Democratic Senator and presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand announced Wednesday that she would prosecute gun owners who refuse to turn their arms over to the federal government.
While the majority of 2020 Democrats support measures to restrict so-called “assault weapons” or other firearms technology, few join Gillibrand’s willingness to bring criminal charges against Americans who don’t surrender their legally acquired guns.
CNN anchor Poppy Harlow asked Senator Gillibrand if she supports mandatory buybacks of assault rifles with criminal prosecution for those who do not participate.
“I think both of those ideas are strong,” the senator replied, according to Politico.
“I think we should ban assault weapons as well as large magazines, and as part of passing that ban, do a buyback program across the country so that those who own them can be … compensated for their money that they spent,” Gillibrand explained.
While critics of this idea highlight how mandatory buybacks are nothing but gun confiscation, Gillibrand stressed that she doesn’t “want people to retain them [guns] because if you make them illegal, you don’t want to grandfather in all the assault weapons that are all across America,” reported Politico.
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Eric Swalwell and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have also supported mandatory buy-backs at various points during their campaigns.
Gillibrand’s comments come during a wave of support for various gun control measures articulated by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Even Conservatives like Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw, North Carolina Senator Lindsey Grahm, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump are supporting red flag laws. (RELATED: Here’s How Many Assault-Style Weapons Have Been Returned In New Zealand)
The solutions aren’t obvious, even if we pretend they are. But we must try. Let’s start with the TAPS Act. Maybe also implement state “red flag” laws, or gun violence restraining orders. Stop them before they can hurt someone.https://t.co/2G2pZSWaF1
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) August 4, 2019
“Red flag” laws, sometimes called extreme risk protection orders, allow police or citizens to petition courts to order that an individual have their guns confiscated.
Opponents of this policy say that it’s ripe for abuse, raising concerns that red flags will be placed on certain individuals as a harassment tactic. Some even cite President Donald Trump’s recent red flag tweet as evidence of this fact, explaining that red flags may be placed on undeserving individuals for political reasons.
Sure seems like Trump is saying bad language = the government is coming for your guns… pic.twitter.com/DVe8HHJsOX
— Firearms Policy Coalition (@gunpolicy) August 14, 2019