Where The 2016 Candidates Stand On Guns

This story was originally published on April 13, 2016.

From calls to tighten gun control in the wake of mass shootings — there is, on average, more than one a day in the U.S. — to proposals to allow firearms on college campuses, there's been no shortage of public debate surrounding gun control and rights in recent years. That debate has made a mark on millennial women — gun rights emerged as one of the top five most important issues among women 18 to 35 surveyed in a new poll from Refinery29/ABC News. About 11% of those surveyed consider protecting gun rights to be the most important out of a range of issues. Hear millennial women share their view on the issue in the video above. Ahead, a look at where the candidates stand on this hot-button topic. For more on the issues that matter most to millennial women, check out the Refinery29/ABC News Vote Your Values poll here.

Donald Trump

Photo: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: Trump is against banning assault weapons or expanding restrictions to gun access, calling gun and magazine bans a "total failure."
He supports expanding concealed carry permits to the national level, so that a permit issued in one state would be valid across the country. He has also said that he would get rid of gun-free zones, such as the ones around schools, claiming that they are targets for mass shooters. In His Words: "Gun-free zones are target practice for the sickos and the mentally ill."

Ted Cruz

Photo: Scott Olson/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: Cruz has positioned himself strongly in favor of the Second Amendment, and against restriction on gun access. He's come out against banning private sales of guns, and co-authored legislation intended to make it easier to purchase and transport guns across state lines. When the Obama administration pushed for stricter regulations on gun access after Sandy Hook, Cruz led opposition to the legislation. He's stated that the Second Amendment is about protecting families and homes. In His Words: "When citizens cease to have the right to defend ourselves, we cease to be free."

John Kasich

Photo: Luke Sharrett/ Bloomberg/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: Kasich has signed every pro-Second Amendment bill that has crossed his desk as governor into law. He opposes Obama’s executive orders on gun control, and supports easing restrictions on concealed carry, including across state lines. However, he's been criticized by conservatives for having a historically more moderate stance on gun control, stemming from his support for a proposed ban on assault weapons in 1994. In 2015, while avoiding saying he regretted his vote, he called the proposed ban "superfluous" in an interview with Fox News Sunday. In His Words: "I don't believe we should — the government should be taking guns from people. I think people have a right to be armed."

Bernie Sanders

Photo: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images.
Where He Stands: Sanders supports expanding background checks to all commercial sales, as well as closing the gun show "loophole," which enables people to buy firearms at gun shows without being screened for prior offenses. He has voted in favor of a ban on assault weapons, but has reversed his position on legislation that would prevent gun manufacturers from being held liable for shooting deaths involving their guns. In 2005, Sanders voted in favor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, but later supported a repeal of the act. In His Words: "I hope as a nation that we would ban these types of assault weapons so that they don't get into the hands of people who are gun dealers or out shooting at police officers."

Hillary Clinton

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/ Getty Images.
Where She Stands: Clinton supports what she calls "common sense" approaches to reduce gun violence. She endorses expanded background checks, as well as closing several loopholes — including those around internet sales and gun show sales — that allow people to buy guns without a screening. She also supports an assault weapons ban and voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. In Her Words: "I know that we have a majority of gun owners who support universal background checks."

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