Gov. Bullock: Mandatory Buyback Program for Assault Weapons Goes ‘Too Far’

By Craig Millward | August 16, 2019 | 10:28am EDT
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
(Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

( A mandatory buyback program for assault weapons goes “too far,” Montana Governor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Steve Bullock said Thursday.

In an interview on “CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto,” Bullock said a mandatory buyback program feeds into the National Rifle Association (NRA) narrative “that the federal government is going to come in and take away all of your guns.”

Host Poppy Harlow asked Bullock if he would support a mandatory a mandatory gun back-back program, instead of the voluntary one he has previously advocated:

“We saw what happened in Philadelphia overnight. Tragic, and that man was using an assault rifle. I know you support a voluntary buy-back program for assault weapons. What about a mandatory one? Cory Booker has talked about that. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talked about that with me yesterday. That would mean criminal prosecution of those who don't sell back their assault weapons. Is that going too far?”

“There’s going to be a lot of discussion about this. From my perspective it is going too far,” Bullock responded:

“I think, in part, because part of the whole narrative of this: when I was growing up, the NRA, it was a gun safety and hunting organization. Now, it really is a political organization. But, the narrative for responsible gun owners that the federal government's going to come in and take away all of your guns, I think that feeds that. Now, I think a voluntary program.”

Harlow interjected: “To be clear, I didn't say all. I said just for assault weapons.”

“Sure. But, that's where the NRA has always had this narrative of ‘they’re coming into your households’ and I think you could do some things with a voluntary buyback that could make some meaningful difference. Any additional transfers, other than family transfers, as long as they're within the instant check system as long, as we know it, I think it could make a real difference,” Bullock said.

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke have expressed support for a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons.

In an interview with CNN earlier this month, former Vice President Joe Biden said he would institute a “national buyback program” as president. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted on Aug. 5 that “The federal government must ban assault weapons and implement a buyback program to get assault weapons off the streets.”

However, one Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told CNN on Wednesday that “pushing for mandatory buybacks would be a recipe for getting nothing done.”


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