John Edwards on Gun Control
Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator
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.
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.
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