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Published On: Fri, Nov 2nd, 2012

Presidential candidate Gary Johnson talks gun laws, for-profit prisons, FEMA, climate change and Obamacare

Former Republican governor of New Mexico and current Libertarian Party nominee is also on the campaign trail striving to get 5% of the popular vote, which would bring more federal funds for the growing Libertarian Party.

Talking with Fox 5 in Las Vegas, Johnson addressed some of the key issues in this election.

Noting the summer of mass shootings, many gun control advocates are calling for a ban on automatic weapons.

Gary Johnson at CPAC FL in Orlando, Florida. photo by Gage Skidmore

Johnson: “I’m a firm believer in the second amendment and so I would not have signed legislation banning assault weapons or automatic weapons,” Johnson said, adding that lines should be drawn when it comes to war-time weaponry such as rocket launchers.

“But how do you stem gun violence? I think that concealed carry was a way to do that,” he said. “I go back to 1994 when I was running for governor of New Mexico and I believed that supporting conceal and carry would lead to less overall gun violence. And I think that has actually panned itself out.”

“I think [the Second Amendment] was designed to protect us against a government that could be very intrusive.” Johnson said. “And in this country, we have a growing police state – if people can own assault rifles or automatic rifles, I think leads to a more civil government.”

The news source painted For-profit prison companies like Correction Corporation of America and GEO Group in a negative light and asked Johnson about his input.

“I think good government is offering goods and services at lower prices,” Johnson said. “In the case of New Mexico, where we privatized half the state prisons, it was the same goods and services delivered for two-thirds the cost. In my opinions, that’s good government.”

“I always said that as governor of New Mexico, if we could adopt rational drug policy and empty out the prisons, then it would be a lot easier to empty the private prisons as opposed to the public prisons,” Johnson said, adding that “adopting a rational drug policy would definitely empty out some of the 2.3 million people we have behind bars in this country because of our drug laws. A lot of them would otherwise be tax-paying, law-abiding citizens.”

How would President Johnson handle Hurricane Sandy relief? The role of FEMA?
NOAA satellite photo

The former governor was asked to weigh in on FEMA and the relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy and whether it would be handled better by the private sector.

“I think perhaps the federal government brings resources to bear that perhaps states can’t,” Johnson said. “But of the issues with FEMA is that we don’t budget for natural disasters and that we should be budgeting for them. So part of the spending crisis that we’re in right now is because we don’t budget for natural disasters. We just print the money to fix these things and we should be planning ahead for what inevitably are constant natural disasters that occur from one state to the next.”

Some climate change supporters point to Sandy as reason for the federal government to get more involved regulating carbon emissions, so where does the Libertarian come down?

“I just think that the best indicator of a good environment is a good economy,” Johnson said. “I would not pass cap and trade legislation. I think that would be devastating to the economy. You and I as consumers are demanding less carbon emission, cleaner burning energy, and we’re getting it; energy produced 50 years from now will be a lot cleaner than it is today, as it is a lot cleaner than 50 years ago.”

He added: “The most effective way to bring about less carbon emission is for you and I as consumers to demand just that…an informed public demands less carbon emission. Do we have coal-burning heaters in our homes? No. We make those choices. We’re consuming less oil and less energy, which is a good thing – that’s part of the equation also. But a good economy is what leads to a good environment. And if we have a monetary collapse in this country due to our continuing to spend more money than is sustainable, then people will be burning furniture and burning trees to stay warm – that’s a result of a monetary collapse. And that’s where we’re headed and that would be catastrophic to clean air.”

What would the fate of Obamacare be under President Johnson? What alternative plan would he offer?
Photo/Florida Tenth Amendment Center

Johnson says he wants health care in America to be as far removed from Obamacare as possible. Not only would Johnson repeal Obamacare, but he would drastically cut and reform Medicare and Medicaid, systems he says are unsustainable and will eventually help cause an economic collapse.

As an alternative to the current system, Johnson favors giving states block grants to help pay for health care.

“It would be spending within our means,” Johnson said. “A lot of talk is given to the fact that we have hundreds of trillions of dollars of unfunded liability. Well, if we keep Medicare as a program the same way it is today with the same eligibility going forward, we have more of unfunded liability.”

“Wouldn’t we like to have a safety net for health care for those who are poor and over 65 as opposed to a monetary collapse of government where no health care would be delivered at all to those that are poor and those over 65?” he said.

To reduce costs, Johnson adopts the libertarian view that a free market would cure the health care industry.

“Health care in this country is about as far removed from free market as it possibly can be,” Johnson said. “Government restricts the choices that we have. Government restricts the number of doctors that we have.”

Additionally Johnson would ensure fewer restrictions on medical school admittance, which would double the number of doctors. There would also be more tailor-made insurance options.

“How about giving us a myriad of choices that currently don’t exist? Why do we have an insurance model?” Johnson said. “I would not have insurance to cover myself for ongoing medical need in a free market approach to health care. I would have insurance to cover myself for catastrophic injury or illness, and I would pay-as-you-go in a system that is really competitive.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Election Day finally arrives: Florida voting observations and Photos - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Most polls show a very close race for President as both President Obama and Mitt Romney were campaigning late last night. Hurricane Sandy and the incredible devastation left behind proved to be a bigger surprise and factor than even the discussions over Libya and the Benghazi attack. Some third party candidates are pushing hard to meet the 5% popular vote to improve their Party&#821…. […]

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