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John Edwards on Gun Control

Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator


Right to bear arms protected by Second Amendment, with rules

I believe the right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment. I also support reasonable measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including closing the gun show loophole and vigorously enforcing gun laws.
Source: 2004 Presidential National Political Awareness Test Mar 3, 2004

Hunting is fine, but criminals & kids should have limits

Q: How will your gun stance play among Southern voters?

EDWARDS: I grew up in the rural South. Everyone around me hunted, everyone had guns. I respect and believe in people's Second Amendment rights. That does not, however, mean that somebody needs an AK-47 to hunt. It does not mean that somebody who's been convicted of a violent crime should be able to walk out of prison, walk across the street and buy a gun. It does not mean that we shouldn't take every step that we can take to keep guns safe and keep guns out of the hands of kids. So, my belief is, first, I defend people's Second Amendment rights, but I don't think it's without limit.

Q: What federal gun control measures you would propose?

EDWARDS: I think we should extend the Brady Bill, which is set to expire. I think that we need to close forever the gun-show loophole, [to avoid criminals] buying a gun. I think it does make sense to have trigger locks for the purpose of keeping guns safe from children.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Leading Dems distance themselves from divisive gun debate

Democratic presidential candidates are distancing themselves from tough gun control, reversing a decade of rhetoric and advocacy by the Democratic Party in favor of federal regulation of firearms.

Howard Dean proudly tells audiences that the NRA endorsed him as governor of Vermont, and that he would leave most gun laws to the states. Dick Gephardt, a longtime gun control advocate, is careful to highlight his support for law-abiding gun owners. John Edwards says, "Guns are about independence. They don't want people messing with that."

As a result, Democratic strategists predict the debate over gun laws in this campaign will be less divisive. Democrats might fight for narrow proposals to make guns safer and more difficult for children and criminals to obtain, they said, yet voters are likely to hear as much about enforcing existing gun laws as creating new ones-a position Republicans and the NRA have pushed for years.

Source: Jim VandeHei, Washington Post, p. A1 Oct 26, 2003

Guns are about independence-don't mess with that

"It's very important for us as Democrats to understand that where I come from guns are about a lot more than guns themselves," said John Edwards. "They are about independence. For a lot of people who work hard for a living, one of the few things they feel they have any control over is whether they can buy a gun and hunt. They don't want people messing with that, which I understand."
Source: Jim VandeHei, Washington Post, p. A1 Oct 26, 2003

Voted YES on background checks at gun shows.

Require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)50; VP decided YES
Reference: Lautenberg Amdt #362; Bill S. 254 ; vote number 1999-134 on May 20, 1999

Voted NO on more penalties for gun & drug violations.

The Hatch amdt would increase mandatory penalties for the illegal transfer or use of firearms, fund additional drug case prosecutors, and require background check on purchasers at gun shows. [A YES vote supports stricter penalties].
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)48; N)47; NV)5
Reference: Hatch Amendment #344; Bill S. 254 ; vote number 1999-118 on May 14, 1999

Voted NO on loosening license & background checks at gun shows.

Vote to table or kill a motion to require that all gun sales at gun shows be completed by federally licensed gun dealers. Also requires background checks to be completed on buyers and requires gun show promoters to register with the Treasury.
Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-111 on May 11, 1999

Other candidates on Gun Control: John Edwards on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts