Tonight, Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will face off in the first presidential debate of the 2020 election at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
There’s no question that Trump will use the opportunity to fearmonger and lie about gun violence happening across America in an attempt to sow division, and distract voters from his failed response to the coronavirus pandemic — the same way he’s done for months.
The truth is: On every level Donald Trump has refused to take action to address gun violence, and his failures have brought us four deadly years.
Trump downplayed the coronavirus pandemic, failing to mobilize an effective response, and now more than 200,000 Americans are dead from the virus.
And Trump has refused to take meaningful action to reduce gun violence and, instead, has taken actions to make things worse. Trump’s failures have culminated in an estimated 145,000 Americans being killed by gun violence during his presidency.
It didn’t have to be this way. But from the beginning, Trump chose to take his cues from the gun lobby, not the vast majority of Americans who want action on gun safety. Trump’s refusal to act has cost lives and made Americans less safe.
- The gun lobby spent $31 million to elect Trump. Since then, Trump has shaped U.S. gun policy to the gun lobby’s liking.
- Trump has expressly weakened U.S. gun laws, including making it easier for criminals to access ghost guns, reversing an Obama-era rule in order to allow people suffering from severe mental illness to buy guns, and ending the ban on silencer sales to buyers overseas “that was intended to protect U.S. troops from ambushes.”
- Trump threatened to veto bipartisan House-passed legislation to require background checks on all gun sales — a policy supported by 93% of American voters.
- Trump pledged to take action on gun safety after the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings, but after NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre reportedly told Trump to “stop the games,” he walked away from his commitment.
- Gun sales have surged amid the pandemic, overwhelming the background check system and allowing more and more guns to be sold without a background check. Trump’s Department of Justice warned about this scenario at the start of the pandemic, and yet Trump has done nothing to address it.
- Trump has repeatedly refused to condemn violence by right wing extremists and supporters of his candidacy, including white supremacists at Charlottesville, the El Paso mass shooter, and the Kenosha gunman.