Debate Watch: Who is the Most Anti-Gun Democratic Candidate?

So, I watched most of the Democratic presidential debate last night. Why? I guess I like good political theater — and this latest debate hosted by CNN, just like the previous GOP debates, didn’t disappoint in that respect. It really was fun to watch.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help but to view all the candidates as if they were characters in a play. Before I talk about their position on guns, here was my impression of the tone and temperament of each contender.

The Contenders

Bernie Sanders, the old codger, was as loud and as angry as an old man trying to return soup at a deli.

“The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing,” shouted Sanders in his opening introduction. “Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all of the new income and wealth being created is going to the top one percent.”

Martin O’Malley, the snake-oil salesman, played to the crowd’s emotions at every turn; smiling and laughing one minute while on the verge of tears the next.

“I did not make our city immune to setbacks,” explained a mawkish O’Malley when Anderson Cooper asked him specifically about his failed policies to curb violence. “But I attended a lot of funerals, including one for a family of seven who were firebombed in their sleep for picking up the phone in a poor African-American neighborhood and calling the police because of drug dealers on their corner.”

Jim Webb, the buttoned up and stiff former Marine, appeared imperious and proud, like a predatory bird. Maybe a a hawk.

“I will say this, coming from the position that I’ve come from, from a military family, with my brother a marine, my son was a marine in Iraq, I served as a marine, spending five years in the Pentagon, I am comfortable that I am the most qualified person standing up here today to be your commander-in-chief,” said Webb, in a declaratory manner.

Lincoln Chafee, the guy that was just happy to be there. Chafee was all smiles, especially when touting his impeccable record which he compared to “granite.”

“Time and time again, I have never changed,” said Chafee. “You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. So I have not changed.”

But apparently it’s “soft granite” that Chafee is made of because as Cooper pointed out later, Chafee flip-flopped on Glass-Steagal, a bill regulating banks.

COOPER: Governor Chafee, you have attacked Secretary Clinton for being too close to Wall Street banks. In 1999 you voted for the very bill that made banks bigger.

CHAFEE: The Glass-Steagall was my very first vote, I’d just arrived, my dad had died in office, I was appointed to the office, it was my very first vote.

COOPER: Are you saying you didn’t know what you were voting for?

CHAFEE: I’d just arrived at the Senate. I think we’d get some takeovers, and that was one. It was my very first vote, and it was 92-5. It was the…

Hillary Clinton, her majesty, the frontrunner, the lioness of the Democratic Party. Clinton was smug and strident and even awkward at times, proving once again that she lacks the presidential charm and charisma that her husband had in spades (I’d argue it’s why she lost the primary to Obama in 2008). When debating, she’s all prose and no poetry. She must of mentioned her “plan” for this or that at least a dozen times.

“I have a five point economic plan, because this inequality challenge we face, we have faced it at other points,” said Clinton. “It’s absolutely right.”

“I’ve traveled across our country over the last months listening and learning, and I’ve put forward specific plans about how we’re going to create more good-paying jobs…” said Clinton.

“During the course of the evening tonight, I’ll have a chance to lay out all of my plans and the work that I’ve done behind them,” she said, and on and on and on about the plan.

Ranking Candidates on Guns

This ranking is based off of the debate and their answers to specific gun-related questions. I think their answers, and in some cases, non-answers, were very telling and indicative of the enthusiasm with which they’ll try to enact gun control if elected to office.

5. Jim Webb — If you’re a Democrat and you’re pro-gun, Webb is the guy for you. Unlike most Democrats, he is moderately pro-gun. When asked about gun control, he acknowledge that “we do need background checks” but was very adamant that the right of the people to protect themselves should not be overlooked.

“There are people at high levels in this government who have bodyguards 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explained Webb. “The average American does not have that, and deserves the right to be able to protect their family.”

4. Bernie Sanders — Coming from the rural state of Vermont, Bernie seems to understand that gun ownership is important to millions of Americans. Yet, because the party’s leadership is so fervently anti-gun, Sanders finds himself on the defensive in these debates because he is not a rabid gun-grabber. Yes, he foolishly supports a ban on certain semiautomatic rifles, but I don’t get the sense that he would make it a priority to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens.

“I believe that there is a consensus in this country,” explained Sanders. “A consensus has said we need to strengthen and expand instant background checks, do away with this gun show loophole, that we have to address the issue of mental health, that we have to deal with the strawman purchasing issue, and that when we develop that consensus, we can finally, finally do something to address this issue.”

3. Lincoln Chafee — To the extent that Chafee has an opinion on anything is almost irrelevant because he has zero chance of becoming the nominee. That said, he has an “F” rating from the NRA. And at the debate, instead of talking about taking on the NRA, he spoke about bringing them to the table to “find common ground.” I suppose that makes him anti-gun, but with an open mind?

“I would bring the gun lobby in and say we’ve got to change this. Where can we find common ground? Wayne Lapierre from the NRA, whoever it is, the leaders,” said Chafee. “Come one, we’ve go to change this. We’re not coming to take away your guns, we believe in the Second Amendment, but let’s find common ground here.”

2. Hillary Clinton — She is anti-gun. But believe it or not, she’s not the most anti-gun candidate in the race (that distinct honor goes to O’Malley, as I’m sure you’ve figured out). During the debate, she called out Sanders for being too soft on guns.

“Senator Sanders did vote five times against the Brady bill. Since it was passed, more than 2 million prohibited purchases have been prevented,” said Clinton.

“He also did vote, as he said, for this immunity provision. I voted against it. I was in the Senate at the same time. It wasn’t that complicated to me,” she continued. “It was pretty straightforward to me that he was going to give immunity to the only industry in America. Everybody else has to be accountable, but not the gun manufacturers. And we need to stand up and say: Enough of that. We’re not going to let it continue.”

1. Martin O’Malley — Well, let’s put it this way, he believes that the Second Amendment is there to preserve the rights of hunters. And in his own state of Maryland, as governor, he was the architect of a draconian bill that gutted the Second Amendment rights of residents. Simply put, O’Malley is our worst nightmare.

“Anderson, when the NRA wrote to everyone in our state — when the NRA wrote to members in our state and told people with hunting traditions lies about what our comprehensive gun safety legislation is, I wrote right back to them and laid out what it actually did,” exclaimed O’Malley. “And that’s why, not only did we pass it, but the NRA didn’t…dare to petition a referendum.”


So, there you have it. O’Malley and Clinton are rabid anti-gunners. Chafee is anti-gun but a non-factor. Sanders is confused, but leans anti-gun. And Webb is moderately pro-gun.

I don’t plan on voting for a Democrat in 2016. As I’ve said, I’m not sure who I’m voting for in 2016. But I’m going to give Jim Webb a look. Not likely he’ll get the nomination, but I have to say I was intrigued by what he had to say on the issues.

Your thoughts?

(Quotes were pulled from a transcript published by The Washington Post.)

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jason October 20, 2015, 11:32 am

    Monsanto is immune to any damage to the environment or anyone because of pollution or their GMOs spreading to non gmo crops, but Hillary must have forgotten that since she gets a lot of money from them.

  • Winston October 19, 2015, 8:33 pm

    The Dems and Repubs are all Big Gov’t Orwellian welfare/ warfare party trolls. No other choices exist, because The System is corporate money controlled.

  • Mikial October 19, 2015, 5:28 pm

    Who is the most anti-gun Democrat? Answer: All of them.

    Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley . . . it makes no difference. Control of the American people is a key component of the Democrat/Liberal agenda, and disarming the people is a critical component of that agenda. Period.

    There is no lesser evil, there is no moderately acceptable candidate, there is no compromise. These people will do everything in their power to deprive you of your rights. Every right. Every Constitutional Amendment.

    Fight them to your last breath.

  • Jay Callaham October 19, 2015, 3:17 pm

    I will point out that Lincoln Chaffee – – back when he still made noises about being a Republican – drafted and proposed legislation in the Senate to REPEAL the 2nd Amendment. Look it up! That’s what he thinks of it. I agree that he doesn’t have a dog’s chance in hell of being elected – – but he could get appointed to some hurtful post. He bears watching.

  • Tony Tremper October 19, 2015, 1:51 pm

    You are right about O’Malley being the worst on gun rights. Being a Maryland resident, I can tell you he has gutted our 2nd Amendment rights. There is a long list of semi-automatic rifles that we aren’t allowed to buy, we have a 10-round magazine limit, and our concealed carry right is almost non-existent. We are a may issue state which means even if you do everything right and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to conceal carry, they can deny your request. If you are a business owner and can show good reason (handle money) you may get a CCP but it is only valid on your way to and from the business and while operating the business. It is not valid other times. In order to buy a handgun in Maryland, one must get a license which involves taking a course, being finger-printed and paying a fee. It costs about $150.00 to go through the process in order to be allowed to purchase a handgun in Md. You are limited to 2 handgun purchases per month. Someone moving to Maryland with firearms has so many days to register them with the State Police or be in violation. If you want to sell a gun to a friend or give one to your son or daughter you must go to an FFL dealer to do the transfer. If you buy a gun out-of-state, you must register it when you bring it into Maryland. In the debate, O’Malley bragged about how he was able to get gun control passed even though much of Maryland is rural (Western Md. and the Eastern Shore of Md.) Believe me, those two areas wanted nothing to do with O’Malley or his liberal views. We were outvoted at every turn by the heavily populated Baltimore City and surrounding counties that lean as far left as one can lean. Martin O’Malley as President would be our worst nightmare.

    • Mike Tierney October 19, 2015, 3:17 pm

      Why are these rules so bad? Why would anyone need/want to buy more than two handguns/month?

  • Larry October 19, 2015, 12:43 pm

    The best & only way to be sure that you are not helping to elect a gun grabber is to take the oath to NEVER EVER again vote for anyone with a “D” behind their name!

  • Joe McHugh October 19, 2015, 12:41 pm

    The Hildabeast claimed that since the Brady Bill was passed, more than 2 million prohibited gun purchases have been prevented. Um……..Federal form number 4473 clearly states that “certain violations of the gun control act 18 U.S.C. Sec. 921 et. seq are punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $250.000.00 fine”.

    Out of the 2 million improper gun applications using form #4473, how many were “imprisoned and/or fined”? I’m thinking that the answer to this question is zero. Think about it, a person convicted of a violent felony fills out the form #4473 and the gun dealer calls the NICS Center for verification of the information. The NICS agent says that the applicant is a former convict that cannot buy a firearm. The ex-con just broke the law by presenting false information on the #4473 form. The police should be called to arrest the guy.

    This is the thing. The government really doesn’t about “fighting crime”. The government is only interested in the recorded information on the Federal form #4473. It identifies the citizen who purchased the firearm and all of the information about that firearm, especially the serial number.

    Question: Why is the government interested in the gun that a competent, law-abiding adult citizen buys? Can you spell the word “confiscation”? When the jack-booted thugs of the B.A.T.F. knock on your door, see how much the Second Amendment protects you. Pssst! If the government stooges don’t know about your guns, they can’t demand that you turn them over.
    Yeah, that civil disobedience …….or it’s enforcing your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, you choose the description.

  • Joseph De Francesco October 19, 2015, 10:23 am

    I am a former resident of N.Y. Now a resident of Vermont, and wish I had been born here. Every one runs their mouth about what they don’t know. N.Y. was a heavily restricted State when I moved out in the 80’s, its worse now. VT. is a pro gun State thanks to Sen. Sanders. As residents we can carry and way we want, very, very few do.
    As for this B.S. about gun show loop holes! That is the new catch fraise, like “Arsenal” being used by the anti gun groups, to cause a frenzy amongst the less informed. Their is only one loop hole,and it isn’t at gun shows, it is in the classifieds. Where the general public can buy, sell, and trade guns with out any over sight.
    I know this because I am also a current gun dealer in VT. Every dealer who is licensed to sell fire arms, must by B.A.T.F. maintain a log book of of ALL GUN TRANSFERS, in, or out as do their suppliers, it is the LAW!
    So unless a dealer wants fines, and prison, he will do it, because his suppliers have the same records, and it is a paper trail that can’t be hidden.
    As far as these terrible gun killings, all any one with half a brain would realize is, at any given time a person can snap, go over the edge, and loose sight of reality. This can occur in many ways, genetics, emotional, or as we have seen since 2008 the economy is also a big factor. So what would be gained by going after the gun manufacturer, and every one down the line. “Unless, you plan on using that as another form of gun control”. Like the shortages of ammunition we are experiencing now
    As for which party to vote for, remember though a Democrat has been in office for 8 years, the Rep. Got us into Iraq with lies for profit, and tied up the political system for the last 8 years.

  • Bill October 19, 2015, 8:08 am

    Talk of 3rd parties is foolishness. All that would do would be to guarantee victory for the democrats. Remember Perot? Bush Sr. would have topped Slick easily without Ross in the way. You want a repeat of that?

    • Ernie October 19, 2015, 10:04 am

      You are absolutely right!

    • gymmie October 19, 2015, 3:46 pm

      3rd parties are a double-edged sword. Where would Algore have spent the early years of the new millennium absent a Ralph Nader?
      I shudders ta think about it.

  • DRAINO October 18, 2015, 7:20 am

    I didn’t watch the debate. It is extremely unlikely that I would ever vote for a democrap. Billary makes me nauseous even to see the words she speaks in written form…..just like Hussein O. I don’t get how they come up with the bogus numbers that they do regarding prohibited purchases being prevented. But knowing all they do is repeat lies enough to brainwash people into believing them, I expect nothing but falsehoods. Not that the Republican party isn’t guilty of shady tactics as well. Hence the popularity of the non-politicians on the Rep side. Webb is interesting, I agree. But if he is serious, he needs to get away from the democrap party. I think the third party needs to begin its rise. A Constitutional Party. Enough people are disgruntled with both of the other parties, I think there would be many who will sign on for it. Who’s got the guts to kick it off??!!

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