We can expect to hear President Obama and Mitt Romney discuss a variety of issues in their first head-to-head debate Wednesday night, but will they talk about guns? With the debate taking place at the University of Denver – located just a short drive from both Aurora and Columbine High School – and with 100,000 Americans killed or injured every year with firearms, you’d think it would be impossible to avoid the topic. Shockingly, though, neither candidate has offered much leadership about solutions to our gun violence epidemic, even as mass shooting tragedies like last Thursday’s workplace shooting in Minneapolis continue to occur with an alarming frequency.
Around the country, concerned Americans are calling on Denver debate moderator Jim Lehrer to ask the candidates about gun violence. But what exactly should Lehrer ask? It would be too easy for both candidates to offer facile condolences and platitudes without the right questions, so here are three questions that both candidates ought to answer about keeping our communities safe from gun violence.
1. Virtually everyone agrees that people should be required to pass criminal background checks before getting their hands on guns. How would you help close the loopholes that allow dangerous individuals to legally buy firearms without fulfilling this basic requirement?