In 2018, voters elected a wave of candidates who prioritized gun safety like never before. No longer a third rail of politics, gun violence prevention is now a top issue heading into the 2020 presidential election. In this regular series, we delve into the gun safety platforms of Democratic presidential candidates who have released initial policy plans to address this issue. While not an endorsement of any candidate or their platform, each post looks at a candidate’s record, explains their proposals, and shares our analysis.
Amy Klobuchar’s Record on Gun Safety
Amy Klobuchar has long been a champion for commonsense gun safety legislation. Born and raised in a state with a tradition of responsible gun ownership, she understands that Second Amendment rights need to be balanced with measures to keep firearms away from dangerous people.
Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney from 1999 to 2007 where she was on the front lines of solving gun crimes in Minneapolis. While serving as county attorney, Senator Klobuchar worked to couple prosecutions with community outreach to reduce violence. Klobuchar has cited her experiences with domestic violence cases during that time as the reason for her commitment to closing the boyfriend loophole in the Senate, where she serves on the Judiciary Committee and has repeatedly introduced legislation to keep guns away from abusive dating partners. The NRA has given Klobuchar ‘F’ ratings for her efforts to keep our communities safe.
What do many of these mass murderers have in common? A history of violence and hatred towards women. We must close the boyfriend loophole and prevent domestic abusers from buying deadly weapons. And we can do it now. pic.twitter.com/OpLlF3BPZQ
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 21, 2019
Amy Klobuchar’s Plan to Address Gun Violence
Senator Klobuchar has committed to prioritizing gun violence prevention in her first 100 days as president. Klobuchar will work to close the boyfriend loophole, enact universal background checks, and fund gun violence research, among other things. We break down a few more aspects of her plan below.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 27, 2019
Expand Extreme Risk Protection Orders
In the aftermath of Parkland, 17 states plus the District of Columbia passed extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws. These laws offer family members and law enforcement a critical tool for temporarily removing firearms from a person who has been found to be a danger to themselves or others. Studies have found that these laws are effective in preventing mass shootings and reducing gun suicides.
Since ERPO laws are relatively new, it is critical that states put money into educating people about them. That’s why Klobuchar’s gun violence prevention plan includes providing grants to states to help implement extreme risk laws.
“I look at these and I say, ‘Does this affect my Uncle Dick in his deer stand?’ When it comes to background checks, red flag laws, the boyfriend loophole, assault weapons ban—they don’t hurt him in his deer stand.” October 2, 2019
Crack Down on the Spread of Ghost Guns
Thanks to advanced technology, people who want to avoid a background check no longer need to purchase a firearm through an unlicensed sale—they can build their own gun from a kit that can be ordered online or make it with a 3D printer. The proliferation of these so-called “ghost guns” represents a danger to public safety. According to law enforcement reports, almost one out of three crime guns recovered in California is a ghost gun.
Klobuchar plans to stop the spread of these untraceable firearms by treating the kits that are used to make guns the same as the guns themselves and requiring a background check on their purchase. Her platform also calls for prohibiting the publication of online code that could be used to 3D print firearms.
“We’re going to get it passed.” That’s what Donald Trump said to me on February 28, 2018 at the White House about gun safety laws after Parkland. Watch…
Then he met with the NRA and he caved. pic.twitter.com/MCwCZYyGTi
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 5, 2019
Prohibit Arming Teachers
Arming teachers is an unpopular and unnecessary idea. Seven out of ten parents and eight out of ten teachers oppose it. A study published in March 2019 found “no evidence that the presence of resource officers in schools lessened the severity of school shooting incidents.” And a recent analysis by Giffords Law Center documented over 80 instances of guns being mishandled on school grounds.
None of that has stopped Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from pushing to allow federal funds to be used to arm teachers. Klobuchar promises to block any federal spending that could be used to bring more guns into classrooms.
“School safety funding…I refused to move forward with the bill unless we included the provision that the money couldn’t be used to arm teachers. I won that. ” October 2, 2019
Senator Amy Klobuchar has never backed down from a fight against the NRA, and Americans would surely benefit from having a commander in chief with this courage and tenacity in the White House. At our recent 2020 Gun Safety Forum, Senator Klobuchar spoke passionately about our country’s urgent need to better protect victims of domestic violence. “Domestic violence…is not just about the immediate victim, it’s about our entire community,” said Senator Klobuchar.
In Las Vegas, in El Paso and in Dayton we saw the extraordinary courage of ordinary people saving others. Washington needs to show even a fraction of that courage, stand up to the NRA, and move forward with gun reform now. #2020GunSafety @GiffordsCourage @AMarch4OurLives pic.twitter.com/VUHhgysQY9
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 3, 2019
Senator Klobuchar’s gun safety plan takes the well-being and safety of all American communities into account. Much like the other leading Democratic candidates, she refuses to settle for the status quo of 40,000 Americans a year dying from this crisis, and pledges to take immediate action if elected.