Where 2020 Democrats stand on
gun control

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Do you support a federal assault weapons ban?

Yes, with a mandatory buyback

Yes, with a mandatory buyback

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “Ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks,” Booker's gun-safety plan said. He co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019. “To me, this is very similar to the machine gun ban that we saw many years ago,” Booker told Vox. “First of all, just having an outright ban on them, [we] began to see the reduction of their existence in the hands of private citizens. I just think that we need to go as far as we possibly can in removing these weapons of war from our communities and from our streets. I know this is something that ultimately we [need to] get the Democratic Party on board with, but I would like to see a buyback program and a mandatory turnover.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “Yes, assault weapons should be banned, and we should initiate a mandatory buyback program,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Yes, with a voluntary buyback

Yes, with a voluntary buyback

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“As president, Biden will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun. Under current law, we protect migratory game birds more than children. The ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality. While working to pass this legislation,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Biden will also use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons. Biden will also institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets. This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: Sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. Bennet supports a federal assault weapons ban and a voluntary buyback program, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. Bloomberg “supports a ban on sales of assault weapons on a going-forward basis,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “For people who own assault weapons prior to the enactment of an assault weapons ban, [Bloomberg] supports a law that would allow those people to keep those firearms, if they register them with the government. However, future transfers of those firearms would not be allowed, other than to a licensed dealer or to law enforcement. [Bloomberg] would support a government-funded program that enables people to sell those firearms for value to the government, if they decide that they no longer want to own them. This policy is sometimes called a "voluntary buyback program.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg supports a federal assault weapons ban and a voluntary buyback program, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro's gun-safety plan pledged to “renew a permanent assault weapons ban. Weapons of war do not belong in the communities of America. These firearms were designed with the singular purpose of inflicting mass human casualties. Require registration of assault weapons already owned by individuals under the National Firearms Act. Establish a buyback program through an Assault Weapons Reduction Trust Fund to purchase firearms including assault weapons and banned high capacity magazines to ensure 2021 is the high-water mark of weapons of war on American streets.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. “I support a federal assault weapons ban and would be open to a voluntary buyback program,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar supports a federal assault weapons ban and a voluntary buyback program, she told The Post. She co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick supports a federal assault weapons ban and a voluntary buyback program, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. Sanders co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. “Yes. I support a voluntary gun buyback program,” Steyer told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “Congress should again ban the future production, sale, and importation of military-style assault weapons, and require individuals already in possession of assault weapons to register them under the National Firearms Act,” Warren told The Post. “We should establish a buyback program to allow those who wish to do so to return their weapon for safe disposal, and individuals who fail to register or return their assault weapon should face penalties.” Warren co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “These military-style firearms have played a major role in making mass shootings even more deadly,” a Yang spokesperson told The Post. “They should be banned, with a voluntary buy-back program, and the definition should be sufficiently flexible to handle design-arounds by the gun manufacturers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Yes, stance on buyback unclear

Yes, stance on buyback unclear

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Democrats are clamoring to tighten the nation’s gun laws after years of outrage following mass shootings and pent up frustration with inaction in Congress. Gun control became a major issue during the 2018 midterm elections and 2019 state elections, especially in suburban districts.

The candidates universally support requiring a background check for every gun purchase and a federal ban on assault weapons. Most backed laws that allow courts to take guns from mentally unfit individuals.

But Democrats disagree on how to handle existing assault weapons. Most are pitching a government program to buy weapons if gun owners choose to turn them over. A smaller group has said such a program should be mandatory. Gun-rights advocates say that these measures and others would violate their Second Amendment rights and could lead to confiscation of their weapons.

Where the candidates stand

Here’s where the candidates stand on gun policy, based on their statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire that was sent to every campaign.

Question 2 of 6

Yes, for all guns

Yes, for all guns

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “Require every gun buyer to get a permit before making a purchase,” Bloomberg's gun-safety plan said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun,” Booker's gun-safety plan said. “[Booker's] plan would implement a national gun licensing program. A mounting body of evidence shows that gun licensing programs are effective at reducing gun violence.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg supports federal gun licensing, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro's gun-safety plan pledged to “require a license to purchase firearms. This policy will ensure gun buyers have passed a background check before they own a gun, which research suggests leads to fewer gun homicides and suicides. Establish a federal firearm licensing program through the ATF that requires registering fingerprints, an FBI background check and law enforcement interview, and the completion of a federally certified gun safety course, before allowing an individual to purchase and own firearms.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. “We will create a single, unified database for tracking who is too dangerous to own a firearm and step up enforcement of current background checks,” Patrick's gun safety plan said. “We should regulate guns like we do cars, and establish a nationwide licensing system for gun owners.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer supports federal gun licensing, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “Yes, we need to create a federal licensing system,” Warren told The Post. “States with strict licensing requirements experience lower rates of gun trafficking and violence. A license is required to drive a car, and Congress should establish a similarly straightforward federal licensing system for the purchase of any type of firearm or ammunition.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “Yes, and they should include complete coursework, training, and requirements — including age restrictions and periodic renewal -- along the same lines as licenses to drive a car,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “Yes. Gun licensing is a great first step in implementing an effective way to make sure guns are purchased and used responsibly,” a Yang spokesperson told The Post. “His gun licensing system would have a 5-year renewal requirement, as well as require a federal background check, an interview with a federal agent, pass a basic hunting or firearm safety class, and show proof for an appropriately-sized gun locker, or trigger locks (tax deductible).”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Only for assault weapons

Only for assault weapons

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “[Sanders] will require gun licenses for assault weapons in order to regulate them in the same way that we currently regulate fully automatic weapons — a system that essentially makes them unlawful to own,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. Sanders “has co-sponsored legislation to provide grants to states to improve handgun licensing programs,” his campaign told the New York Times.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

No

No

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Biden will enact legislation to give states and local governments grants to require individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a gun,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. “No. We are all working to achieve the same goal — to ensure firearms are kept out of the wrong hands,” Bennet told The Post. “We are much more likely to achieve that by passing universal background checks, putting limits on magazines and banning assault weapons.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. “I would be open to a federal permit-to-purchase requirement for all gun sales,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. A Klobuchar spokesperson did not answer The Post's question about gun licensing. She supports a gun-licensing requirement, but "would consider" whether it should apply to all guns or certain types, a campaign spokesperson told the New York Times.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

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Background Gun-control activists argue that federal law should require gun owners to obtain a license or permit for purchasing firearms, which a study found reduced gun deaths. Six states and the District require a license or permit to purchase all types of guns, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that require a permit or license to purchase guns

Required for all types of guns

Required for some guns

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that require a permit or license to purchase guns

Required for all types of guns

Required for some guns

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that require a permit or license to purchase guns

Required for all types of guns

Required for some guns

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Question 3 of 6

Yes

Yes

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. Booker supports a gun registration requirement, he told the New York Times.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick supports a gun registration requirement, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “Yes, I believe all guns should be registered,” Warren told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson supports a federal gun registry, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. Yang supports a gun registration requirement for new guns, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Only for assault weapons

Only for assault weapons

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“No, except assault weapons and other firearms covered by the National Firearms Act,” Biden told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “All assault weapons owners would be required to register their firearms with the US Department of Justice,” Bloomberg told The Post. “In addition, the government would keep a sales record for every new firearm purchase; for all previously owned firearms (other than assault weapons), owners would not be required to take any action.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro's gun-safety plan pledged to “require registration of assault weapons already owned by individuals under the National Firearms Act.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “[Sanders] will require owners of assault weapons to register them, in the same way machine gun owners must currently register their machine guns,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer supports a federal gun registry, he told The Post. His gun-safety plan calls for a "national assault weapon registry."

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

No

No

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. “No. We are all working to achieve the same goal — to ensure firearms are kept out of the wrong hands,” Bennet told The Post. “We are much more likely to achieve that by passing universal background checks, putting limits on magazines, and banning assault weapons.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg does not support a federal gun registry, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. Delaney did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

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Background This proposal would require gun owners to register their firearms with law enforcement. Advocates say such a federal database would hold gun owners accountable by more closely tying a gun to its owner. Opponents say such a registry would provide the federal government with too much information about gun owners and possibly lead to confiscation of their firearms. Six states and the District have instituted some version of gun registries, but eight states ban them, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have instituted or have banned gun registries

Has some form of a gun registry

Has banned registries of some or all guns

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have instituted or have banned gun registries

Has some form of a gun registry

Has banned registries of some or all guns

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have instituted or have banned gun registries

Has some form of a gun registry

Has banned registries of some or all guns

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Question 4 of 6

Yes

Yes

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. Booker believes the federal minimum age to purchase a gun should be 21, he told the New York Times.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar believes the federal minimum age to purchase a gun should be 21, a campaign spokesperson told the New York Times.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick believes the federal minimum age to purchase a gun should be 21, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. “Twenty one. As a gun owner, I believe in responsibility. That is why I will work tirelessly to make the process of buying, operating and selling guns more transparent and more safe for every American,” Steyer told The Post. “I will create a special Office on Gun Violence Prevention, reporting directly to the president, to coordinate efforts at all levels of government to make the gun violence epidemic a top priority in my administration, and to implement solutions that are already proven to make a difference. I will work through this office to coordinate efforts at the federal level to strengthen oversight, and I will fully fund these efforts at all levels of government, including states and municipalities. This office will also tackle the issue of white supremacy that is present in our country today, by working across federal agencies in a coordinated manner.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “I’ll use executive action to extend existing age requirements to virtually all sales. But federal law is currently conflicting — for example, a person must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed dealer, but only 18 to purchase a rifle,” Warren told The Post. “Congress should set the federal minimum age at 21 for all gun sales.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson believes the federal minimum age to purchase a gun should be 21.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Yes, with exceptions

Yes, with exceptions

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “Require gun buyers to be at least 21 years old to buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns,” Bloomberg's gun-safety plan said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “Yes. [Sanders] supports a 21-year-old minimum purchase age, except for long guns and shotguns with fixed capacity magazines that are primarily intended for hunting,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

No

No

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg believes the federal minimum age to purchase a gun should be 18. “If you can join the armed services at 18, you should be able to buy a gun at 18,” Buttigieg told the New York Times.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. Delaney believes the federal minimum age to purchase a gun should be 18.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “[Yang] would keep the current federal laws in place and let states increase the age as they see appropriate,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. Bennet did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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Background Federal law prohibits licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone under 21 and long guns to anyone under 18, though unlicensed sellers face fewer restrictions. State laws are a patchwork, and some allow those in rural areas as young as 14 to buy guns used for hunting. Many Democrats wish to hike the minimum age and apply it more broadly to all sellers.

Question 5 of 6

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. Bennet supports a federal red-flag law, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “Pass a federal red flag law that expands extreme risk orders to 50 states — and funds state efforts to maximize the policy,” Bloomberg's gun-safety plan said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg supports a federal red-flag law, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. Delaney supports a federal red-flag law, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar supports a federal red-flag law, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick supports a federal red-flag law, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “Yes. [Sanders] supports legislation to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers and “red flag” laws such as the one in place in Vermont, which allows for temporary removal of firearms from those deemed by a state court a danger to themselves or others,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer supports a federal red-flag law, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “Yes. Congress should pass a federal extreme risk law and create a grant system to incentivize states to enact their own laws that clearly define extreme risk,” Warren told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson supports a federal red-flag law, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “Yes. Those who are a verifiable risk to themselves or others should not have access to firearms,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Encourage states to pass them

Encourage states to pass them

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Yes. Biden will incentivize state 'extreme risk' laws,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Extreme risk laws, also called 'red flag' laws, enable family members or law enforcement officials to temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms when that individual is in crisis and poses a danger to themselves or others. Biden will incentivize the adoption of these laws by giving states funds to implement them. And, he’ll direct the U.S. Department of Justice to issue best practices and offer technical assistance to states interested in enacting an extreme risk law.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “An extreme risk protection order (ERPO) empowers family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from individuals showing warning signs of hurting themselves or others,” Booker's gun-safety plan said. “[Booker] will incentivize states to pass ERPO laws, along with robust due process protections.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro's gun-safety plan pledged to “institute extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws. Empower families, household members, and law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from an individual at risk of harming themselves or others by supporting state governments with grants to implement and enforce these laws.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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Background Seventeen states and the District have adopted “red-flag” laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders, that allow courts to temporarily block access to guns for individuals deemed mentally unfit following a petition from family members or law enforcement. Supporters say the laws have been used to preempt mass shootings and suicides where they have been implemented.

President Trump backed a federal “red-flag” law following mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, but quietly abandoned it. A September 2019 Washington Post-ABC News poll found 86 percent of the public favors such a law.

States that have adopted “red-flag” laws

Has adopted “red-flag” law

Has not

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have adopted “red-flag” laws

Has adopted “red-flag” law

Has not

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have adopted “red-flag” laws

Has adopted “red-flag” law

Has not

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Question 6 of 6

Yes

Yes

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Yes. Biden will enact universal background check legislation, requiring a background check for all gun sales with very limited exceptions, such as gifts between close family members,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “This will close the so-called 'gun show and online sales loophole' that the Obama-Biden Administration narrowed, but which cannot be fully closed by executive action alone.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. Bennet supports universal background checks, he told The Post. He co-sponsored the Background Check Expansion Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “Require point-of-sale background checks for all gun sales and finally close the private sale loophole, which enables prohibited people to buy guns simply by finding unlicensed sellers at gun shows or on the Internet,” Bloomberg's gun-safety plan said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “Ensure a background check on every gun sale by closing the loophole on gun show and online sales and the so-called 'Charleston Loophole,'” Booker's gun-safety plan said. He co-sponsored the Background Check Expansion Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg supports universal background checks, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro's gun-safety plan pledged to “implement universal background checks and close NRA loopholes.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. Delaney supports universal background checks, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard co-sponsored the Background Check Expansion Act to require background checks.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar supports universal background checks, she told The Post. She co-sponsored the Background Check Expansion Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. As governor in 2014, Patrick signed a gun bill that, among other things, required background checks on private gun sales.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “Yes. [Sanders] is a proud co-sponsor of the Background Check Expansion Act, which would require a background check for any sale or transfer of a gun,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “As President, [Sanders] will take executive action to expand existing background check requirements and close purchasing loopholes.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer supports universal background checks, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “Yes. I’ll expand background checks via executive action to bring the vast majority of private sales, including at gun shows and online, under the existing background check umbrella, push Congress to close the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allows a sale to proceed after three days even if the background check is not complete, and redefine anyone “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms to include the vast majority of gun sales outside of family-to-family exchanges,” Warren told The Post. She co-sponsored the Background Check Expansion Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson supports universal background checks, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “As President, I will close the gun show and Charleston loopholes, requiring all gun sales and most transfers to have a background check run and completed,” Yang's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

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Background Federally licensed gun dealers are required by the Gun Control Act of 1968 to conduct a background check on buyers before selling a gun, but occasional sellers can do so without such a check. President Barack Obama repeatedly argued for legislation extending background checks to all gun sales and took executive action to modestly expand background checks in the last year of his presidency.

A September 2019 Washington Post-ABC News poll found 89 percent of the public favor requiring background checks for all potential gun buyers.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. gun policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role, and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports and surveys. See something we missed? Let us know.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

Curious about where candidates stand on another policy? Fill out this suggestion form.

Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.

Recent changes on this page

April 8 Sanders and Gabbard dropped out of the presidential race.

March 5 Warren dropped out of the presidential race.

March 4 Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race.

March 2 Klobuchar dropped out of the presidential race.

March 1 Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race.

March 1 Steyer dropped out of the presidential race.

Feb. 12 Patrick dropped out of presidential race.

Feb. 11 Bennet and Yang dropped out of presidential race.

Jan. 31 Patrick released a gun safety plan that included support for licensing.

Jan. 31 Delaney dropped out of presidential race.

Jan. 18 Included Patrick's support for a voluntary buyback, gun registration and increasing the minimum age to buy a gun.

Jan. 13 Added Bloomberg support for registration of assault weapons.

Jan. 13 Booker dropped out of presidential race.

Jan. 10 Williamson dropped out of presidential race.

Jan. 2 Castro dropped out of presidential race.

Dec. 19 Bloomberg's campaign said he supports a voluntary buyback program.

Dec. 15 Included Patrick's support for a federal red-flag law following a note from his campaign.

Dec. 13 Included Yang responses after his campaign returned the survey.

Dec. 13 Page published.

Kevin Uhrmacher

Kevin Uhrmacher is a graphics editor for politics at The Washington Post. His work includes mapping trends in election results, analyzing data about President Trump’s political appointees and explaining the impact of congressional policies. He joined The Post in 2014 as a news designer.

Kevin Schaul

Kevin Schaul is a senior graphics editor for The Washington Post. He covers national politics and public policy using data and visuals.

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