In an interview with the New Yorker Radio Hour, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told New Yorker editor David Remnick that he would not limit access to semi-automatic rifles or discourage teachers from keeping arms in their classrooms. But before he made his opinion clear, he seemed to waver.
“I don’t think I’ve ever advocated, ‘Look, everyone should have more guns,'” Johnson said. “A situation like Orlando — I hope everybody paid attention to what happened in Orlando. I hope all the nightclub owners in the country were paying attention to the fact that all the doors were padlocked.”
Remnick reminded Johnson that a semi-automatic rifle, not a series of padlocked doors, was used to massacre 49 people. “We’re talking about the ready availability of weapons that one would think should be limited … to a field of war,” the editor said.
Johnson disagreed. “If you’re going to make those criminal, I think you’re going to have a whole new criminal class of people who aren’t going to turn in those weapons,” he said. “We should be allowed to exercise our Second Amendment rights, which would be the ability to own semi-automatic rifles.”
Remnick asked whether Johnson thought teachers should be able to have guns. The Libertarian candidate scoffed, “I’m not going to tell teachers whether or not they should have a gun or not. Come on, man!” When Remnick clarified that he was talking about teachers having guns in their classrooms, Johnson was still incredulous:
“If a teacher would deem that to avail the classroom of potentially being secure, or if the teacher were to deem that something that within their own purview they might prevent an atrocity if it were to occur, I would support the teacher in wanting to be able to do that.”
Earlier in the conversation, Johnson told Remnick that he believes the retirement age should be raised and that Medicare and Medicaid should be “devolved” to the states. “I do believe the retirement age needs to get raised,” Johnson said. “I would recommend raising the retirement age. 72 seems like a good starting point.”