Election2016With over 33,000 Americans killed each year by guns, the presidential candidates’ positions on gun violence and gun laws are playing an important role. Here’s a quick look where each stands:

The Republicans

  • Rated A+ by the NRA, Ted Cruz voted against background checks and banning high-capacity magazines, and wants to loosen gun restrictions by making the interstate sale of firearms easier.
  • Donald Trump has “evolved” on the gun issue, as he has on abortion. In the past, he voiced support for banning assault weapons and extending waiting periods to purchase guns–but as a candidate, he now opposes both measures, as well as bans on high-capacity magazines. He also supports concealed carry reciprocity across all 50 states.
  • John Kasich has had a spotty record with the NRA. He’s broken with the Republican party line by supporting closing the “terror gap” loophole, which allows those on the terrorist “no-fly” list to still purchase guns. He also supported an assault weapons ban as a Congressman in 1994. However, last year he signed an NRA-backed bill that expanded gun rights in Ohio, and has an A- rating with the NRA.

The Democrats

  • Hillary Clinton has touted her support for strong gun laws and her F rating with the NRA, and has produced an extensive position paper on guns and gun violence. She’s for expanding background checks, closing gun show loopholes, re-enacting an assault weapons ban, revoking the license of bad-actor gun dealers, and repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which grants unique liability protections for gun businesses–a law she voted against as a Senator.
  • With a D- rating from the NRA, Bernie Sanders voted for universal background checks and for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. However, he voted against the Brady Bill and its federal background check system, and voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to grant liability protections for gun businesses–a vote he continues to defend.

What the impact of the PLCAA?

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)–which prohibits “civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others”–was enacted in 2005 and has been repeatedly cited by judges in dismissing lawsuits against the gun lobby.

Here’s one example of how the law has been applied: Jessica Gahwi was shot multiple times with high-velocity, military-style, armor-piercing bullets, murdered with 11 others in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. Her parents sued Lucky Gunner–the online company that sold 4,000 of those bullets to the gunman without checking ID or getting any information about him to see if he was, in fact, a disturbed person or dangerous killer. Their lawsuit against Lucky Gunner was not only dismissed–the judge also ordered the plaintiffs to pay $203,000 to Lucky Gunner for its legal fees.

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For more details on the candidates’ positions, see…