How the Federal Gun Laws Could Change After the 2020 Election

Federal Laws on Guns

Federal gun laws are directly affected by the president, and the 2020 election will have a major impact on the future of gun control in the US. Of course, it is important to know that while a President may push for certain laws, they can always be denied in the Senate or House. It's a beautiful system of checks and balances, just the way the founding Fathers meant it. Still, the President will have direct influence over the types of gun control laws passed during their term. So, let's look and see what the current Federal gun laws entail and what the election will decide. 

Federal Laws on Guns as of 2020

The Federal Government, as a whole, supports the rights of individual states to decide their own gun control policies. It's the reason that California is able to ban semi-auto rifles and Alaska lets people conceal carry a handgun without a permit. For example, Federal law defines who should be able to purchase/own a weapon, offers incentives to states that cooperate with Universal Background Checks, and provides legal mandates for specific weapons and ammo.

The strongest federal regulation on guns, which lasted from 1994-2004, was a ban on "assault weapons" enacted by the Clinton administration. Also, that act banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammo. The Obama administration attempted to resurrect the Federal Assualt Weapons Ban in 2013, but Congress shut it down. California maintains a similar structure to their state law, but on a Federal level, AR's and AK style weapons are available to the public again.

Many Democrats want the Federal Assualt Weapons ban to be put back into place permanently. Many Republicans want States to have the right to decide their own gun laws, and for those laws to be conducive to the "Right to Bear Arms". Some trending disagreements are about mandatory buyback programs, gun registries, and tighter restrictions on who is allowed to own a weapon.

Our Candidates Today in 2020

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 Joe Biden

Joe Biden is a career politician, which allows us a good look into the way he will act in the future. He served as a Vice President for 8 years, and before that was Delewares longest-serving Senator. His top priorities for this election are an Equality Act (for the LGBTQ+ community) and pushing the Affordable Care Act back through. Gun Control isn't at the front of his mind, but it definitely a hot button issue for his running mate, Kamala Harris. She is calling for mandatory universal background checks (on a federal level), the assault weapons ban to be re-instated, and a federal gun buy-back program.

Check out this October 2020 article about Biden's plan to tax gun owners who already own AR-15s.

The Democratic Candidate posted this to his website:

“ As president, Biden will pursue constitutional, common-sense gun safety policies. Biden will:

  • Hold gun manufacturers accountable.
  • Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
  • Buyback the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities.
  • Reduce the stockpiling of weapons.
  • Require background checks for all gun sales.
  • Create an effective program to ensure individuals who become prohibited from possessing firearms to relinquish their weapons.
  • Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs."

The Federal Gun Law Breakdown:

Basically, the gun control he is calling for sounds like California's current laws. For example, the push for licensing to own a gun, not just carry. And, the ban on specific weapons and magazines reflect California's strict gun control. Biden is in favor of a National (aka federal) Firearm Registry. This will allow the Federal Government more control over people's personal information. 

Donald Trump

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President Trump enacted a few changes to Federal Gun laws over the years, one being a ban on bump stocks. To clarify, bump stocks allow a rifle to fire like a semi-auto weapon, and they are illegal in the US as of 2019. Also, the President encourages states to implement Red Flag Laws, which allows the local courts to disarm a civilian if they are a threat. He claims to support stronger background checks as well but hasn't acted on that as of yet.


The Republican incumbent has this posted:

"The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states." [source]

The Federal Gun Law Breakdown

The current president supports a federal level concealed carry permit, although that isn’t likely to become law anytime soon. Many Republicans believe that these permits should remain a state-wide issue. States should have the freedom to choose how and when they issue permits; if a resident doesn’t approve, then they can move to a state that better suits them.

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