Swalwell Tells Tapper He Doesn’t Want to Take Away All Guns, But ‘Second Amendment is Not an Absolute Right’


The latest Democrat to join the 2020 race is Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, who has made gun control the focus of his platform. Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Swalwell discussed his platform and said that he doesn’t want to take away all guns, but that the Second Amendment is not an absolute right.

Tapper first asked about criminal prosecution for possession of so-called “assault” weapons under Swalwell’s proposed ban and buyback. “What’s the punishment for people who don’t hand in their guns, do they go to jail?”

“They would,” he said. “But I also offer an alternative, which would be to keep them at a hunting club or a shooting range.”

Swalwell said that both gun violence and “the immeasurable fear” of potential gun violence are the rationale behind that move. “I want to get rid of that fear, I want to do what Australia did, and New Zealand just recently did,” he said. “I think this issue just needs some bold leadership to do it.”

In the gun debate, there is a constant back-and-forth between pro- and anti-gun positions about whether those who favor gun control intend to actually take away everyone’s guns, and Tapper brought it up.

“I know you know this, but the vast majority of gun related deaths in this country are not related to these semi-automatic assault weapons, or whatever you want to call them, and the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens who have purchased these weapons legally, and use them safely,” said Tapper. “One of the most frequent attacks on this issue from President Trump and the Republicans is the Democrats want to take away your guns, but isn’t it fair to say you actually do want to take away people’s guns?”

“You know, keep your pistols, keep your long rifles, keep your shotguns. I want the most dangerous weapons, these weapons of war, out of the hands of the most dangerous people,” said Swalwell. “But when it comes to what else we can do, because I don’t even suggest this is all we can do, I also want background checks. So do 73% of NRA members.”

He listed some other agenda items, like “prevention programs” and said that on guns he wants “to lead” on the issue.

“Former supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says that the United States should repeal the second amendment,” said Tapper, getting past the campaign talk and to the heart of the issue. “Do you agree?”

“No. I don’t agree,” said Swalwell. “But I think the greatest threat to the second amendment is doing nothing.”

He then added, “And the second amendment is not an absolute right,” and compared it to freedom of speech, arguing that not being able to shout fire in a movie theater is the same as not being able to “own a bazooka” or “a tank.”

“We should put some limits in place, and I think the American people are with me,” said Swalwell. “I’m no longer intimidated by the NRA.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.

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