For many members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia, a political candidate’s stance on the Second Amendment is a critical litmus test. How can we trust a politician that doesn’t trust us to freely exercise our personal and collective right to bear arms? Not that we trust politicians, but gun rights is as good an indication of their basic idea of government as any. And so here’s a run down of the 2A views of the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls . . .
From 2012.Presidential-Candidates.org, the following summaries of 2nd Amendment positions are available for each candidate. More information about candidates’s views on gun control can be found at Ontheissues.org.
Cain follows the Republican party line and supports a citizen’s right to bear arms. Only not so much and not so well. In an interview with CNN (above), Cain turned his back on the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision incorporating the Second Amendment (make it trump local and state law). “[Gun control] should be a state’s decision.” Backpedalling and post-gaffe candidate briefing to follow.
The Newtster says the Constitution guarantees every individual the right to own firearms. Better yet, Gingrinch seems to understand that gun control advocates look to kill that right in a “death by a thousand cuts” assault. New says Americans’ gu rights should not be “redefined by nitpicking.” Constitutional carry? Crickets chirping.
Refuting the liberal strategy is quite easy. Washington and New York have the most stringent gun-control laws in the nation. In both cities every crime committed with a gun is already illegal. In almost every case, the very possession of the gun is already illegal. If gun control worked, should New York and Washington be quiet, peaceful cities?
Ron Paul’s a firm supporter of the Second Amendment. And how. He’s one of the few presidential candidates who’s openly discussed the role of the Second Amendment in keeping the federal government’s power in check. Anyone who says Americans should be able to carry a concealed weapon on a plane has street cred in the gun rights community. You can find Paul’s pro-gun rights views from the 2008 election at ontheissues.org
The former governor of New Mexico says he believes in the right of citizens to bear arms. But he also says current gun control laws are “inadequate” and ripe for improvement. In other words, he’s looking to play it straight down the middle, just as Barack Obama did in his campaign for CIC.
PLAYBOY: Do you carry a gun?
JOHNSON: I don’t and I don’t own a gun, but I’d still just as soon have the concealed carry law. If the guy who is going to hold up a car knows there is the possibility of a concealed weapon, he may think twice. We don’t have that law here.
Mr. Miller is a flight attendant with no prior political experience who wants to follow the founding fathers’ “original recipe.” His platform says nothing about one key ingredient: gun rights. At all. I wonder what he makes of Ron Paul’s belief that Americans should be able to pack heat on airplanes . . .
Pawlenty is another politician who fully and unconditionally supports the Second Amendment—with conditions. He thinks everyone should be able to exercise their right to keep and bear arms once they’ve been trained. He also believes in a “relentless and aggressive crack down on illegal gun ownership.” In other words, gun rights are shuffled to one side as he concentrates on looking tough on crime.
As he is with so many other issues, Romney is a gun rights flip-flopper. As Massachusetts Governor, Romney supported gun control: high capacity magazine and assault weapon bans, the infamous 10-pound MA trigger, a list of approved firearms, the works. As a senatorial candidate in ’94, Mitt was busy talking up the Brady bill.
In 2002, Romney re-upped his support for the state’s draconian gun laws. “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them . . . I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.”
Now that he’s running for President (again), Romney has revealed “I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I’m a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms.”
Romney continues to support a ban on assault weapons. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
Clever guns eh?
Santorum talks a good game on gun control. Well, he appeared at this year’s NRA convention in Pittsburgh, where he spoke for 15 minutes (above, 329 views so far) and compared gun owners to the proverbial “canary in the mineshaft.” And then proceeded to say not-very-much about guns or gun rights or the Second Amendment. Make of that what you will.
Although Wuensche is pro-2a (who’s against it anyway?), he says “those states which do not yet allow the right to carry a concealed weapon [should] be encouraged to do so.” That’s not very encouraging.
Huntsman stopped by Riley’s Gun Shop, a familiar stop on the first-in-the-nation primary campaign trail, to talk to employees and check out the merchandise. After inspecting rifles on the wall, Huntsman said he was a hunter, and explained that though he had not hunted recently, he had been around guns “my entire life.”
Asked by POLITICO what he hunted, Huntsman took only a second to reply.
“Oh… large varmints,” Huntsman said with a smile.
It was a veiled swipe at Romney, who in 2008 struggled to explain his own relationship with hunting and guns — eventually acknowledging that his hunting was limited to “varmints.”
“Small” varmints, specifically.
Will the next president be pro-gun rights? Time will tell. Some 517 days to be exact.