Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) revealed on Wednesday she believes that instituting both a mandatory gun buyback program as well as criminally prosecuting American’s who refuse to hand those firearms over to the government are both “strong” ideas.
“On the assault weapons issue, you have talked openly about being in favor of an assault weapons ban. I’m interested if you are supportive of a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons,” CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked Gillibrand, noting that the proposal was also suggested by her primary challengers Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
“Some have gone as far as to say not only should it be a mandatory buyback of assault rifles, but there should be criminal prosecution for those who don’t sell them back,” Harlow continued. “Is that something you support?”
“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 replied. “But I think both of those ideas are strong.”
The New York senator contended that an assault weapons ban would also require Americans to turn over certain firearms to the government so that so-called “assault weapons” would not be accessible to any people.
“You don’t want people to retain them because if you make them illegal, you don’t want to grandfather in all the assault weapons that are all across America,” Gillibrand said. “You would like people to sell them back to the government so that you can make sure that people who shouldn’t have access to these weapons couldn’t have them.”
“The point is, you don’t want people using assault weapons, and so the point is if you are arrested for using an assault weapon, you’re going to have an aggravated felony,” she continued. “I mean, the whole point is when you make it a crime to own an assault weapon, then if you are found using it, that would be the issue.”
Gillibrand quickly shifted her focus onto the National Rifle Association (NRA), criticizing the famed gun-rights organization for their opposition to banning firearm suppressors.
“It would just be part of your law enforcement in terms of what you have access to in the same way that you need to have a certain certification, a certain approval to have a suppresser on your weapon,” she said. “That’s why the NRA is desperate to make it easier to get suppressors where you don’t actually have to get a specific license or certification to have that suppressor.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful has been a frequent, yet relatively recent, critic of the NRA. While she often touts her F rating from the organization, the NRA notably rated Gillibrand an A up until the year she moved to the Senate from New York’s 20th Congressional District and flipped on her Second Amendment positions.
“[The NRA] just care[s] about gun sales, they care about money,” Gillibrand said. “They are funded by a lot of people including gun manufacturers and gun manufacturers care more about gun sales than the safety of families.”