One of the starkest differences on policy that exists between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is on guns, specifically what limitations there should be on gun ownership and the role of Congress and the courts in establishing clear guidelines.
And so it was rather striking to find that the two candidates seemed to agree on at least one gun policy Monday.
Clinton, in a tense exchange over criminal justice issues, reiterated her support for what Democrats and gun control advocates have called a “no fly, no buy” policy to restrict individuals on the airline terrorist watch list from being able to purchase guns.
Trump’s response: “We have to look very strongly at no-fly lists. … I tend to agree with that.”
Trump went on, though, to reiterate his pro-gun bona fides, citing his endorsement from the National Rifle Assn.
Though he once wrote that he supported a ban on sales of assault weapons and longer wait periods for gun sales, as a presidential candidate Trump has vowed to vigorously defend an individual’s right to bear arms and oppose seemingly most restrictions.
He repeatedly says on the campaign trail that Clinton wants to do away with the 2nd Amendment, even launching a controversy over what exactly he meant when he suggested “2ndAmendment people” could stop her from doing so if she were elected.
“The 2nd Amendment is on the ballot in November,” he said in May as he addressed the NRA, which had just endorsed him. “This is the most basic human right of all, yet Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away.”
To the extent he has previously weighed in on specific restrictions on gun ownership, he has argued against them. “We’re getting rid of gun-free zones,” he said at one point in the NRA speech. And he has argued that terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino could have been avoided if victims had themselves been armed. He said the same of the Orlando, Fla., nightclub massacre, going even further than the NRA’s leadership was willing to before backtracking himself.
Clinton offered her own proposals for gun safety laws in October 2015 at events in New Hampshire. She mirrored and in some cases went beyond some of the recommendations made by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden after the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012.
She said she would consider using executive authority to eliminate the loophole that allows gun sales over the Internet or at gun shows to proceed without background checks. She said she would close the “Charleston loophole” that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed in three days. And she would seek to overturn a 2005 law that offered gun manufacturers immunity from prosecution when firearms are used in crimes.
Separately, Clinton advisors have said that she disagreed with a 2008 Supreme Court decision that struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns. The majority opinion of that 5-4 decision, written by late Justice Antonin Scalia, stated that the 2nd Amendment provided a “right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” but emphasized that the high court was not meant “to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms.”
That has been the predicate since for additional lawsuits challenging gun laws across the country, though not all have been successful.
Clinton told ABC News in January said the 2nd Amendment, like “every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulation.”
But Clinton has rejected Trump’s assertion that she would seek to overturn the 2nd Amendment.
“I’m not here to take away your guns,” she said as she accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in July. “I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place. We will work tirelessly with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.”
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