OPINION: Presidential candidates differ on gun rights

2020 presidential election has potential to alter US gun rights

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LAUREN PETTIT

The upcoming election may determine the future of the Second Amendment.

MACKENNA ROWE, Evergreen columnist

America is now less than a week away from Election Day.

The current presidential candidates had a final chance in their debate to discuss issues like coronavirus and racism. Because time is limited to discuss debate topics, it is important to fact check and research what they cannot discuss.

The Second Amendment and gun control are topics President Trump and former Vice President Biden have differing opinions on. Especially in recent years with school shootings and protests, America once again became divided on how to handle the situation.

Robert Silber is a vice president at Washington CeaseFire. CeaseFire does not give out opinions directly on political issues, but it tries to reduce gun violence and enact laws and regulations that will help reduce gun violence.

Silber said background checks are important to help keep firearms away from people like convicted criminals, those with mental illnesses and those who have committed domestic violence.

“We have a Second Amendment here that allows people to possess firearms, but it’s not a full mandate, meaning that not every person should be able to despite any problems that may be,” Silber said. “It’s important that those types of people do not possess firearms.”

Melissa Denny, founder and president of the Washington State Firearms Coalition, is a firearms dealer. The coalition is nonpartisan, and her personal opinions do not necessarily mean that is the position of the coalition.

Denny has worked in and researched gun control, which can be found online. She said background checks are a good thing.

“Personally, as a firearms dealer, I want to know that every firearm that leaves my location is going into the hands of a law-abiding citizen. I like that process,” Denny said. “I’m telling you as a person, as a grandma, as a mom, that’s my personal feeling on that from my standpoint with a firearms license and a store.”

There is another debate over what is deemed the Charleston loophole. Background checks are required when purchasing a firearm, and there are currently 72 hours for dealers to receive the background check back. If they do not receive it within 72 hours, they are allowed to continue with the sale of the firearm.

Silber said the presidential candidate’s stances on the law working with the loophole are assumptions and what he has seen from individual research, not directly from the stated goals of the presidential campaigns.

“Back in 2019, President Trump said that he was going to veto the enhanced background checks of 2019,” Silber said. “Vice President Biden has a very extensive policy when it comes to common-sense gun laws. This is an assumption that he would favor enhanced background checks.”

Right now, Biden’s stance on his website is he wants to extend the three-day waiting period to 10 days to close this loophole and contribute to gun regulation.

Denny said there is no loophole, and it is a coined phrase that violates the Second Amendment right to protection.

“The number of people who can’t get a gun who goes to a gun store is very slim. They have to give you their driver’s license and all of their personal information. There is no hiding after you’ve made that application,” Denny said. “Once I have proven my background is good and that I’m a law-abiding citizen, where is the value in keeping me from a firearm? As a human being, I have a right to protect my gift of life.”