Elizabeth Warren on Gun Control

Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger


Treat gun violence as the public health emergency it is

We have to think of it the way we thought about auto violence decades ago. The point is, we tried; we studied; we collected data; and then we tried some more. Things that didn't work, we abandoned, and things that did, we doubled down on. That's what I want to see us do on guns. I want to see us do the things that are obvious, the background checks, get assault weapons off our streets. But I want us to treat this as the public health emergency that it is.
Source: CNN Town Hall on eve of 2020 South Carolina primary , Feb 26, 2020

Approach gun violence as a public health emergency

We have a gun violence problem. It is about the shootings we hear about in schools, theaters and churches. It's about shootings that occur in playgrounds. It's about the increasing lethality of suicide because of the availability of guns. It is about the increased chances that it's a woman who will die of domestic violence if she is with a violent man and a gun is in the home. We need to think of this problem like we did on auto safety. We treat it like the public health emergency that it is.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Lethality of guns makes more suicides & domestic violence

Q: What will you do to stop gun violence in our schools?

WARREN: I think you have to ask a broader question here than simply our schools: we have a gun violence problem in America. And it has to do with mass shootings. We also have a gun violence problem with suicide--the lethality of suicide attempts in America--because of the ready availability of guns. And we have a problem with women dying from domestic violence and the increased odds that a woman will die because she is in a house with someone who is an abuser and there is also a gun available. There are studies right now that suggest a waiting period to be able to buy a gun reduces deaths by suicide by somewhere around 11%. We just need to keep working on it, studying, doing more. In an America where more than 90% of Americans want to see us do background checks and get weapons of war off the street--90%, that's Democrats and Republicans and independents--we do nothing. And the United States Senate can't even get a vote.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Multiple solutions to gun deaths, like with highway deaths

In my view, we have to treat gun violence, like we treated the problem of death by auto. Years ago, we started looking at the statistics on people dying on the highways, auto violence. And we said, "It's just too high." The headlines were things like, "Carnage on our roads." And so we took a public health approach to it that said "We're going to reduce the number of deaths." It's not a one answer. It's a multiple answer.

So what did we do? We did some more obvious. You put in safety glass so people don't get cut if they bump against a window. Seatbelts. Some things hadn't even been put into cars at the time, like airbags and automatic braking systems. But over time we reduced deaths by auto by more than 80%.

And that's what I want to do. I want to see us reduce gun violence overall. Some steps are going to be obvious, like we need national background checks of our guns. We need to get weapons of war off our streets. Some are less obvious, and the kind that you want to study.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Repeal filibuster or gun industry will veto any gun laws

Q: You support a voluntary gun buyback of assault style weapons. Why not a mandatory one?

WARREN: I want to get what work's done. I want to use the method we used, for example, with machine guns. We registered them. We put in a huge penalty if you didn't register them and a huge tax on them and let people turn them in, and it got machine guns out of the hands of people.

We have to reduce gun violence overall, and the question we have to ask is why hasn't it happened? You say, we're so close. We have been so close. I stood in the United States Senate in 2013 when 54 senators voted in favor of gun legislation and it didn't pass because of the filibuster. We've got to attack the corruption and repeal the filibusters or the gun industry will always have a veto over what happens.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

People support gun control but Congress is corrupt

The question we need to ask is, when we've got this much support across the country, 90 percent of Americans want to see us do--like registration--want to see us do background checks, want to get assault weapons off the streets, why doesn't it happen? And the answer is corruption, pure and simple. We have a Congress that is beholden to the gun industry.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Seven kids will die today from guns: treat it as emergency

Seven children will die today from gun violence, children and teenagers. Gun violence is a national health emergency in this country. And we need to treat it like that. We can do the universal background checks. We can ban the weapons of war. But we can also double down on the research and find out what really works. We need to treat this like the virus that's killing our children.

Guns in the hands of a collector who's had them for decades, who's never fired them, who takes safety seriously, that's very different from guns that are sold and turned over quickly. We can't treat this as an across-the-board problem. We have to treat it like a public health emergency. That means bring data to bear and it means make real change in this country, whether it's politically popular or not.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Sensible gun laws have to be at federal level, not state

With gun violence, right now we don't do anything, not even the most sensible kinds of things, [like] background checks. If you're on the terrorist watch list, maybe you shouldn't be able to buy a gun. Weapons of war do not belong on our streets. No bump stocks to make it easier to kill. We have to do them at a federal level, because the problem is if they don't change their laws in the other states, somebody can just go there, put it in the back of a pickup, and come on down.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 18, 2019

Huge difference between sportsmen's guns and assault weapons

There is a huge difference between the guns of a sportsman or homeowner and high- powered assault weapons with 100- cartridge magazines. I grew up around guns and gun owners, and I will work to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens. But the law must reflect the reality that, in the wrong hands, guns can be used for violent crimes, making neighbourhoods less safe.
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p.147 , Nov 18, 2014

Handguns kill 8 kids a day; why don't we mobilize?

We lose 8 children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing 8 of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not so with gun violence.

The politics surrounding this issue make me want to tear my hair out. I know that Americans care fiercely about keeping our kids safe. So why do we toss common sense out the window when it comes to protecting our kids from gun violence?

Of course, not every kid has the same risk of becoming a victim. A large number of those gun deaths are in poor neighborhoods. Gang violence and street crime pose a far smaller threat in well-off suburbs than in gritty inner cities.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.237-8 , Apr 22, 2014

Extend the federal assault weapons ban

Warren's positions are largely in line with those of gun-control advocates, while Brown had long been endorsed by gun rights groups until he recently broke rank on a high-profile issue.

The candidates are most sharply divided about whether to renew the federal assault weapons ban, with Warren supporting an extension of the ban that expired in 2004 & Brown saying it is an issue best left to the states. Warren's campaign said she also supports proposals to require more rigorous background screenings, including for people who purchase firearms at gun shows; and opposes limits on the sharing of firearms trace information.

"There is a huge difference between the guns of a sportsman or homeowner and high-powered assault weapons with 100-cartridge magazines," she said. "I grew up around guns & gun owners, and I will work to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens. But the law must reflect the reality that, in the wrong hands, guns can be used for violent crimes, making neighborhoods less safe."

Source: Boston Globe on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Jul 27, 2012

Supports gun control

Warren staked out traditional liberal Democratic positions on several big issues: She supports abortion rights, gun control, and gay marriage, but she opposes casinos. But she declined to offer specifics on where she differs with Brown or Obama.
Source: Boston Globe, Noah Bierman and Frank Phillips , Aug 31, 2011

Voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.

Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013

Supports restricting the Second Amendment.

Warren supports the CC Voters Guide question on the Second Amendment

Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Further restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms"

Source: Christian Coalition Voter Guide 12-CC-q10 on Oct 31, 2012

Ban large-capacity ammunition.

Warren co-sponsored Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

Source: H.R.138&S.33 13-S0033 on Jan 22, 2013

Co-sponsored background check for every firearm sale.

Warren co-sponsored the Bipartisan Background Checks Act

H.R.8: To require a background check for every firearm sale. This Act may be cited as the "Background Check Expansion Act".