On Tuesday, Nov. 7, a smattering of state and local elections will be held around the United States. Some of the most high profile elections include governors races and mayoral races in several large cities. In light of the recent horrific mass shooting in Texas, many are likely wondering where some of these candidates stand on the NRA and gun control. This list will take a closer look at the candidates in high-profile races who are firmly pro gun-control and anti-NRA if that's an important deciding factor for your vote.
The candidates below are all representatives of the Democratic party and have firmly espoused their views on gun control and/or gun violence. They reflect candidates from gubernatorial races in the states of Virginia and New Jersey, as well as mayoral candidates from the cities of Detroit, New York, Seattle, and St. Petersburg — all races which experts are closely watching because of their potential political and policy implications.
That's not to say, however, that these are the only significant races. There are many more municipal and state-wide elections happening around the country beyond those reflected here. Therefore, if you are living in a state or city in which elections are happening on Tuesday, be sure to also check out your local candidates' platforms (on gun control and beyond) ahead of casting your vote.
Justin Fairfax, Democratic Candidate For Lieutenant Governor Of Virginia
Fairfax supports stricter gun laws in Virginia, including requiring insurance for gun ownership, universal background checks, and a return to the state's one-handgun-a-month limit on how many guns an individual can purchase. He has also received funding and endorsements from several gun control advocacy organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety and the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence. Fairfax has an "F" rating from the NRA.
Phil Murphy, Democratic Candidate For Governor Of New Jersey
On his website, Murphy asserts that he is a strong advocate of "getting tough on gun violence." He characterizes gun violence as a public health crisis and notes that, as governor, he would sign all of the "commonsense gun legislation" that Republican governor Chris Christie vetoed, mandate gun safety training, and tax gun sales whose funds would then be used for mental health services and law enforcement, among other policy initiatives. Murphy has also condemned the Christie administration for acting as an "agent of the NRA." Murphy, like others on this list, has similarly received an "F" rating from the NRA.
Bill de Blasio, Democratic Candidate For Mayor Of New York
De Blasio, who is the current Mayor of New York, has long been staunchly pro-gun control and anti-NRA. Indeed, in a radio interview last year following a New York State Senate Democratic filibuster on gun control, de Blasio stressed the importance of dismantling the NRA's power and influence, saying, “The NRA built up that very tragic power over many years and decades, and it can be torn down and it has to be torn down.”
Mike Duggan, Candidate For Mayor Of Detroit
Duggan is the current mayor of Detroit and a candidate in the city's upcoming nonpartisan mayoral election. The city has a pervasive problem with gun violence and Duggan has taken steps to crack down on anyone who uses a gun to commit a crime. In 2015, Duggan started an initiative with the federal government to mandate that any felon who has three prior convictions and is caught carrying a gun would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Of the initiative, Duggan said,
We may not have the resources to get everybody right now, but we do have the resources to go after everybody who chooses to use a gun ... Every month that goes by, we're going to make it more and more difficult to get away with a crime using a gun.
Coleman Young II, Candidate For Mayor Of Detroit
Young II has not directly addressed the issue of gun control much in the public forum, but has addressed the issue of the city's violence problem head-on, advocating for a multi-faceted approach to tackling the issue. As Young put it:
What I want to do is treat violence like a virus so that we make sure we go to the Centers of Disease Control to make sure we can be proactive and find out what the root causes of these violent problems are so we can bring them to justice.
This sentiment reflects the approach of many gun control advocates, who promote treating gun violence as a public health issue.
Jenny Durkan, Candidate For Mayor Of Seattle
Durkan is one of the two Democratic candidates for mayor of Seattle, since municipal elections are officially non-partisan. Durkan has long spoken out as an advocate of gun control, even writing an op-ed in the Seattle Times back in 2013 characterizing gun violence as a public health issue, calling for commonsense gun laws, and demanding an assault weapons ban.
In the mayoral election, Durkan has been endorsed by Gabby Giffords, who runs an anti-gun violence advocacy organization. In her statement endorsing Durkan, Giffords said, "Our nation needs strong leaders like Jenny Durkan, who are not only supportive of gun safety measures, but are committed to setting an example—and a legal precedent—for the rest of the country. As mayor, I am confident that Jenny will continue to work tirelessly to make Seattle’s communities safer from gun violence."
Cary Moon, Candidate For Mayor Of Seattle
Moon, also a Democratic candidate for mayor, firmly advocates for gun control measures and has been highly critical of the NRA. Indeed, following the shooting at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Moon issued a statement calling for changes to gun laws and condemning the gun advocacy group:
We must strengthen our local, state and national protections against gun violence, such as Attorney General Ferguson's proposal to ban assault-style guns and high capacity magazines. In Seattle and in Washington State, we must keep pushing common sense reforms to protect public safety— which will require the courage to make big corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share. Most importantly, we must stand strong together and tell the NRA and other violence apologists that enough is enough.
Rick Kriseman, Democratic Candidate For Mayor Of St. Petersburg, Florida
Kriseman, the Democratic candidate in a hotly-watched mayoral race in Florida, is an ardent supporter of gun control legislation. Following Sunday's mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Kriseman spoke at a news conference about the importance of gun control and mental health services, saying,
I think that we’re going to continue to pay the price if we don’t address the issues of mental health and we don’t address issues of guns, particularly high capacity weapons, high capacity magazines, armor piercing bullets, things that ... if you’re a hunter you don’t need that. There’s really only one purpose for those weapons.
While serving in the state legislature, Kriseman was also highly critical of the NRA and politicians who supported the organization, once publicly condemning "NRA-owned politicians" when discussing a lawsuit challenging a Florida law that was backed by the NRA.
Overall, these candidates are committed to reducing gun violence in the United States and promoting gun control legislation. If this is important to you and you live in one of the above-described states or cities, be sure to get out and cast your vote. And, if these races do not apply to you and your locality, make sure to research any elections occurring in your area and confirm your preferred candidate's stance on gun control and beyond.