Bush vs. Gore on Gun Issues

ByABC News
August 10, 2000, 11:06 AM

— -- Crime rates have dropped all over America, but the national debate over gun control rages on unabated.

A long series of school shootings, most notably the deadly 1999 spree by two teenagers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., has forced the issue back into the national consciousness.

And while neither Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore nor his Republican rival, George W. Bush, has emphasized the matter in recent campaign speeches, sharp policy differences exist between the two candidates, reflecting a long-standing philosophical dispute about guns: Gore and the Democrats emphasize prevention as the key to reducing gun crimes, while Bush and many Republicans say better law enforcement and tougher punishments will do the job.

Registration at Issue

Gore believes new handgun purchasers should register their guns and be licensed by photo ID, and has stood behind a series of Clinton administration proposals intended to make it harder to buy firearms, including one mandating more thorough background checks on buyers at gun shows.

A shocking level of gun violence on our streets and in our schools has shown America the need to keep guns away from those who shouldnt have them in ways that respect the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and legitimate gun owners, a draft of the Democratic Party platform reads.

By contrast, Bush opposes government-mandated registration of all guns owned by citizens without criminal records. And while the GOP nominee has supported some safety measures, the Texas governor signed into law a historic bill allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns. Two years later, the law was amended to allow guns in churches, hospitals, and amusement parks.

In early October, that bill drew criticism when a published report stated that more than 400 of the 215,000 Texans licensed to carry concealed weapons had prior criminal convictions, a figure Bush aides have disputed.

The Republican Party platform also strongly favors state and local enforcement of gun laws. We can go forward, step by difficult step, to recreate respect for law and law that is worthy of respect, it reads.