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They believe that reasonable gun control measures must be taken. There is some debate as to what exactly is reasonable. Generally, this translates into support for various restrictions on gun ownership, such as magazine capacity limits, waiting periods, or outright bans on some types of guns or guns with certain features. This can, however, vary, since not all Democrats follow the party line exactly.

The official position We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce commonsense laws and improvements - like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Acting responsibly and with respect for differing views on this issue, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

The Democratic Party platform (2008)

Overall, the recent history of the Democratic party has been for stricter gun control, as the above plank from the 2008 Democratic Party platform indicates. Gun control is perhaps the second most contentious issue of the past several decades, with only abortion exceeding the heat of rhetoric flying about, so be careful with people talking in absolutes and sweeping generalizations.

With that in mind, here's a brief general overview of the types of gun control measures supported by various Democratic administrations, and local Democratic governors and city governments along with justifications provided for them:

  • Military-style weaponry has only one real purpose: killing people in large quantities. All such weapons should be banned, as the perceived potential for legal use is far outweighed by their potential for criminal use or for inadvertent harm even when used legally.
  • Local governments should have the power to regulate guns based on local conditions, with the presumption that not all firearms are banned
  • Guns have different characteristics, and the regulation/restriction on gun should be based on the unique characteristics of guns; in particular, the primary use (either intended or de facto) of a gun should be one of (if not the major) determining factor in regulation
  • The only ammunition that should be permissible is ammunition which is minimally needed for legal activities (personal/property defense, hunting, etc.). Ammunition which significantly exceeds the minimum performance requirements for legal use should be banned (under the assumption that this "excessive" performance appeals mostly to those engaging in illegal activities)
  • As a manufacturer of an intentionally lethal product, the manufacturer should be held liable if they act in a manner which is a de facto circumvention of existing regulation. That is, the actions of the manufacturer in the design, marketing and selling of their product should expose them to liability if those actions can be show to promote illegal use of their product.
  • Legal sales of firearms should be restricted to licensed merchants, who should be limited to sales of such goods at fixed locations (i.e. guns should be sold at stores, not at traveling shows). Transfer of gun ownership should be done at such establishments, where individual transfers can follow existing legal mechanisms for background checks, etc.
  • Ownership of a legal firearm should be restricted to those without a criminal background and who have no history of mental illness. Consequently, purchase of a gun should be accompanied by a thorough check of the individual, which may require a significant time period between the purchase of the gun, and the actual delivery of the product to the purchaser. In other words, the "waiting period" should be however long it takes to complete a thorough background check; as a corollary to this, the government should maintain a database listing unsuitable owners, which should be easily and quickly accessible to all gun merchants and law enforcement.
  • It is reasonable to restrict the total number of weapons sold to individuals (not registered gun merchants) to those which can reasonably be used by that individual. There should be no "right" to be a gun collector of an armory of fully functional weaponry. Gun collectors can register as gun merchants (and be regulated as such) if they so desire to maintain such a large collection.

Debate about this subject should be in the discussion section.

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โˆ™ 2011-10-05 19:36:52
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Q: What is the position of the Democratic Party on gun control?
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The Democratic Party.

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What is the position of the Republican Party on gun control?

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