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: St. Louis debate
Oct 17, 2000
First, enforce the law; then keep guns from wrong people
It starts with enforcing the law. We need to say loud and clear to somebody, if you’re going to carry a gun illegally, we’re going to arrest you, if you’re going to sell a gun illegally you need to be arrested, and if you commit a crime with a gun
there needs to be absolutely certainty in the law. The local law enforcement officials need help at the federal level. Need programs like Project Exile, where the federal government intensifies arresting people who illegally use guns. And we haven’t
done a very good job of that at the federal level recently. And I’m going to make it a priority.
Secondly, I don’t think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn’t have them. That’s why I support instant background checks at gun shows. There’s
a lot of talk about trigger locks being on guns sold in the future, I support that, and so we’re distributing them in our state of Texas for free. I think we ought to raise the age at which a juvenile can carry a handgun from 18 to 21.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University
Oct 11, 2000
Restrict lawsuits against gun makers
If the NRA could pick a candidate, it would undoubtedly be George W. Bush. He has been a strong ally of the organization in Texas. Recent attempts to distance himself are assumed to be merely tactical. Bush follows the standard gun-owner’s line: he
wants tougher penalties against gun-toting criminals, but no more regulations for worthy citizens with a pistol by the bed. He places the blame for America’s frequent gun massacres on negligent parents, a “wave of evil” and the culture of violence. As
president, he would:
would bring in no new gun controls, except possibly tougher penalties for criminals using guns
favors instant background checks
(rather than three-day waiting periods) in shops and at gun shows
would restrict lawsuits against gun makers, which he has deterred in Texas
Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special
Sep 30, 2000
Government should pay for voluntary trigger locks
Bush said Texas will spend about $1 million a year for five years to purchase trigger locks, which would be distributed to citizens who asked for them at police stations and fire departments. “It seems like to me one of the things we ought to do is be
common-sensical about how we deal with gun safety,” Bush said. “And if I become the president, I’m going to ask Congress to appropriate money for a national program to do just the same thing, which is distribute trigger locks for people to use.” Bush
proposed that the federal government make $325 million in matching funds available over five years for state and local governments that adopt programs similar to the Texas program. Until recently Bush had opposed mandatory trigger locks and ridiculed
rival Sen. John McCain during the South Carolina primary for switching positions on the issue and voting for an amendment to the Senate’s juvenile justice bill that made trigger locks mandatory.
Source: NY Times, page A10, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose”
May 13, 2000
Bush says Gore is more a member of NRA than Bush is
In a speech to the Association of Health Care Journalists, Gore said, “Bush has convinced the NRA that he wants to take the gun lobbyists out of the lobby & put them right into the Oval Office.” Gore’s point was that gun violence was straining the health
care system, to the tune of $2.3 billion annually, and that Bush was so deeply in the pocket of the gun lobby that he could not recognize this problem.
Bush dismissed those accusations. “I make my positions on what I think is right. I’ll make the
decisions as to what goes on in the White House,“ he said. Repeating an accusation he has made before, Bush said: ”I’ve never been a member of the NRA. Gore has been, if I’m not mistaken.“
This accusation momentarily befuddled both campaigns, neither
of which could find evidence that Gore had belonged to the gun lobby. A Bush spokesman said Bush might have been referring to an NRA official saying that Gore had once been so opposed to gun control that he could have been the poster boy for it.
Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, p. A20
May 5, 2000
Agrees with Gore on trigger locks;but wants more enforcement
Where They Agree: Regarding guns, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore would, if elected president:
Support the current ban on assault weapons.
Prohibit juveniles from possessing assault weapons.
of high-capacity ammunition clips.
Raise the minimum age for possessing a handgun from 18 to 21.
Require that trigger locks be sold with handguns.
Where They Differ
Bush also would:
Provide more money
for enforcement of gun laws.
Support automatic detention for young people who commit crimes with guns.
Oppose government-mandated registration of guns owned by people who don’t break laws.
Gore also would:
licensing for handgun purchases.
Limit gun purchases to one per month and require a three-day waiting period.
Require manufacturers and federally licensed sellers to report sales to a state authority.
Source: Associated Press in Los Angeles Times
Apr 21, 2000
Project Sentry: juvenile gun laws & school accountability
Bush will establish “Project Sentry” to enforce federal juvenile gun laws; and impose a lifetime ban on gun possession for juvenile offenders. Bush will also hold states and districts accountable for improving school safety;
require states and districts to provide students in persistently dangerous schools a transfer to a safe alternative; call for a uniform reporting system to allow parents to know which schools are safe.
Source: Press Release, Temple TX
Apr 20, 2000
Would sign, but would not push, gun restrictions
Bush has said he would sign a law requiring trigger locks with handgun sales but wouldn’t push such legislation. Bush has endorsed outlawing the import of certain high-capacity ammunition clips. Bush also would
raise the legal age for handgun purchases from 18 to 21.
Best gun control is more prosecution & certain jail
Q: You are in favor of some gun controls? A: I’m in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them like felons & juveniles. I’m for enforcing the laws on the books. In Texas, we’ve armed D.A.’s with extra
money to prosecute people who break the law. We need to send a signal to people, don’t be illegally selling guns and don’t be illegally using guns. The best accountability for somebody who breaks the law with a gun is called jail, certain jail.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate
Dec 13, 1999
Supports gun ownership for protection and hunting
I believe law-abiding citizens should be allowed to own guns to hunt and to protect themselves. and that our government should aggressively pursue. people who illegally sell guns, illegally carry guns, or commit crimes with guns. I also believe that
government should pass laws such as instant background checks to help keep guns out of the hands of felons and juveniles and others who should not have them.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 35-36.
Dec 9, 1999
$1.6M TX campaign, “Gun Crime Means Hard Time.”
Announced he was allocating $1.6 million in state funds to a new initiative to crack down on gun crime. Bush said $1.28 million will be used to pay for the appointment of eight special prosecutors who will vigorously prosecute criminals who use guns
within the framework of existing laws. Another $360,000 will be used to fund a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing gun violence under the slogan “Gun Crime Means Hard Time.”
Source: Hilary Hylton, Reuters
Sep 21, 1999
Raise legal age for guns to 21; ban certain ammo
Bush said he supported efforts in the Republican-led Congress to raise the legal age for purchase of a handgun to 21 from 18 and to ban large ammunition clips.
Source: Reuters, “Bush favors raising.”
Aug 27, 1999
No child-safety locks on guns; concealed carrying ok
Bush opposes mandatory child-safety locks on guns & supports the right of Texans to carry a concealed weapon. The Governor recently signed into law a bill that requires a locality to get approval from the state legislature before suing gun manufacturers.
Bush supporters argue that the act does not interfere with legitimate gun lawsuits but rather curbs trivial legal action.
Source: Time Magazine, p. 38
Jun 28, 1999
No city lawsuits against gun manufacturers
Gov. Bush signed a bill that would prevent cities, counties & local governments from suing firearm and ammunition manufacturers for the public costs associated with gun violence. The legislation is commonly referred to as a “lawsuit preemption bill.”
According to a spokesperson, Bush supports the bill because he believes that “in order to curb frivolous lawsuits, the attorney general should be the clearinghouse to review issues involving a legal product which is being misused for criminal purposes.”
Source: CNN.com/AllPolitics “Bush quietly signs”
Jun 18, 1999
Gun restrictions OK within basic right to own guns
Bush opposed repeal of the 1994 assault weapon ban and indicated his openness to Clinton’s call to raise the age of legal handgun ownership from 18 to 21. But Bush opposed Clinton’s call for reinstituting 3-day waiting periods for gun purchases, saying
he preferred instant background checks. And while he said he could support national legislation to extend such instant checks to purchases at unregulated gun shows, he’s made no effort to support a state bill that would have done just that in Texas.
Source: L.A. Times
May 1, 1999
Gun show checks OK; ban guns near schools & kids
An aide to Bush said the governor has “consistently supported since 1994 the idea of instant background checks at gun shows to make sure the people we don’t want to sell guns to are not buying guns.” The aide noted that Bush previously signed legislation
prohibiting anyone from carrying a weapon within 300 yards of a school, and holding adults criminally liable if they allow a juvenile access to a loaded gun.
Source: CNN AllPolitics
Apr 30, 1999
Assault weapon OK; waiting period not OK
Bush expressed support for some gun control measures, including the ban on assault weapons and laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of juveniles. But he said he did not believe the waiting period for the purchase of handguns that is part of the
Brady Act does much good, saying he prefers instant background checks.
Source: Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Apr 25, 1999
Click here for 2 older quotations from George W. Bush on Gun Control.
Click here for definitions & background information on Gun Control.