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Don't vote away your gun rights! G&A looks at the 1984 presidential candidates.

* Of all the things you could say about 1984--and the ghosts of George Orwell's famous novel abound in almost every media broadcast--one thing must be remembered: It is an election year.

Already, presidential candidates are squaring off in the numerous state primaries and caucuses, and in November Americans will go to the polls to put a leader in office for the next four years.

In an effort to let "Washington Report" readers know where each presidential candidate stands on the single issue of gun control, I have attempted to compile the information available to me at press time to document each major candidate's position on gun ownership. Below, in alphabetical order, are the various candidates and their positions.

Alan Cranston, U.S. Senator from California, seeking the Democratic nomination: According to a position paper on handgun control released by the Senator's Washington, office, Cranston favors "closing the loophole in the Gun Control Act of 1968 permitting foreign manufacturers to import disassembled handguns adn reassemble them in this country ..." He also favors a ban on KTW, or so-called armor-piercing ammunition, and said the Supreme Court "reaffirmed that the Second Amendment does not bar state and local governments from regulating or banning the possession of handguns."

Cranston expressed his support for the Foundation on Violence in america, an organization with close political ties to the anti-gun movement and supported by certain police chiefs who are anti-gun.

Cranston said he does not favor a national gun registration system because "it raises the spectre of a national identification system."

John Glenn, U.S. Senator from Ohio, vying for the Democratic nomination: According to Glenn's official position paper on gun control, the Senator favors a ban on so-called "Saturday Night Specials" (he offers no definition), waiting periods for the purchase of a handgun, and a federal law that requires the theft or loss of a handgun to be reported to local law enforcement agencies. In short, Glenn supports legislation such as the Kennedy-Rodino bill, which would bring these restrictions and others.

Additionally, Glenn jumped on the anti-gun bandwagon in 1968, when he founded the Emergency Committee for Gun Control (commonly called the John Glenn Committee), which called for the registration of all guns as well as the licensing of all gun owners.

Ernest Hollings, Senator from South Carolina, seeking the Democratic nomination: As yet, Hollings' office has issued no formal position paper on the gun control issue. He has, however, addressed the topic in correspondence to pro-gun organizations in Washington, in which the following views were expressed:

"Senator Hollings has traditionally opposed federal legislation regulating the use of firearms. He believes state and local government can adequately provide and enforce laws concerning the private ownership of firearms. However, he opposes the sale and distribution of 'Saturday Night Specials,' and voted to ban these particular guns in 1972." Hollings also is a sponsor of federal legislation which would reform the Gun Control Act of 1968 in order to stop that law's civil liberties abuse.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, candidate for the Democratic nomination: Jackson's position on the gun control issue comes from a position paper issued by his Washington office and leaves no doubt where he stands. I quote from the document:

"If selected President of the United States, I would support federal legislation to register, control and ban the use of handguns..."

"I support federal legislation to establish a national waiting period of at least 21 days so that law enforcement agencies can make a background check on prospective handgun buyers."

"I support federal legislation to require all handgun owners to be licensed on the basis of their competency and suitability to possess handguns."

"I support federal legislation to ban the sale and possession of handguns with a barrel length of three inches or less..."

"I support federal legislation to ban the sale and possession of all handguns, with the exception of police, military, target shooters, collectors and other categories where possession would be no threat to public safety."

In essence what Jackson is saying is that he wants to make gun owners go through competency testing and a 21-day wait if they want to buy a handgun, and then he won't give them one.

Walter Mondale, former Vice President, former Senator from Minnesota, currently a front-runner for the Democratic nomination: According to Mondale's campaign office in Washington, he has no position paper or public statement on the gun control issue. However, in a January 20, 1984 article appearing in the New York Times, Mondale was quoted as making the following statements about the issue:

"In terms of regular handguns or regular long guns I would not proceed with regulation, but the snub-nosed gun--yes."

According to the Times article, Mondale, who supported stiff gun control in the 1960s, favored a ban on the sale, manufacturer and possession of these firearms but not on other guns.

However, Mondale's voting record as a senator showed him voting in favor of the GCA '68. And while one should not equate Mondale with Jimmy Carter, the Carter administration supported numerous anti-gun, anti-hunting proposals.

Two other Democrats, Reubin Askew (former governor of Florida) and Gary Hart (U.S. Senator from Colorado), have at this time given no identification of their gun control positions.

Ronald Reagan, President of the United States: Regular "Washington Report" readers should be very familiary with the gun control position of the President--he is against it in any form. President Reagan has signed the first amendments reforming the Gun Control Act in 14 years, thereby easing needles restrictions on law-abiding gun dealers and collectors. His administration's law enforcement efforts have been away from needless regulation and focus on combating violet crime. He has maintained his party's 1980 campaign pledge calling for reform of the federal firearms laws, has expanded the sales of M-1 rifles under the Director of Civilian Marksmanship program and believes in mandatory penalties for the criminal misuse of a gun.

On the basis of the gun issue and the gun issue only, the choice for voters in November seems clear, clear indeed.
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Article Details
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Author:Andrews, Reid
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:column
Date:May 1, 1984
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