Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

Al Gore on Gun Control

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


Focus on gun safety, not hunters & sportsmen

Q: Do you support the Brady Bill?

BUSH: Law-abiding citizens ought to be allowed to protect their families. We ought to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. That’s why I’m for instant background checks at gun shows. I’m for trigger locks. I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun. I also believe that the best way to make sure that we keep our society safe is to hold people accountable for breaking the law. If we catch somebody illegally selling a gun, there needs to be a consequence. The federal government can help.

GORE: All my proposals are focused on that problem: gun safety. None of my proposals would have any effect on hunters or sportsmen or people who use rifles. They’re aimed at the real problem. Let’s have a three-day waiting period, A cooling off, so we can have a background check to make sure that criminals and people who really shouldn’t have guns don’t get them.

Source: (X-ref Bush) St. Louis debate , Oct 17, 2000

Restrict guns from wrong hands, not sportsmen & homeowners

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

Gun licensing by states, but no registration

BUSH [to Gore]: I disagree on this issue. He’s for registration of guns. I think the only people who are going to show up to register or get a license, are law-abiding citizens. The criminal’s not going to show up and say, hey, give me my I.D. card, and I don’t think that’s going to be an effective tool to make the, keep our society safe.

GORE: I’m not for registration. I am for licensing by states of new handgun purchases: A photo license I.D. like a driver’s license for new handguns.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

No special lawsuit protection for gun makers

Gore has a checkered history when it comes to guns. As a Congressman in rural Tennessee, he was not against them As a senator and Vice president, he changed tack completely, working hard for the Brady Bill and the ban on assault weapons. It is perhaps his proudest association with the president, after the economy. Gore would:
  • introduce mandatory photo licenses for handgun purchases
  • limit gun sales to one per person per month
  • crack down on gun shows
  • ban “junk guns” (cheap handguns often used in violent crimes)
  • increase penalties for knowingly selling a gun to someone ineligible to purchase one
  • require gun manufacturers and federally-licensed sellers to report gun sales to a state authority
  • oppose efforts to provide special legal protection for gun manufacturers, or to loosen existing limits on concealed weapons
  • increase penalties for gun-trafficking and gun-related crimes.
    Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special , Sep 30, 2000

    Mandatory background checks & child safety locks

    I’ll fight to make every school in this nation drug-free and gun-free. I believe in the right of sportsmen and hunters and law-abiding citizens to own firearms. But I want mandatory background checks to keep guns away from criminals, and mandatory child safety locks to protect our children.
    Source: Speech to the 2000 Democratic National Convention , Aug 18, 2000

    Agrees with Bush on banning weapons; but wants registration

    Source: Associated Press in Los Angeles Times , Apr 21, 2000

    Nationally mandated, state-run system of photo licensing

    Noting that more than one of the guns used at Columbine was purchased at a gun show, Gore stressed the need to close the gun show loophole that allows purchasers to avoid background checks when buying guns at gun shows. Gore also called for requiring child-safety locks on handguns; banning junk guns and assault weapons; and requiring a nationally mandated, state-run system of photo licensing and a full background check for all new handgun purchases.
    Source: Press Release, Fort Lee, NJ , Apr 20, 2000

    Ban guns in churches; “lock box” for crime funding

    Gore announced today that he would ban firearms from places of worship and where school events are held, and highlighted his comprehensive anti-crime agenda. Gore also announced the administration’s support of a Senate proposal that would create a budgetary “lock-box” for law enforcement. “We need to seize upon the growing consensus that it is time to get guns away from those who should not have them,” Gore said. “I believe in the rights of hunters, sportsmen and legitimate gun owners. But America cannot afford another Columbine, or Paducah, or Jonesboro.“

    Gore would fight to enact legislation to prohibit the carrying of a firearm in churches, synagogues, mosques, and all places of worship, as well as places where school events are held. And Gore supports ”lock box“ legislation that would protect criminal justice funding for the next five years, and would allow local communities to plan for the future without having to worry every year that their funds would be used for other purposes.

    Source: Press Release , Apr 14, 2000

    Supported gun rights in 1970s, because his constituents did

    Gore opposed additional gun registration laws in 1976, despite having written an editorial at the Tennesseean in which he decried the proliferation of cheap handguns. “It seemed to me he was trying to reposition himself, said his Tennesseean editor. Gore bristled when reporters asked him about his newfound conservatism. ”I believe what I say,“ he protested. Privately, though, he was more candid. An editor recalls, ”Gore said, ‘Look, I’m running in a district where people favor guns, and there’s no way I can win if I take a position that indicates I’m going to take away their guns. It’s as simple as that.’“

    Local gun owners were no exactly sold on their new best friend Al Gore. Their instincts were right. As a senator in 1990 he would support an unsuccessful attempt to ban assault-style weapons. A year later he voted for the Brady Bill, which required a 5-day waiting period and police background check for handgun purchases.

    Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.119 , Mar 3, 2000

    Take on the NRA with presidential leadership

    BRADLEY. We make a mistake when we take a tragic incident and we look at that one individual case [instead of] a much broader case. Everybody was struck by Columbine. Why? Because we saw our own kids, they looked like our kids, we thought. But 13 kids are killed every day in America with a gun and 800,000 kids took a gun to school last year. Now that is not going to change unless there’s concerted leadership from the national government that’s willing to marshal public opinion to overcome the vested interest, the special interest that’s embodied in the NRA.

    GORE: I agree with that. I was a co-sponsor of the Brady Law. I cast the tie-breaking vote to close the so-called gun show loophole. The NRA has targeted me as a result. We have got to take them on strongly and pass new gun control legislation-not aimed at hunters and sportsmen, but at these handguns that are causing so much distress in our country.

    Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles , Mar 1, 2000

    Tough gun laws & so much more, to stop child tragedies

    Q: Your comments on the shocking incident of the 6-year-old boy shooting a girl in a 1st-grade classroom?

    BRADLEY: How many lives will have to be taken by gunfire, how many families will have to be marred for life? We need very tough gun legislation, registration and licensing of all handguns, gun dealers out of residential neighborhoods, trigger locks, background checks, but above all, what we need is a leader who’s committed to this every day he’s in office. Otherwise, you’ll never beat the NRA.

    GORE: I feel so deeply for the family of this little girl who was killed. The boy [lived in] a flophouse, [with] guns laying around. We need child-safety trigger locks. We need to ban junk guns. We need to reinstate the 3-day waiting period. We need to also deal with drugs. That was part of this problem. We need more psychologists and guidance counselors in our schools and more teachers with smaller classes so they can keep track of these students and their family situation. And so much more.

    Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles , Mar 1, 2000

    Passed toughest gun control in 30 years; same for next 30

    BRADLEY [to Gore]: I’ve offered the strongest gun control proposal of any presidential candidate in history. Gore was a conservative Congressman-he voted with the NRA.

    GORE: The Clinton-Gore administration has passed the toughest gun control measures in the last 30 years. I cast the tie-breaking vote to close the gun show loophole.

    BRADLEY: What you’ve seen is an elaborate “Gore Dance.” It is a dance to avoid facing up to your conservative record on guns. It is a dance that denies the fact that you do not support registration and licensing of all handguns, but you want to give the impression of that, so you say, “I’m for licensing of all mmmm-handguns.” What does that mean? It means, “I’m for licensing of all new handguns,” only new. Not the 65 million that are out there.

    GORE: I support a complete ban on junk guns, assault weapons, and yes, I support photo license I.D.’s for the purchase of all new handguns when somebody goes down to the gun store.

    Source: (X-ref from Bradley) Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

    Zero tolerance for guns at school; raise age to 21

    Q: How would you protect children from firearms?
    A: I will support legislation requiring gun manufacturers to put child-safety trigger locks on all guns. In our schools, I will have zero tolerance for guns. And I will work to raise the age for handgun possession from 18 to 21 and to enact stiff new penalties for adults who sell guns to minors. We should enact a 3-day waiting period for all handgun purchases, and require buyers to obtain a license after passing a background check & safety test.
    Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey , Jan 8, 2000

    Maximize gun control within what’s politically possible

    BRADLEY [to Gore]: I have proposed registration & licensing of all 65 million handguns in America. President Clinton has said he is for that. We’re in the midst of this tremendous rash of gun violence in America.. Registration and licensing is what we do for automobiles. Why can’t we do it for handguns in America and why don’t you support it?

    GORE: I do support licensing of the purchase of all new handguns. The president said, yeah, he supports that idea. But it doesn’t have a prayer of ever becoming law. It’s much more sensible to try to get the maximum gun control that we possibly can. We have to find a way to make our political system work, taking into account the fact that there are so many people who are going to fight tooth and nail against measures [like those Bradley proposes].

    BRADLEY: [You’re saying], essentially, that it’s too difficult to do. The essence of leadership is taking something that is difficult and making it possible [by] engaging the American people.

    Source: (Cross-ref. from Bradley) Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

    Counter gun lobby with ‘family lobby’ to shield kids

    Gore stressed the need for stricter gun control laws. “Families need help getting guns off our streets, out of our schools and away from children and criminals,” he said. “And I say to every family in America: Let us create a family lobby as powerful as the gun lobby. If we did that, then instead of fighting off new protections for gun manufacturers that would shield them from lawsuits, we can start passing legislation to actually shield our children from gun violence,” Gore said.
    Source: CNN.com/AllPolitics “Family agenda” , Jun 18, 1999

    Voted against some gun limitations while in Congress

    Source: CNN.com/AllPolitics “Republicans use Gore’s words” , Jun 17, 1999

    Supports background checks at gun shows, in tie-breaker

    Al Gore made a rare Senate appearance and cast a tie-breaking vote that enabled a gun control amendment to prevail, with a vote of 51-to-50, over a less stringent version. The amendment would require background checks with the sale of firearms at gun shows. “I personally would like to dedicate my tie-breaking vote to all of the families that have suffered from gun violence,” Mr. Gore added. Today’s vote was only the 4th in Mr. Gore’s Vice Presidency in which he broke a tie in the Senate.
    Source: New York Times, p. A-1 , May 21, 1999

    Supports Brady Law and ban on assault weapons

    Al Gore believes we must do more to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of violent criminals, without affecting the rights of sportsmen and hunters. He worked to enact a ban on deadly assault weapons, and the Brady Law, which has stopped thousands of felons, fugitives, and stalkers from buying guns.
    Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/crime.html 5/16/99 , May 16, 1999

    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

    Prevent unauthorized firearm use with "smart gun" technology.

    Gore adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

    Make America the “Safest Big Country” in the World
    After climbing relentlessly for three decades, crime rates started to fall in the 1990s. Nonetheless, the public remains deeply concerned about the prevalence of gun violence, especially among juveniles, and Americans still avoid public spaces like downtown retail areas, parks, and even sports facilities.

    We need to keep policing “smart” and community-friendly, prohibiting unjust and counterproductive tactics such as racial profiling; focus on preventing as well as punishing crime; pay attention to what happens to inmates and their families after sentencing; use mandatory testing and treatment to break the cycle of drugs and crime; and enforce and strengthen laws against unsafe or illegal guns. Moreover, we need a renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and we must reject a false choice between justice and safety.

    Technology can help in many areas: giving police more information on criminal suspects so they do not rely on slipshod, random stop-and-search methods; allowing lower-cost supervision of people on probation or parole; and making it possible to disable and/or trace guns used by unauthorized persons.

    Above all, we need to remember that public safety is the ultimate goal of crime policy. Until Americans feel safe enough to walk their neighborhood streets, enjoy public spaces, and send their children to school without fear of violence, we have not achieved public safety.

    Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC11 on Aug 1, 2000

    • Click here for 9 older quotations from Al Gore on Gun Control.
    • Click here for definitions & background information on Gun Control.
    • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Al Gore.
    • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Al Gore.
    Other past presidents on Gun Control: Al Gore on other issues:
    Former Presidents:
    George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
    Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
    George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
    Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
    Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
    Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
    Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
    Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
    John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
    Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
    Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

    Past Vice Presidents:
    V.P.Dick Cheney
    V.P.Al Gore
    V.P.Dan Quayle
    Sen.Bob Dole
    V.P.Walter Mondale

    Political Parties:
    Democratic Party
    Republican Party
    Libertarian Party
    Green Party
    Reform Party
    Natural Law Party
    Tea Party
    Abortion
    Budget/Economy
    Civil Rights
    Corporations
    Crime
    Drugs
    Education
    Energy/Oil
    Environment
    Families/Children
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Immigration
    Infrastructure/Technology
    Jobs
    Principles/Values
    Social Security
    Tax Reform
    War/Iraq/Mideast
    Welfare/Poverty

    Page last updated: Mar 16, 2014