GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said convicted felons should have the right to carry guns in an interview with former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released Thursday—adding to Ramaswamy’s radical platform that continues to grab headlines and draw attacks from his opponents.
Ramaswamy said everyone “has the right to” carry a gun when Cuomo asked if former felons were included in his “Second Amendment absolutist” principles.
Restricting gun ownership will lead to “more lawbreakers continuing to own guns, while law-abiding citizens don’t,” he said.
He added that background checks are “absolutely a legitimate part of the process,” prompting Cuomo to argue that if former felons are allowed to have guns “background checks are meaningless.”
Dismissing Cuomo’s concerns about mass shootings in schools, he told the former governor it “is not a real case that presents itself very often, compared to real-life violence between a lot of violent criminals in cities who are breaking a lot of other laws.”
Instead of removing “guns from law-abiding citizens,” Ramaswamy said people who are “psychiatrically ill and dangerous and violent” should be removed from their communities and institutionalized, acknowledging the proposal is “controversial.”
Ramaswamy made the comments on Cuomo’s “As A Matter Of Fact” podcast.
9%. That’s the share of voters who would cast their ballots for Ramaswamy in the GOP primary, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker that shows him in third, behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Ramaswamy’s polling position has dipped slightly, by about one point, since late August.
Ramaswamy, a first-time candidate and former biotech executive, has carved out a hard-right platform that has drawn both ire from the rest of the GOP candidate field and high voter visibility. He was a target for the seven other participants in the first GOP debate last month and engaged in several heated exchanges with his opponents over climate change, the national debt and foreign policy, and attacked the rest of the GOP field as “super-PAC puppets.” He has called climate change a “hoax,” urged every candidate to commit to pardoning Trump if they’re elected president and he’s convicted in one of his four criminal cases, and he wants states to ban abortions at six weeks, equating abortion to a “form of murder.” His foreign policy stances—that Russia should be allowed to retain the territory it’s seized in the war in Ukraine if it ends its military relationship with China and that the U.S. should not stop China from invading Taiwan once the U.S. achieves “semiconductor independence”—have drawn some of the sharpest criticism from other GOP candidates and political pundits who have used the proposals to ridicule his lack of foreign policy experience.
Cuomo resigned from office in 2018 after a New York Attorney General investigation found he sexually harassed 11 women. Then-Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was sworn in to replace him, and she was elected for her first full term in November.
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