- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS The AP asked the following question of all the Democratic presidential candidates: GUNS — How, if at all, should federal gun laws be changed? • Wesley Clark: “First and foremost, we need to do a better job of enforcing our existing gun laws. I will do better. Next, I will push for a law that closes the ‘gun show loophole.’ Many states already have laws requiring background checks for gun purchases at gun shows. This is just common sense. If background checks are a good idea at gun stores, then they’re a good idea at gun shows. I will make this a federal law. Finally, we ought to make sure that guns are designed with safety as a priority. For example, trigger locks on handguns would prevent a substantial number of the accidental shootings that occur every year. In addition, guns should feature indicators that show when they are loaded.” • Howard Dean: “I favor reauthorizing the federal ban on assault weapons and requiring use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for all sales at gun shows. I support all other existing federal gun laws and would vigorously enforce them. Beyond that, each state can decide if additional gun laws are needed.” • Sen. John Edwards: “I grew up in small towns where gun ownership was a way of life. I have deep respect for that way of life, and I believe the Second Amendment protects it. At the same time, I believe we must support gun safety and keep guns out of the hands of criminals. To achieve these goals, I support modest changes in federal gun laws — closing the gun show loophole and requiring trigger locks on new weapons — which we should take while honoring the right to own guns for hunting, sporting or personal protection.” • Sen. John Kerry: “I am a gun owner and hunter, and I believe that law-abiding American adults have the right to own guns. But like all of our rights, gun rights come with responsibilities, and those rights allow for reasonable restrictions to keep guns out of the wrong hands. I strongly support all of the federal gun laws on the books, and I would take steps to ensure that they are vigorously enforced. I will also close the gun show loophole, which is allowing criminals to get access to guns at gun shows without background checks, fix the background check system, which is in a serious state of disrepair, and require that all handguns be sold with a child safety lock.” • Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich: “In this mobile society, national control of guns is necessary, just as it is with pollution. It is the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. However, it is not the right of American felons to arm themselves. As president, I would support legislation to require background checks, identical to the background checks currently required for transfers by licensed gun dealers, for firearm transfers by unlicensed gun dealers at gun shows. Sensible laws to prevent guns from winding up in the wrong hands do not infringe on any constitutional rights.” cSen. Joe Lieberman: “I support common-sense gun safety laws — closing the gun show loophole, enforcing the Brady Bill, and providing better protection for our neighborhoods. We need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and provide law enforcement with the funding and tools needed to effectively cut down on gun violence.” cAl Sharpton: No response.

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