The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are far more forceful and united on gun control than their predecessors, endorsing a wide range of policies that past nominees sidestepped or rejected, according to a New York Times survey of the 19 campaigns.
The political terrain on guns has been shifting for several years in response to a seemingly unending series of mass shootings and a newly emboldened network of advocacy groups. Policies that were dividing lines among Democrats have become baselines, and proposals that were politically untouchable are now firmly on the table.
All 19 candidates support an assault weapons ban. The biggest disagreement: whether people who already own those weapons should be required to sell them to the government, or simply given the option to do so. There is also some support for a federal gun registry, an idea that many Democrats used to dismiss exasperatedly as gun-lobby scaremongering.
The scope of the candidates’ plans is striking: The Times asked about 17 policies, and a third of the field said yes to all of them. Most said they were prepared to take executive action, push to eliminate the Senate filibuster, or both in order to enact them.