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Gillibrand presses for federal weapons buyback plan

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at the Des Moines

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at the Des Moines Register Soapbox during the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Aug. 10. Credit: Bloomberg / Daniel Acker

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Sunday pushed a proposal for the federal government to buy back assault weapons and said as president, she would support a ban on assault rifles and weapons.

“I don't think we should be living in a world where a family can't go to Walmart to do their back-to-school shopping,” Gillibrand said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “I don't think we want to live in a world where young children are learning shelter-in-place drills as opposed to math drills, that's the truth of where we are.”

Gillibrand told anchor Martha Raddatz that as president, she “would seek to make a ban on assault rifles and assault weapons, military-style weapons. I would have a ban on large magazines.”

Gillibrand said legislation would make it illegal to buy or sell the assault weapons and would be coupled with a proposal to reimburse gun owners for their weapons.

"You want to give people the opportunity to be reimbursed for the money that they spent to own those weapons,” Gillibrand said.

Whether the program should be mandatory or voluntary has been the subject of debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Gillibrand told CNN host Poppy Harlow on Wednesday, when asked if the buybacks should be mandatory: “You don't want people to retain them, because if you make them illegal, you don't want to grandfather in all the assault weapons that are all across America."

She said, "You would like people to sell them back to the government so that you can make sure people who shouldn't have access to these weapons couldn't have them."

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) expressed support for a mandatory gun buyback program when he was a candidate in the Democratic primary for president. Swalwell dropped out of the race in July, but other candidates have voiced support or openness to the idea.

Another candidate, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), told Harlow on Thursday that he preferred a voluntary buyback program. Bullock said a mandatory one that could lead to assault weapon owners’ criminal prosecution for holding onto their guns “is going too far.”

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