wants to see implemented across the country.


To see where the candidate stand on other issues, check out the articles below:


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