California Rep. Eric Swalwell – a recently announced Democratic presidential candidate – said Sunday his call for a ban on assault weapons was not a step toward broader gun bans.
“You know, keep your pistols, keep your long rifles, keep your shotguns,” Swalwell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper when asked about anxiety from gun owners that an assault weapons ban could be an incremental step to a larger gun ban.
He continued, “I want the most dangerous weapons, these weapons of war, out of the hands of the most dangerous people.”
Swalwell announced last Monday he would join the widening Democratic presidential field and scheduled his first event at a town hall near Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the site of a deadly school shooting last year.
He has called for a ban on “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons” with a buy-back program.
In Sunday’s interview, Swalwell said the ban would come with criminal consequences for people who did not participate in the buy-back, but also suggested an “alternative, which would be to keep them at a hunting club or a shooting range.”
He said that the US should follow Australia and New Zealand, which both moved quickly to put in place new gun measures after deadly shootings and that the weapons covered under his policy were “devastating” and inspired fear.
“It’s not just the violence that they’ve caused, it’s the fear, the immeasurable fear that our children live in because they are still on our streets,” Swalwell said. “I want to get rid of that fear.”