Eric Swalwell, the 18th and latest Democratic presidential candidate to enter the race, said on Sunday that the Second Amendment should not be repealed, but rather be used to allow gun control.

“The greatest threat to the Second Amendment is doing nothing,” the California representative said on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper. “And the Second Amendment is not an absolute right. Just like free speech — you can’t shout fire in a theater or lie about the products you are selling. You can’t own a bazooka, you can’t own a tank, you can’t own rocket-propelled grenades.“

Gun control is the main focus for his 2020 bid. Last year, he proposed a ban on the possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.

“We should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons,” Swalwell said in a statement in May 2018.

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He mentioned the shootings at Sandy Hook and Parkland as a driver behind this proposal.

“These weapons are so devastating,” Swalwell said. “It’s not just the violence they’ve caused, but the fear, the immeasurable fear that our children live in because they are still on our streets.”

The 38-year-old candidate said his proposal also included a background check and funds for a violence prevention program in cities.

When asked what his response would be to those who oppose his proposal because it is considered “taking their guns away,” Swalwell’s responded, “I want the most dangerous weapons, these weapons of war, out of the hands of the most dangerous people.”

He added that he wants to follow in the footsteps of Australia and New Zealand.

Australia enacted a sweeping gun law banning semiautomatic rifles and shotguns less than two weeks after a massacre in Tasmania in April 1996. They also put hurdles between prospective gun owners and their weapons. Not only did the rates of mass shootings go down after this law was enacted, but so did the number of homicides and suicides.


Earlier this year, New Zealand banned the sale of all military-style semi-automatics, assault rifles and high capacity magazines, less than a week after a massacre at two Christchurch mosques killed 50 people.

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