In the wake of two mass shootings last weekend, 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is calling to renew a ban on assault weapons.
“The president has said that there's ... no political will or appetite for a ban on the assault weapons,” Williamson told Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro in an interview this week.
“This is clearly untrue. 70% of all Americans want to renew the ban on the assault weapons,” she added, apparently referring to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll out this week.
The two shootings from last weekend both used military-style assault rifles, which can be used to fire rapidly. In a shooting at a Walmart (WMT) that killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas, a suspect used an AK-style semiautomatic rifle. And, as The New York Times reported, a Dayton, Ohio, gunman killed nine people in just 30 seconds using an AR-style pistol.
‘We have to rise up’
Congress passed a 10-year ban on certain semi-automatic weapons in 1994, but it expired in 2004. And even when it was in effect, the law contained a number of loopholes that critics say effectively made the Clinton-era law toothless.
In her interview with Yahoo Finance, Williamson, a self-help book author who’s one of the lowest-polling 2020 contenders, said, “We need to renew the ban on assault weapons. And even when we do that, there will still be millions on the street. So we're going to have to outlaw the manufacture and the sale of those bullets.”
The U.S. also needs to close loopholes in existing gun laws, Williamson stressed. Those include the so-called boyfriend loophole, which allowed abusers to buy guns as long as they weren’t married to their victims, as well as the gun-show loophole — which lets people buy guns at gun shows without a background check.
“We need the universal background checks,” said Williamson, adding that we should outlaw bump stocks, which enable semiautomatic weapons to fire even more rapidly.
Williamson also alluded to the sway that the National Rifle Association and its lobbyists have over lawmakers who have the power to make all of these changes. Her message to the American people? If you vote for a president, a senator, or a Congress member who backs the NRA, then you’re blocking “commonsense gun laws.”
“It is time for the American people to rise up now and understand that it's our turn. We have to rise up, and we have to step in,” she said. “And we have to do it in 2020.”
Erin Fuchs is deputy managing editor at Yahoo Finance.