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Gun Control On CNN Town Halls: Assault Weapons Ban, Universal Background Checks

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Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts led the charge for gun control during Monday’s CNN Town Hall events, both calling for universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

They appeared along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in a series of open forums CNN hosted last night to showcase positions of the 2020 Democratic nomination hopefuls. Questions came from the audience.

Only a few of the candidates were asked about issues related to guns. The first question came during Warren’s appearance. Warren was asked about legislation to keep police safe.

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“One of the main ways that we could help make our police safer is to get serious about gun safety in this country,” Warren said.

“We need universal background checks. We need to take weapons of war off our city streets. Right now, we live in an America where seven children and teenagers will die every single day. Where the lives of officers are put at risk. We need as a country to step up to be more responsible, to be willing to push back against the NRA, and to put some sensible gun safety laws in place.”

In the next forum, Harris pointed to Washington, D.C., for promoting the “false choice” that one is either supportive of the 2nd Amendment or “you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

Harris took it a step further when a teacher asked how she’d confront school shootings, saying she would give congress 100 days to “get their act together” to pass gun-control legislation. If it fails, Harris promised to use an executive order to mandate gun sales background checks for anyone who sells more than 5 guns a year.

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In the last part of her answer, Harris promised to reverse what she called a Trump administration policy. “They took fugitives off the list of prohibitive people. I’d put them back on the list, meaning that fugitives from justice should not be able to purchase a handgun or any kind of weapon.”

Harris was likely referring to the Trump administration’s ongoing refusal to ban people on the “no-fly” list from purchasing firearms.

While no other direct mentions of gun control initiatives came up in any other sessions, Bernie Sanders was asked about putting armed guards in schools: “I was a mayor for eight years,” he said. “…lethal force, use of a weapon that kills somebody, should be the last response, not, as is too often the case, the first response.

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