The issue of gun control is yet again in the news and on the minds of 2016 presidential hopefuls after a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Lafayette, injuring nine and killing two others before reportedly turning the gun on himself. Rick Perry and Bernie Sanders' opposite gun views showcase the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to gun ownership. While a majority of Republican candidates are using the issue to highlight their support of Second Amendment rights, some are taking that stance even further, advocating against gun-free zones altogether and supporting the ability to bring guns seemingly anywhere.
Some of the boldest statements have come from Perry, who explicitly stated that people should be allowed to bring their guns to movie theaters. In an interview on CNN's State of the Union, Perry had this to add about gun control:
If we believe in the Second Amendment, [and] we believe in people's right to protect themselves and defend themselves and their families, then to tell them that they cannot carry a weapon that they are legally obliged to carry, that they have been through the training for makes sense to me. ... I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there's as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette.
Conversely, Sanders advocated for a more varied solution involving instant background checks as well as limiting the availability of weapons used explicitly for anything other than hunting. The Vermont senator's experience as not only an NRA supporter but as a politician who's advocated for gun control puts him in a unique position, straddling two vastly different worlds. For that reason, Sanders says, he can speak to both rural and urban voters. Sanders continued in a Sunday interview on NBC's Meet The Press:
People with criminal backgrounds, people who are abusing wives and girlfriends, should not be having guns. ... Nobody should have a gun who has a criminal background, who's involved in domestic abuse situations. People should not have guns who are going to hurt other people, who are unstable. We need to make sure that certain types of guns used to kill people, exclusively, not for hunting, they should not be sold in the United States of America.
The two candidates have yet to address each other's opposing views, though a general comparison of Perry and Sanders shows two politicians consistently at opposite ends of the spectrum. Whereas Perry has an A grade with the NRA, Sanders has been given an D-. Yet the one thing that both candidates can agree on is that alleged shooter John Russell Houser should not have had access to any weaponry whatsoever.
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