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The Democratic debate got off to a heated start with the candidates sounding off on their views about gun control. With the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, this topic has been a source of massive debate. Because of these shootings, many politicians have spoken out about whether or not the U.S. needs stricter laws for purchasing guns. 

Debate moderator Anderson Cooper kicked off the topic by asking each candidate about their views on gun control.

“We have to look at the fact we lose 90 people a day to guns,” Hillary Clinton said. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley held similar views, and they both took the strongest stand against firearms and for stricter laws.

The two candidates agreed that these shootings have gone on for too long, and Hillary stressed that it is time to stand up to the NRA. O’Malley told a heart-felt story about a family who lost their daughter in the shootings at an Aurora Colorado movie theatre. The shooter in that incident was allowed to purachase thousands of rounds of ammunition without question. O’Malley expressed his concern with these laws and demanded that we buckle down on the sale of firearms.

Senator Bernie Sanders, former govenor Lincoln Chafee and former senator from Virginia Jim Webb held more moderate views on gun control. Bernie Sanders emphasized that many of the recent gun tragedies were also issues of mental health, and called for reform with how the U.S. treats mentally ill patients. Webb admitted that we haven’t done a good job with gun control in the past, but stood up for the right of Americans to carry guns for self-defense purposes.