Elizabeth Warren always has a plan, but during the first round of Democratic debates in June, she was surprisingly cautious about her strategy to eliminate gun violence. To be fair, there weren't many questions asked on the topic to begin with—even though 100 Americans are killed every single day in gun-related deaths—but Warren's answers were nonetheless weaker than the previous statements of her competitors, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).
"Gun violence is a national health emergency in this country. We need to treat it like that. We can do the things that are sensible," Warren said in the debate held in Miami, Florida, on June 26. "We can do universal background checks, we can ban weapons of war, but we can also double down on the research and find out what really works."
When NBC's Chuck Todd, one of the debate's moderators, asked if the federal government needs to figure out a way to get the guns already out there off the streets, Warren circled back to her original statement and said that we need to treat [gun violence] as a "serious research problem." She then said how guns in the hands of collectors who haven't fired them are different from guns that are sold and turned over quickly.
It's a safe approach for Warren, but it's the same soundbite Americans have been hearing over and over again. Booker, on the other hand, has already proposed a national licensing program for gun owners, which includes an interview and safety training. Harris declared that she would sign an executive order if Congress didn't pass common-sense gun legislation within the first 100 days of her presidency, which includes "universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and the repeal of the NRA’s corporate gun manufacturer and dealer immunity bill," according to her website.
Still, Warren's support of common-sense gun legislation shouldn't be discredited (she also supports the work of Moms Demand Action!)—her plan is just a bit weaker than expected. Her past tweets have, however, proved that she's made gun violence a key issue throughout her career, long before she decided to run for president:
June 2015: "I’m #wearingorange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. We owe it to our kids to stop the violence."
October 2015: "I support @SenBlumenthal’s Background Check Completion Act. It's time to fix our broken gun background check system."
June 2016: "Ashamed & disgusted that the Senate works for the @NRA & not the majority of Americans who support basic solutions to stop gun violence."
October 2017: "Tragedies like Las Vegas have happened too many times. We need to have the conversation about how to stop gun violence. We need it NOW."
March 2018: "These kids are leading the charge against gun violence – and I’m proud to be here fighting alongside them. #NationalWalkOutDay"
February 2019: "A year after the Parkland Shooting, Congress still hasn’t passed strong legislation to address gun violence. But I’m going to keep fighting – along with the MSD survivors and students across the country who are working to #EndGunViolence. Together, we will make change."
June 2019: "On National Gun Violence Awareness Day, it’s time for the Senate to finally show some political courage & vote on common-sense gun safety laws to protect our kids & grandkids. We’re here to work for the people, not the @NRA. #wearorange"
June 2019: "Our kids shouldn’t have to go to school every day fearing for their lives. I’m fighting for common-sense gun reform, including banning assault weapons, preventing domestic abusers from legally obtaining guns, and ending the gun show loophole."
Keeping all of this in mind, Warren's lack of a detailed strategy could be a strategy in itself. At the end of the day, as we inch closer and closer to November 3, 2020, the candidate who appeals to the largest national audience is going to be in the Oval Office. Perhaps we have to wait until Warren can call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home to see a direct plan on how she's going to eliminate gun violence once and for all.
Until the next debates.
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