First Presidential Debate Has No Time For Gun Violence Policy
In this presidential election cycle's only debate devoted solely to domestic issues , moderator and former PBS host Jim Lehrer did not ask the candidates what they would do to address gun violence in America. This silence comes in the wake of several high profile mass shootings and a high-profile campaign by survivors and advocates to push the candidates to detail their plans to deal with the issue.
Every year roughly 30,000  Americans die from gun violence. In early 2011, a gunman used a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine  to kill six people  and wound 13 others, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, at a town hall event held by the congresswoman. This year has featured prominent mass shootings at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theate r and a Sikh temple  in Wisconsin.
Some in the media have distorted polling to claim that Americans are largely satisfied with gun laws. But other surveys show that large majorities of Americans  support a wide array of specific laws that would bolster gun violence prevention, including requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check and banning high capacity magazines and assault weapons.
Seeking to increase public discussion of an issue the American people have said they care about, the Brady Campaign asked  Lehrer to ask the candidates to address the issue during this evening's debate, while Mayors Against Illegal Guns produced an ad featuring Aurora shooting survivor Stephen Barton telling viewers, "when you watch the presidential debates, ask yourself who has a plan to stop gun violence."
Thanks to Lehrer, Americans are no closer to an answer on that question.