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The second, big GOP Presidential candidates debate will be held tomorrow evening, sponsored by NBC and Politico, from the Reagan Presidential Library in California. This will be the first debate with the participation of Texas Governor Rick Perry, the guy who’s announcement more-or-less stole the show at the recent Iowa Caucuses. While November 2012 is a long, long, long way off (eons in Political Time, in fact) conventional wisdom suggests that the winner of the GOP primary will go on to face the incumbent, President Barack Hussein Obama, in the general election. As a public service to the TTAG Armed Intelligentsia, we thought it might be useful to look at the major candidates and the President, from a “what’s their position on guns” point of view. We’ll start with the incumbent, and move on to the challengers, in order of their current poll rankings.

President Barak Hussein Obama

In 2008, then-candidate Obama claimed he had nothing against guns in the hands of private owners. He just wanted to make sure we all had some “common sense” rules that would ensure the safety of the public, while allowing people to keep and bear arms. In 2011, it’s a lot harder for Obama to mask his stance on guns, as we have two years of his administration’s record to review. And that record has featured a fairly consistent, anti-gun message.

It includes adding quite a few outspoken critics of gun rights to his cabinet, appointing two anti-gun rights Supreme Court Justices, blocking the importation of collectible WWI-vintage surplus guns, attempted to stop the military’s sale of spent brass for cartridge remanufacture, and supported efforts by NYC Mayor Bloomberg to craft laws that will skirt the spirit of the Heller and McDonald rulings.

It would be difficult to imagine a candidate for President (outside of, say, Michael Bloomberg or Sarah Brady) that would be as hostile to gun rights organizations and the Second Amendment as President Obama.


Governor Rick Perry (R-TX)

You gotta love a guy who goes jogging with his dog, packin’ heat, who subsequently dispatches a coyote who was in the wrong place/wrong time, attempting to bisect the guv’s faithful dog. Ruger even came out with a commemorative edition of the lil’ .380 he carried to do the deed. Think Perry supports gun rights? You bet your sweet ass he does. He’s from Texas. You’d expect less? He recently signed into law revisions to conceal carry, allowing citizens protection who want to carry and store firearms in their locked vehicles while parked at work, even when the workplace prohibits guns on site. The only black mark on his record is a failure to sign a gun pledge from one of the gun rights organizations. Frankly, he doesn’t need to. He’s proven with his voting record that he’s a major supporter of gun rights.


Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA)

Romney has been accused in the past of flip-flopping on issues. Health care. Abortion. Taxes. But he’s been fairly consistent on the issue of gun rights. He’s against them. He supported the Clinton “Assault Weapons” Gun ban in 1994, and signed a bill into law in Massachusetts that was called “one of the toughest anti-gun laws in the nation. His membership in the NRA dates from weeks before he filed to run for President in 2008, and despite claims he’s “been a hunter all his life,” he’s been hunting exactly twice. Kinda sounds an awful lot like a doppelgänger for John Kerry. Romney has paid lip service to groups like the NRA, but has missed multiple opportunities to justify his claim to support gun rights. Is his love of guns another conversion of convenience? Hard to say, but his positions on other issues seem to change with the prevailing winds.


Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)

Bachmann has a solid record on support for gun rights. As a Congresswoman, she’s supported the efforts to get a nationwide reciprocity law on the books for concealed carry, and the bill that would prevent the District of Columbia from banning guns within the city. She’s been shooting since she turned 12 years old. Bachmann enjoys a solid record on gun rights, and has the support of the NRA in Congress.


Herman Cain

Former Pizza Chain CEO brings some interesting credentials to the race. One of few blacks prominent in the Republican Party, he’s proven his chops as a successful businessman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He’s also served on the board of the Federal Reserve, so the guy knows something about our monetary system (although I kinda worry, frankly, about the whole Fed thing, as I personally think the Federal Reserve needs some serious oversight.) But how is he on gun rights?

Without a political track record, we have to go on what he’s said, and what’s he’s said is…um…weird. Cain apparently looks at gun rights as a states rights issue, in other words, the right to bear arms should be left to the discretion of the individual states. Wrong. Since he’s not said much else about guns, we’ll have to go with that.


Representative Ron Paul (R-TX)

What can you say about Ron Paul? You either love the guy, hate him, or think he’s a loon. Nobody is neutral on Ron Paul, who, if you were going to describe his character for a Hollywood elevator pitch might go something like “Ted Nugent meets Calvin Coolidge, with a soupçon of  H. Ross Perot thrown in for spice.” If you’re a Conservative, watching Paul go at it on the stump is rather like the experience of watching Linus give his student council president speech during It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Everything seems great – he’s got the issues down, makes sense on spending, the deficit, the economy…and then he opens up his foreign policy notes and starts talking about allowing Iran to have nukes to be ‘fair.’ Um…not so much. Or sentiments that would make Pat Buchanan look like Woodrow Wilson. How is he on gun rights? Actually, pretty solid. He sponsored a bill to prevent the U.S. from ratifying a treaty that would allow the U.N. sovereignty  over our right to own guns.  He’s also tried to protect gun manufacturers from nuisance lawsuits, as well as other pro-gun bills. Just don’t get him started talking about defense.


Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Santorum is a solid Conservative. He also doesn’t have a prayer to win the Presidency, at least this time out. But you can argue that what he’s really doing is an apprenticeship for 2016, or making a run for the Veep gig this time around.  During his time in Congress, he’s been a consistent vote for gun rights, opposing gun bans, magazine bans, and lawsuit abuse against gun manufacturers.


Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Newt. Wow. Never haven’t seen a campaign implode this fast since Fred Thompson’s. The guy’s campaign is on life support, due entirely to self-inflicted wounds. The Newtster has been a recipient of the NRA’s Defender of Freedom Award, and once made the statement that “as long as I’m Speaker, no gun control legislation is going to move in committee or on the floor of this House and there will be no further erosion of their rights.”

That sounds good. But Newt (like Ron Paul) is one of those guys who you think you know, and then they open their mouths and out comes something outta left field with a hockey stick. When he heard that Ronald Reagan was running for President, Jack Warner famously said, “No, no…Jimmy Stewart for President…Ronald Reagan for Best Friend.” I think Newt would make a great Secretary of State or Defense Secretary. His personal negatives and wonkishness don’t really say “Presidential Timber” to me.


Former Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT)

Because the GOP persists in the wrong-headed idea that the Republican Party should be the “Big Tent” guys, who cover a broad spectrum of political thought, Jon Huntsman is running as this years RINO/stalking horse for the “Centrist” Republicans. In other words, the guy’s playing the part of The Only Republican The Left-Leaning Mainstream Media Will Grudgingly Admit is Pretty OK In Their Book.” That is, right up until the time he would get the nomination, in which case he would spontaneously transmogrify into Satan Incarnate. (See Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain, Election of 2008.)

Huntsman’s got virtually NO chance to win the nomination, this time around (Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice…). And in typical RINO fashion, he seems a bit perplixed and pezzled on questions concerning guns. Asked by Hugh Hewit about an assault weapons ban, he replied that he wouldn’t veto it. When asked later to clarify, he claimed he “didn’t understand the question.” Um…not so much. On the other hand, he did sign some pro-gun legislation as governor. Then again, he also served as Obama’s former Ambassador to China.


Then there’s Hamlet’s Father’s Ghost, waiting in the wings:

Former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK)

What to say about Sarah? She can hunt, kill, and field dress a moose. How cool is that? You’d have to go to Texas to find anybody who comes as close as Governor Palin does to being the perfect gun rights candidate. Palin doesn’t just pay lip service to her support for gun rights. The lady shoots. She’s been a life-long member of the NRA, and she doesn’t just talk the talk. She walks the walk, and has been a keynote speaker at the NRA annual convention. Will she run? Could she win? I dunno. But as far as gun rights, goes, as a single issue candidate, she’d be hard to beat.


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  1. For someone who’s a perfect gun candidate, she doesn’t really seem to know jack shit about how to use one.

    • Oh yeah…

      You see this on one of those peoples shows that calls teflon coated bullets armor penetrating, hollow points too?

      There is nothing in this that shows lack of knowing how to shoot a gun, she keeps her eye on the target the whole time.

      • Sorry, are you being sarcastic? I wonder what is on the other side of that ridge that she keeps shooting over? Why is dad working the bolt? Why does she ask her father if the gun kicks–has she never shot the gun she is using to hunt?

  2. While I like a master debater, I am a sucker for the cunning linguist (thanks Austin Powers).

    I am a Ron Paul supporter. All the others are window dressing that lead to more of the same of what we already have.

    The American people really don’t want change. They can’t stomach it; it is too scary. There is comfort in the status quo of bitching and moaning about how bad things are in Washington.

    But to actually put someone in office who will try and change it? Surely you jest.

    • No. I don’t. And stop calling me Shirley.

      I like about 75% of what Paul says. A lot. It’s the other 25% that screams “I believe in the Great Pumpkin,” and that scares the ever-lovin’ crap outta me.

      • Pretty much my views on Paul too. I don’t want Bachman to become president (I don’t really like any of them but if I had to choose would probably go with perry) but if she somehow managed to win the election, watching all my liberal friends heads explode would be pretty funny. “How can you vote for her?! *gasp* she believes in god!”

        • Liberals don’t believe in God?

          Has anyone ever wondered about the coyote story of Perry? When has a coyote attacked a labrador retriever that is out for a run with a person (a non-rabid one, at least). I do not know what happened, but if a buddy of mine told me this story, I’d call BS on him. Sort of convenient that Perry left the animal to become “mulch” instead of having it tested for rabies. Well, at least it was a perfectly placed one shot kill–I mean Texans don’t tell tall tales.

      • While Perry has switched his alliegence from big government Democrat to Second Amendment Republican, I personally prefer a candidate with a longer and far more consistent track record. After all, most politicians will say whatever they think they have to say in order to dupe a guillible electorate into voting for them. (How many people voted for “Hope and Change”?)

        With most of the candidates running, we’ll just get more of the same. And America can’t take that.

        The only candidate with a long and consistent record of unwavering support for the Constitution is Ron Paul. You should take him seriously if for no other reason than the people who most actively DON’T want to see him elected are the same monied elite who gave us Bush II and Obama.

        Of course, Ron Paul has his “faults”. He doesn’t talk in 10-second sound bites, and if you want to understand what he’s talking about, he pretty much requires you to LISTEN and THINK.

        One thing that is undeniable is that he’s been WAY out ahead of EVERY other candidate in foreseeing problems and proposing solutions. When he ran in 2008, he was roundly jeered for his notions that the Wars in Afghanistant and Iraq were bankrupting us, that the National Debt was a SERIOUS problem, that government was too big and too intrusive. He was “un-American” because of his opposition to the Federal “snoop on Americans program” (the “PATRIOT” act).

        People are only just waking up to the sagacity of his analysis and the veracity of his comments. That’s why the entire Republican field has moved his direction. They are ALL just starting to catch up to where Ron Paul was in 2008. But they are copying his long-held positions on a short-term basis because they know their old positions were absurd. Ron Paul has been the teacher. The others have been “schooled”.

        So, all other issues aside, can we afford to elect someone who is 4 years behind the knowledge curve? Or would we be better off with someone who so thoroughly understands the issues, is of such steely constitution, that he was telling the truth about today four years ago – despite the fact that America wasn’t ready to hear it and punished him for his honesty?

        We cannot afford another mistake in the 2012 election.

        We cannot afford to elect a “sound bite” master or a flip-flopping pretender. What we need is someone who thinks deeply and long-term, who has an unblemished record of consistent correctness and integrity, a prescient candidate who knows not only where we are, but where we are going to wind up if we don’t fix things now… and who understands what changes must be made.

        In 2012 we have a choice. Elect Ron Paul or kiss America as we know it, “Good-bye”.

    • I’m right there with you. Ron Paul supporter as well. The guy just makes sense on just about everything he’s asked to comment on. Course, he’s a 2A supporter and not even a gun owner himself. Who can’t like that? And you’re right all the rest are status quo so in the end, I’ll probably sit this one out AGAIN.

      Heck, nobody even asks when were pulling out of Europe, or elsewhere? Cold war is over folks. And the idea of staying in Afghanistan until 2024 is just plain crazy. And NO, 2024 is not an exaggeration as it’s the current plan via a US/Afghan pact recently signed. Y’all are nuts for being so afraid of peace.

      • Brad, you should refer to Ron Paul’s book ‘Liberty Defined’ and read his section on gun rights. Guns on planes? go right ahead. Guns in schools? no problem there. Open Carry or Concealed Carry? whatever makes you happy.

        You misrepresent him by giving him a B because of his stance on warfarism… He is big on national defense but he does not consider ‘preemptive’ and aggressive wars to be national defense. He says bring the troops so they can actually defend the nation. They can’t do us any good when they’re 3000 miles away.

        Ron Paul is an A++ supporter of gun rights and 2A.

  3. Anybody that didn’t know oscuma was anti-gun well before the ’08 election is a fool. We had his congressional record to look back upon, and before that there was his time in office in the socialist republic of Illinois. And although he never seemed to be interested in voting, either being absent, or simply voting present when he did show up. When the issue came to gun grabbing he always made his position known by voting to strip law abiding citizens of their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

  4. Unfortunately or fortunately, Gov Perry understands taking care of the people who elected him. He is back in Texas and will likely skip the debate to be here for Texans during the fires that are ravaging the state.

  5. Rick Perry will skip the deabte because he is a lousy debater. The fires up here in Possum Kingdom were buringin long before those fires in Austin. Perry is just another big money tool.

    • This just in: Perry WILL participate in the debate, finding a way to do his job (Governor) and run for another one, simultaneously.

      In other news, Poppymann is wrong about Perry.

      • Actually, Brad, you’re premature. Let’s analyse poppymann’s post, shall we?

        Rick Perry will skip the deabte because he is a lousy debater.
        > It now appears Perry will not skip the debate. Remains to be seen if he’s a lousy debater. Question is, what about Perry was so essential to fighting fires that he couldn’t take a day out for the debate in the first place? Suspect poppymann may be correct about motivation: Perry isn’t eager to risk his lead with a debate debacle.

        >The fires up here in Possum Kingdom were buringin long before those fires in Austin.
        I take it you’re not challenging this statement? Score one for poppymann.

        >Perry is just another big money tool.
        I suspect this is also true of Perry… but perhaps a look at his campaign contribution sources will confirm it. My bet is that the money is in big chunks – not masses of small donations as is the case with a true candidate of the People. Speaking of which, who gets those kinds of contributions anyway?

        Oh yeah. Ron Paul.

        So the score is poppymann 1, Kozak 0 with two points to be determined.

  6. I’m torn on a lot of these candidates. Most of the 2nd amendment supporters are against other rights that I support such as gay marriage, abortion, and separation of church and state. Ron Paul is probably the closest to being pro-everything, but even then he is not perfect. Why can’t we live in a country where everybody just minds their own business and stops taking away freedoms from everyone else?

  7. I’ve been hoping that Perry would enter the race for a long time, and I hope he wins. He’s to smart for these fools and now he can just sit back and watch them all tear each other apart.

  8. I know that saying anything even neutral about Obama in this forum will end up being about as wise as jumping into the shark pool with a nose bleed, but here goes: you gave the man an F (which doubtless felt good, the way teachers grin and feel all warm inside when they are able to take red pens to the papers of their least favorite students), but what are you going to give him when he actually DOES something against gun rights – a G? To the best of my knowledge, the man has not actually proposed a single piece of major anti-gun legislation. He may WANT to (he IS from Chicago, I grant you), but he has not done it, and since he already owns the left-wing of his party, I don’t think he feels the need to throw them an anti-gun bone (at the expense of the independents that his party needs to win).

    As far as the rest of the field is concerned… meh. I don’t think the eventual GOP nominee is in this crowd. I’m astonished, frankly, that in the middle of these hard times the GOP cannot do better than this. As far as Perry is concerned, all the Dems have to do is play a few clips from “The Response” rally he attended last month, and he’ll be toast. And anyone who declares an official state-wide, three-day “Official Prayer for Rain in Texas” gives me pause.

    Is there no one ready or able to inhabit the sane middle of our political spectrum?

    • In the primary, a mugwump is the LAST thing you want. That’s what we had last time – a choice between Obama (Progressive/Socialist) and McCain (Progressive Lite). There were few differences between the stances of the candidates – McCain planned to take us down the same road, but a little slower.

      What we need is a candidate that can clearly enunciate the differences in Conservatism, and present a compelling case to veer away from the descent into Social Democracy, courtesy of Obama. Frankly, I’d love to see someone challenge Obama for the Dem nomination, but anybody who’d do that would be to the LEFT of him, and there’s not much room left there.

      I see your point about what Obama has proposed, legislation-wise, but look at what he’s done using the EPA, the FDA, Wildlife and Fisheries, and the DoJ as clubs to get his way, even when his Democrat-controlled Congress wouldn’t go along. He’s proven to be more than willing to shred the Constitution and take power by executive fiat. And if you think he would stop at what he’s already done in a second term, you’re deluding yourself.

      There. Now that wasn’t so bad a flame, was it?

      • You may not want a mugwump in the primary, but all primaries must end, and all candidates must decide whether to lead with their mug or their wump, regardless of what they might have promised during the primary months. You say, “What we need is a candidate that can clearly enunciate the differences in Conservatism, and present a compelling case to veer away from the descent into Social Democracy, courtesy of Obama.” Fine. But, why must that candidate be a toy of the far-right? In the last election cycle, all of the major Republicans stated in a televised debate that they did not believe in evolution. The POPE believes in evolution. Good Lord (no pun intended). So, in order to preserve my second amendment freedoms, I have to elect someone breathing through his mouth?

        I appreciate the historical appropriateness of electing a president with roots in Africa – it’s about damned time this country took that step, and I do not regret it. There are damned few things that Obama has done that Bush either had not done or would not have done. But, I do worry that President Obama – re-elected, and not worrying about a third term – might try to push anti-second-amendment legislation through.

        I just want to vote for someone who does not make me cringe in embarrassment – on either end of the spectrum.

        And yes, you’re right, your reply was NOT so bad a flame.

    • Why give Barry a second term of 4 years to show how he feels about firearms? With no worries about re-election his would be a liberal presidential dream. All the hard core lefties are moaning about how he hasn’t met expectations without seeing the big picture. It takes time to circumvent the 2nd and tell 75 million people they need to call 911 instead.

      Barry’s record on gun votes is also purposefully empty, so just because he never took a professional stand either way doesn’t mean he’s an NRA life member. Anyone with his background drinks the disarmament kool-aid as well or they don’t get into the tree house.

      I don’t care if the other side runs a ham sandwich for president, as long as the sandwich knows what the Constitution says.

    • Actually Obama HAS signed a law regarding gun rights. He signed the law that allows people to carry guns in national parks. It was in the credit card bill. When asked about it, his press secretary basically said “MEH.”

      But he’s a Democrat, so he gets an F.

      • Got to love the Demodumbs having to deal with a poison pill bill like that. Review what that law was attached too and get back to us on how Obama had no choice but to sign that into law to get what he wanted, LOL.

      • It’s a far cry from allowing people to defend themselves in the wild against 4 legged animals and allowing the same against 2 legged varieties. Recent animal attacks only affirmed how necessary it is to be armed when alone in the National Parks.

        The real test comes when he faces a bill that addresses the rights of people in cities and towns to defend themselves, even during hurricanes and states of emergency, without jumping though hoops. I predict he will go the other way and expect us to call 911.

    • One of Obamas SCOTUS appointees ruled against our 2A rights along with the rest of the lefties in the SCOTUS. His other appointee is a known gun hater as well. What was that you were saying about “neutral”?

    • I take it you don’t know a damned thing about “Project Gunwalker” (see also, “Fast and Furious”, “Project Gunrunner”, “Operation Castaway”, “Project Grenadewalker”)?

      Obama knows that he can’t do anything openly anti-gun in his first term. But smuggling a couple thousand guns to Mexican Drug Cartels resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and at least two Americans is just fine – especially when he doesn’t think it can be traced back to him.

      Want to see a real push for gun control? Re-elect O-Bomb-Ya!

  9. I disagree with your rankings. So here are mine. I think we should look at what positive impact a candidates had on self-defense rights based on their opportunity to do something meaningful.

    Romney = F- ….. He signed the law to make Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban permanent and during the signing ceremony he criticized gun owners and GOAL. That should be unforgivable.

    Obama = F …. we know he and the ATF have been trying to steal our 2nd Amendment rights by blaming us for the end result of Fast/Furious. But, unlike Romney he repealed a gun ban (national park carry).

    Perry = C- …. we know he like to carry and that is good but he has failed to make Texas more carry friendly in 9 years. In 9 years what meaningful gun legislation has been enacted? Parking lots? That’s it. What about open carry, what about the criminalization of printing, what about off -limits locations. His record is very status quo in a state where alot of change is necessary.

    Huntsman = C- …. He’s the same as Perry. Utah’s gun laws are far from perfect. They tax self defense with requirements for training, have many off limits locations. During his time as governor, no pro-gun legislation was enacted. He did sign a bill that allows students to request roommates who don’t have a concealed-carry permit. To me that law leans anti-gun but its not very onerous or odorous (see Romney’s betrayal above).

    Palin = A+ …. we know she likes guns and she has attended open carry events. Alaska’s gun laws are just about perfect and there isn’t much she could do to improve them, other than to subsidize ammo.

    Bachman, Santorium, Paul = B … As a congressman, there is only so much you can do to impact gun rights. They all have voted correctly. Paul has introduced several pro-gun pro-Constitution bills but they haven’t gone anywhere.

    Gingrich = C …. He used to be my Representative and I have had conversations about gun rights with him. I was not impressed. He’s against machine guns and carrying guns in public. His stance is very closely aligned with Bush 1.

    Cain = ?? ….. I could swear he was pro-gun. Really Pro-Gun. I need to followup with more detail about his position. I volunteered on his Senate campaign and I pretty sure that he is a “shall not be infringed” candidate. At least that is how he campaigned.

    • When you get that research, PLEASE feel free to either post it here, or write a story and we’ll post that. I don’t pretend to be omniscient on the candidates, and there’s only so much you can learn through a campaign’s Reality Distortion Field, coupled with the mainstream media’s natural tendencies to distort the GOP field.

      Oh, and you make a compelling case for some of those rankings.

    • You seem to discount Paul because he hasn’t been “successful” in passing his legislation.

      I submit that this is the wrong standard. The people who should be severely hammered for their failures are those who are fully empowered to take positive action and don’t.

      Ron Paul is so solidly Pro-Second Amendment you don’t have enough room for all the “pluses” that would follow his “A+++”. But because others have prevented his efforts from going forward, you downgrade him to a ‘B’? Where is the logic in that?

      I recognize this is a “guns” forum. But if you’re talking about the Second Amendment, you’re talking about one part of the whole, and I don’t think it’s out of place to point out that a candidate’s disregard for one part of the Bill of Rights is likely to carry over to other parts… after the election.

      There is no “National Don’t Search Me Illegally Association”, so politicians don’t have to pander to Fourth Amendment issues to the extent that the NRA forces Second Amendment consideration. But will anyone here argue that someone who wants to empower searches and seizures without probable cause will steadfastly protect your right to own firearms? Before you answer, recall that the Founder’s intent in the Second Amendment was to ensure you have the means to KILL tyrants who violate your rights. So it makes sense to measure the extent to which a candidate will protect ALL of your rights.

      To figure out which candidates are just posturing for elections and which ones mean what they say, shouldn’t we look at where these people come from?

      Bachmann – former IRS collection attorney. Currently: Supporter of “PATRIOT” act Fourth Amendment infringements.
      Perry – former campaign manager for Al “turn in your guns now” Gore
      Romeny – who knows what Romeny was besides Romneycare czar. He changes position faster than a weather vane.
      Cain – Pizza Maker and President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank (who sees “no reason” to audit the Fed)
      Ron Paul – 30 years ago, defender of the Constitution. 20 years ago? Same. 10 years ago? Same. Four years ago? The same. Today? The guy all the OTHER candidates are trying to copy! Also, the guy who forced a partial audit of the Fed and found $16 trillion sloshing around that we didn’t know about before.
      Gary Johnson – hasn’t got a chance in hell, but did a credible job of pulling his state out of a financial hole and defending freedom.
      Anyone else who matters?
      I don’t think so.

      When it comes to the Bill of Rights, gun owners need to understand that checking off the “I love guns” box is practically a requirement for Republican candidacy and that even flip-flopping shills like Bachmann, Romney and Perry will do it – though they may not really give a damn about ANY of your rights and their support of the Second Amendment may only last until the day after the election.

      That’s why I think a person’s WHOLE record should be considered, not just the election season rhetoric of wannabees who will say ANYTHING to get elected.

      When you do that, there’s no question. Ron Paul is the only rational choice.

  10. WoW. Paul gets a B? A man who is on record as saying NFA 34 and GCA should be repealed. A man who has introduced legislation getting rid of NICS. Who says the ATF should be abolished?”Pretty solid”? If you understood Paul’s libertarianism, you’d see that Paul believes in 0 gun control, even if he talks about the federal reserve (which you probably find boring) more.

    I know it’s fun to be afraid of brown people, but for the love of God, please educate yourself. It is “your” government that you should fear. Not the brown people.

  11. Gary Johnson. I know everybody’s busy ignoring him, not sure why, but he’s a far more interesting candidate than anybody but Paul. Maybe if the GOP would quit pandering to the radical right we’d have a chance of making some real changes in government…


  12. Paul gets a B in my book because he counters the positives on the gun rights with a Looney Party take on defense. The idea that we should simply pack up our tents and come home, waiting for our enemies to attack us on our home turf is insane. And incredibly bad tactics. I don’t think we should engage in nation-building nor adventurism, but taking the fight to the bad guys is never a bad idea.

    • Brad, the problem is that people 8,000 miles away aren’t depriving me of my life, liberty, or property and “my” government is. If we accept the official 9/11 narrative, dying in a terrorist attack carried out by people in sandland is almost zero. I’d rather keep my money, preserve its puchasing power, and buy raw milk at the grocery store.

      • “the problem is that people 8,000 miles away aren’t depriving me of my life, liberty, or property and “my” government is”
        –Doubleplus good–

    • Because people who live in mud huts without running water are really a threat thousands of miles away. Yeah, never bought that propaganda back in the beginning. Still don’t.

      And there’s nothing loony about his view on defense. Staying at war indefinitely is loony. Staying spread out around the world is loony. The only thing loony here is how the GOP now defines national defense. IKE were he still alive would be slapping some folks back into reality on that one.

    • What do decades-long wars on the other side of the world have to do with gun rights in America? Not a whole lot, that’s what.

      Preemptive attacks would be offense, not defense. Ron Paul is big on defense. If people want to talk about international conflicts and Ron Paul, how about talking about Ron Paul might be the only guy who would secure America’s borders. Using “war” criteria, every candidate who wouldn’t seriously secure the borders should get a big fat F.

      From one of the best Ron Paul videos out there – “Stop Dreaming.”
      “Needless war… war that is undeclared… Here we are going to war, ever since WW2 we’ve never declared war, we’ve never won a war… there’s nothing conservative about that.”

      edit: I had the link set to start at 4:10. I didn’t know the site would embed the vid. Oh well, Enjoy!

    • Paul gets a B in my book because he counters the positives on the gun rights with a Looney Party take on defense.

      We’re currently blowing over $1 trillion a year on over 800 bases and 5 different wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Pakistan). As Ron Paul pointed out again yesterday, before we went into Iraq in 2003, there were 3 suicide terrorist attacks per year. By 2007, there were 700 per year. Motivating a 23,000% increase in attacks on us at a cost of $2,700,000,000 per DAY and over 4400 dead and 100,000 wounded troops doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me. How about you?

      The idea that we should simply pack up our tents and come home, waiting for our enemies to attack us on our home turf is insane. And incredibly bad tactics. I don’t think we should engage in nation-building nor adventurism, but taking the fight to the bad guys is never a bad idea.

      Indeed. I haven’t heard anyone propose that.

      What Paul has said is recall the troops and use them here to defend America.

      You know, if I were a tactician for Al Queda, and I wanted to tie America’s guts in a knot, I’d smuggle 30 well-trained suicide attackers across the Mexican border with AK-47s and 2000 rounds of ammo each. I’d have them travel to different locations throughout the US in 3 man teams. And on an appointed day, at a predetermined hour, I’d have those 3 man teams go into a school and shoot everyone they could in a period of 15 minutes. At the end of that time, the killers would head off to another school and repeat the attack, and 15 minutes later, a third school for a third attack. Based on the casualty numbers of Cho’s attack at Virginia Tech, and the increased lethality and accuracy of a rifle over a hand gun, I would expect the ten teams to kill between 6000 and 9000 children. If you doubt the numbers, run them yourself.

      What aspect of our current National Defense policy accounts for that sort of attack? How do soldiers running around in Afghanistan defend against that sort of massacre?

      The soldiers who should be interdicting invaders at the border are instead securing Iraqi borders!

      Imagine the impact on our society of such an attack. Parents would be terrified to let their children out of their sight. The public school system would be done. There would be a huge cry to ban guns. And “security” insanity would run rampant. The pucker factor would be overwhelming and the same morons who say, “We have to kill them over there so they can’t get over here” would be screaming for a full-blown police state complete with identity documents, secret police, checkpoints on every corner. A national “emergency” put Hitler into power. It would be no different here. It would be the end of America.

      But our military is “making us safe” by bombing Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Pakistan. How, exactly, does that work? How does it prevent the scenario I’ve just outlined?

      As for killing the “bad guys” – we’ve done a lot of that. But we’ve killed far, far, far more innocent civilians than we have bad guys. And every time we kill an innocent in a foreign country, we create a whole new family who wants to see America die. The most powerful recruiting tool for Al Queda is the US Military.

      Do you blame them for hating us?

      What if the Chinese were to invade America, bomb us for 10 years, kill YOUR family? How much love would you have for the Chinese? And wouldn’t your every waking moment be filled with plans for revenge? And when the families of the 100,000+ innocents we’ve killed get to that point, where all the population wants to do is kill Americans, what choice do you really have but to kill them all? Is your ultimate plan genocide? Do you plan to murder every person in that region of the world? Or have you just not gotten around to thinking that far ahead?

      Let’s be clear how we were attacked on 9/11. The FBI screwed up, preferring political correctness over reasonable actions. The FAA ignored warnings of people who wanted to “fly” airplanes, but not take off or land. According to WND, the FAA reversed a 40-year-old rule that had permitted pilots to carry guns in the cockpit just TWO MONTHS before the attack. And the advice of the Federal Government in the event of hijacking attempts was to “cooperate”.

      Look at that. At every point, a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILURE permitted furtherance of the terrorist attack. Do you remember the statement by a government talking head after the attack that, “no one could have foreseen the attack”? I do. I thought it particularly vapid given that best-selling author Tom Clancy had published in 1994 and 1996, not one, but TWO best-selling novels that made mention of a 747 loaded with fuel crashing into the US Capitol. Such is the level of awareness of the Federal government.

      To correct what may be a mistaken impression on your part – Ron Paul voted in favor of tracking down the people who carried out the 9/11 attacks. But he voted against the war with Iraq. Why was it we went into Iraq again? Weapons of mass distraction? Oh, that’s right: Al Queda was there! Except they weren’t. So Ron Paul was right again. No weapons and no Al Queda. Meanwhile, the cretins running our foreign policy managed to kill 100,000+ Iraqi civilians. 100,000+. That’s a pretty high price to pay for American paranoia. And let’s be clear about that: It’s paranoia (and greed) that drives our foreign policy.

      You know something else we should do as we reach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks? We should put the attacks in perspective. About 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks. In the same year, 43,788 people died in traffic accidents. So more people died in a single average month in 2001 from accidental car wrecks than died from the 9/11 attacks. How would you respond if someone were to propose we should kill 100,000 innocent people and blow more than $1 trillion per year for a decade in response to the number of people killed in traffic accidents in a single month? How about proposing to kill every person who works at Ford, GM and Chrysler?

      Pretty stupid, huh? But it makes as much sense as going into Iraq. Or staying there.

      So what would happen if we followed Ron Paul’s advice? Brought the troops home?

      Well, for starters, we wouldn’t be renting 800 bases in foreign countries. All the military paychecks currently spent in those foreign countries would be spent here in the US instead… a nice economic boost in addition to the $1+ trillion we’d save on not being the “world’s policeman”. We could deploy our military to defend our borders. Oh wait. Iraq might launch one of their ICBMs with a nuclear warhead and wipe us all out. Except they don’t have ICBMs and they don’t have nuclear weapons. And Israel has enough nukes to light up the entire middle east.

      See, if the neocon military mindset made any sense at all, we wouldn’t be attacking countries that can’t hurt us. We’d be going after North Korea – a country that is actively developing both nuclear weapons and ICBM delivery systems. But there’s no oil in North Korea.

      So if it’s not all about National Security – making us safe from people who might hurt us – what’s it all about?


      Do you know how much all the companies who provide support services for our troops make? Blackwater? KBR? Do you know the cost of a single rocket launcher or bomb? This is Keynesian economics at its best. As long as you’re making something, and someone is buying it, things are rosy – even if the item is immediately destroyed and the entity doing the buying is the government. The faster we pour our resources into the trash can, the better. First, make a bomb and an airplane. Then burn a bunch of fuel to get the bomb to where we can destroy a bridge. Then send in contractors funded with our tax dollars to REBUILD the bridge we just destroyed. And maybe if the taxpayers haven’t yet figured out what’s going on, we can bomb the bridge again! Yeah. THAT helps the US economy because of all the tax dollars that go to military contractors.

      Certain people profit, and they’ve got you suckered – thinking that bombing and rebuilding that bridge is going to make you “safer”.

      Myself? I think we’re better off with an extra $1+ trillion a year saved and secure borders, not sending soldiers into a meat grinder, creating enormous medical costs for the care of hundreds of thousands of G.I.s maimed in combat, not killing people and pissing off their relatives and provoking them to try to kill America. But that’s just me. And Ron Paul. Because we’re “looney”.

    • OK, first off, what he says about national defense issues has NOTHING to do with his position on gun rights – that’s 100% you adding some BS to discourage people from supporting a politician you don’t like by lying about an important issue (gun rights).

      Now, as to his “loony” ideas? Almost every war we’ve fought in the last 100 years was NOT a matter of self defense nor did it have anything to do with “our freedoms”. Fighting that Japanese in WWII in retaliation for Pearl Harbor was justified (however, WWII never would’ve happened if we hadn’t stuck our nose where it didn’t belong and gotten involved in WWI). As well, going after Al-Qaeda was justified and we’ve mostly wiped out the people who were in it at the time of 9/11. However, we CANNOT win a war against that sort of organization (without resorting to just burning the whole country to the ground). The Soviet Union failed to win the same war we’re fighting now and they had a lot fewer rules of engagement tying their hands.

      Our military, like our police, is to respond to threats – not to run around beating anyone and everyone they feel like just because maybe they might do something at some point. So what if Kreblakistan says they hate the US? Unless they attack or declare war, we have no reason to waste hundreds of billions of dollars attacking them (not to mention all the innocent people who are raped and / or murdered in the process).

      You clearly want an American Empire to rule the world with an iron fist – and that’s not what our Constitution says our military is for, nor is it what it should be used for. All people with your mindset have brought the US is massive deficits and a lot of dead bodies.

  13. I thought this was a gun forum…so far I have seen people referencing abortion, gay marriage, evolution vs. creation, separation of church and state, welfare, foreign policy, etc. While those are all hot topics, and I love to debate with the best of them, I ‘d rather see a focus on just gun rights. Also, to call anyone stupid because their beliefs is the most ignorant statement of all. Why? You don’t know why they believe what they believe. They might have a very good reason for it. How about a little Separation of Guns and Politics.

    • How about a little Separation of Guns and Politics.

      This isn’t Guns & Ammo. This is The Truth About Guns, and the truth is that it’s all politics. Unfortunately. And if people like us weren’t fighting the political fight, there wouldn’t be a gun left in America.

      • I agree that everything is political. However, if I wanted to debate or discuss the legitimacy of someone’s candidacy based on their stance on evolution, I wouldn’t be here right now. I am all for the political discussion of guns, but can we keep it to just guns here, please? Just because someone does or doesn’t support gay marriage doesn’t mean they are bad for the 2nd Amendment.

    • I enjoy the occasional forays into politics, religion, etc here at TTAG. The discussions are evenhanded and usually fun. And relevant.

      Firearms ownership has a huge moral and political dimension that should be carefully thought out and discussed.

    • The main reason I come here is the mix of guns and politics. Writing about the ATF and Fast and Furious and what candidates are actually pro-gun etc is serious and important gun stuff.

  14. Brad, I think that MikeSilver’s analysis is more cogent than yours. Romney did more to undermine gun rights in Massachusetts than Obama has done in Washington. They both get an F minus. If the choice next year in November is between The Great RINO and The Great Masterbater (you know, the guy who’s been jerking us off for the last three years), I’ll be voting with my feet. Fortunately, I don’t think that Romney can buy the nomination no matter how much money that phoney POS dumps into his campaign.

    The amount of credence Americans put on debate performance is absurd. There isn’t a top trial lawyer in America who couldn’t wipe the floor with any of these bozos in a debate, but that doesn’t mean I’d vote for any of them for President of anything except the American Trial Lawyers Association. Political debate is nothing more than the art of lying. Which, come to think of it, is the only thing that most politicians do.

    • As I replied to Mike Silver’s post, I think he makes some compelling arguments for his rankings. My criteria were different than his. Had I looked at things from the way he weighed everything, I think my conclusions would have been similar to his – except on his worst day, I’d still vote for Romney over Obama. Romney may go whichever way the political winds blow, but he’s not the kind of ideologue that Obama is, nor do I believe he would dogmatically take us down the road to Perdition, never re-examining his own beliefs they way Obama has done.

      I look on debates as something more than a beauty contest (or lying contest). Occasionally, the truth comes through, when some reporter or candidate takes another one by surprise. It’s like my dad used to say about recitals, “I’m not interested in seeing a perfect performance. I wanna see what they do after they screw up, and see if they can recover, and how they recover.” THAT is the mark of someone that can think on their feet. And that’s a quality I think we need in the White House.

  15. “Without a political track record, we have to go on what he’s said, and what’s he’s said is…um…weird. Cain apparently looks at gun rights as a states rights issue, in other words, the right to bear arms should be left to the discretion of the individual states.”

    I do not support Cain, nor would I vote for him, however he is essentially correct in this, and you are wrong. From a strict constitutionalist perspective, the Bill of Rights was originally meant as a tool against intrusion of the central government upon the States. It was only later, as a result of the incorporation doctrine, that it was ever thought to be an imposition on State legislatures. A strict constitutionalist would know this, and Cain appears to be in line with the Founders in this regard.

    • So, then, way back when, it was okay for States to limit speech? 4 Amendment protections were discretionary?

      Or perhaps the incorporation doctrine came about because States tried to pick and choose which Constitutional protections were allowed.

      • Blake, do not underestimate the Founders. They were more subtle than you’re giving them credit for. After fighting the revolution they (or at least some of them—the Jeffersonians as opposed to the Hamiltonians) understood that it was much easier to control local government councils than a central authority. Therefore, the Bill of Rights was meant solely to apply to the Federal government. That is why, for instance, you read “Congress” shall make no law” in the First Amendment. The states were free to enact whatever limits they thought fit.

        The problem with incorporation is that it creates a system where power flows from the center to the periphery. The Founders had the opposite idea, where power was retained by the people. It was only in the post Civil War amendments that the shift to the center began. But it is even worse, since now, with incorporation, decisions are made by unelected judges.

    • Actually, the Bill of Rights was something of an afterthought, crafted by Madison, in order to get a majority of the states to sign off on the new Constitution. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists were going at it, tooth and nail, and Madison realized that the new Constitution was going down in flames. The big sticking point of those who didn’t like the Constitution was that it didn’t have (among other things) a Bill of Rights. Madison was on record as saying it wasn’t necessary, as (essentially) “who in the Hell is gonna try to take away these rights we just fought so hard to get.” The guy was many things. Prescient wasn’t one of them, at least in this instance. So he agreed to write if the the remaining holdouts would fold. They did. So he kept his word and proposed 12 amendments to the new Constitution. Two failed. The rest became our Bill of Rights. It was those who wanted to preserve states rights in the face of a much more powerful Federal government (than had existed under the Articles of Confederation) that worried many. The Bill of Rights accomplished two things – set limits on the Federal government, and established the concept that the Federal government had ONLY the powers specifically granted them. All other powers were retained by the people or the “several states.” The state legislatures already each had their own Constitutions, several of which (notably Virginia’s and Massachusetts’) were used as blueprints for the Federal document. Those protections were already there at the state level, so your point about the incorporation doctrine is an interesting interpretation, but I don’t think it holds water, historically speaking. If you look at “strict Constitutionalists” like Clarence Thomas, they invariably look at historical context, to assist them in divining what the Founders intended.

  16. Perry is just a neocon shill in the vein of Pearle, Faith, Kristol, Rumsfeld and other kosher chickenhawks.

    Ron Paul embodies freedom and peace.

  17. I’m honestly a bit tired of guns being the sole domain of the right side of the political spectrum.

    Obama may not be an ardent gun lover, but as president, he has done less against the 2nd A. than any democrat since Teddy. He does seem to be a support of a nanny state future, so I’m not a huge fan of that, but at the time, he was the best available choice.

    Perry has been a shitty governor, I don’t imagine he’d make much better of a president. His heart is in the right place in some areas, but between the ‘good ‘ol boy’ cronyism and everything else, you may regret getting what you wish for.

    Ron Paul is the sanest man out there, but completely unelectable, sadly.

    The rest of ’em don’t have what it takes to be president, unless they too end up in a ‘the least worst choice’ situation ala Obama.

    But seriously, I hate to tell you this, I really do, but just because you fall to the right of the political spectrum and happen to love guns – that doesn’t mean just because I love guns, I fall to the right as well.

    We really need an apolitical approach to guns, because in the end, we’re all Americans and when it comes to something as important as the right to bear arms, we shouldn’t be divided against each other by politics.

    Sure, gun control is a standard politically left plank right now, but it doesn’t have to be.

    We elect, we elect and we elect again, but little changes it seems, no matter which party is in power.

    • Who made it an issue?Liberals-and they’ve lost a lot of votes over it.Deservedly so-it starts with guns and devolves into a sewer like San Francisco where the city government seems to follow residents into the bathroom in pursuit of the ultimate nanny state.
      I don’t hate government,but neither do I want it determining every detail of how I live,and the liberals have chosen that route.

    • The entire “left-right” model is pretty outdated.
      I think a more accurate model would be “The government versus the People”.

  18. Obama appointed Holder,who,upon being confirmed said(paraphrasing from memory)that he just wanted to tidy up a few details on gun rights,like reintroducing the assault weapons ban-a just a small thing as he characterized it-so we can tell Obama’s attitude by who he appoints-and Kagan?A miserable gun hating b**ch from the NYC Upper Wset Side brunch crowd who only believe in guns when their Hollywood friends profit from mindlessly violent films and TV.
    Sotomayor is no better.

  19. Republicans-don’t trust Romney on gun rights,period-a born elitist.
    Perry is OK and the others haven’t got a snowball’s chance in Hell.
    Ron Paul’s ideas would make a lot of sense if this were 1966 or so.But it isn’t.
    We’re in the worldwide shitstorm up to our ears.
    Retaining the House and captruing the Senate are actually more important than the Presidency-Obama would be a four year lame duck.
    Don’t get me wrong-Obama needs to go,but it will take a really strong candidate to go up against the mainstream media and a billion dollar war chest.
    I hope Obama smokes more cigarettes .

    • No, the worldwide shitstorm ended when the Berlin Wall came down. Our enemies these days are weak compared to who we used to face off with, the commies who could end the world with the press of a button. But the ignorant cave dwellers get one lucky shot in and suddenly we’re cowering and allowing airport rent-a-cops to molest our children. Somehow, having a bunch of hateful weaklings who may kill a handful of us if they get lucky again gets people more fearful than living under the constant shadow of nuclear annihilation did.

  20. While he may earn an A+ on gun rights, Rick Perry also earns an A+ in corruption and, for somebody who claims to be against government interference in private citizen’s lives, he sure does like to, uh, interfere a lot. Take the HPV vaccine that he attempted to force young women to receive. He himself stood to gain financially. Take the Trans-Texas Corridor project. Perry also stood to profit personally from a project that would pump Texan money into other economies. Say what you want about his views on guns, (which I tend to agree with, guns are integral to American life); but I absolutely despise almost every other stated position Perry has taken in his role as governor of Texas. The thought of that man as President scares the crap out of me, honestly.

    • +1
      Perry is a corrupt Bush holdover.
      People seem to have forgotten the HPV vaccine fiasco he tried to run down everyone’s throat that would have costed parents over $400 per child to vaccinate their girls for school, with no state aid or insurance help. And then he has the balls to rail against Obama Care as if what he was trying to do wasn’t just as bad.
      Then there is the whole Trans-Texas Corridor project, the fact that he allowed Texas to loose land to Mexico, has possibly the worst track record of any Texas governor on Education. Lied about Texas being 23 Billion in the hole. But yes he has a firm stance on 2a so we should elect him.

  21. Well, my only real gripe with the list is the “TTAG Grade.” Brad is obviously speaking for himself here – and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I agree with many of his opinions (particularly those regarding Ron Paul.) But it’s a bit presumptive for Mr. Kozak to presume he speaks for TTAG since TTAG is a collection of very eclectic and diverse opinions (the comments to this thread are proof of that.)

    As for the candidates, you can nitpick any candidate to death and you can bet that the media and the various interest groups (all of whom have an agenda to push) will do just that. But ultimately, the world is run by those who show up, both as candidates and at the voting booth. Lamenting that there’s no perfect candidate is an exercise for losers, and those who “sit this one out” are not protesting the status quo, they’re supporting it. They’re essentially saying “I’m okay with whoever you all elect.”

  22. I think it’s silly to select a President based on his views on gun control. I can’t imagine it making my Top 40 in evaluation criteria. Jeez, people. You may have noticed that our country is facing a number of real problems. You may as well base your vote on whether the candidate is a dog person or a cat person. It makes about as much sense.

    • Fortunately, it probably will not come down to just 2A issues. However – if all else is equal, the gun-thing is pretty important. If a man (or woman) does not trust you enough to allow you to have guns, they should not be trusted with your vote (and by extension) your freedoms – history is wrought with it starting with disarmament, only to lead to control. So, yes – it is a pretty big-flipping deal to me.

    • Magoo – you would. Actually, what I mean is that you wouldn’t consider a candidate’s position on the 2nd at all. I would. Now we would agree that there’s much more to picking a candidate than some single issue, even one as near and dear to my heart as gun rights. However, I’d argue that support for the 2nd Amendment show an awful lot about a candidate’s character, his or her support for the Constitution, and their understanding of Constitutional law. Let me put it another way, given the choice between two hypothetically equally-qualified candidates, I’d chose the one with the better record on 2nd Amendment issues. Reverse the situation, and I might have to hold my nose to vote, as I did in the last election.

    • Funny how if those same politicians actually upheld the constitution, many of those nagging problems would not exist.

      Funny how if the second amendment ceases to be upheld, Magoo and the few like him will be shutup at the governments discretion as well and their irrelevant opinions will become even more irrelevant!

  23. “Given rudimentary knowledge of the ideas, ideals, principles, standards and values embodied within the most evolved system of government ever devised as that of the American Constitutional Republic form; and
    recognizing the Republic as envisioned by those who conceived, fashioned and implemented it has been so insidiously and thoroughly corrupted as to most likely be unsalvageable without major organizational and structural changes; and
    in recognizing the profound examples of Duty, Integrity, Honor and Courage displayed by members of every branch of the United States Military—at this juncture in our Nation’s History, my vote is for a complete Military overthrow of the entire Federal Government.”

    “Evil is an absence of Conscience, Hell a place devoid of all Reason.”

    • …recognizing the profound examples of Duty, Integrity, Honor and Courage displayed by members of every branch of the United States Military—at this juncture in our Nation’s History, my vote is for a complete Military overthrow of the entire Federal Government.”

      Not sure I’d be up for a Nation-wide Abu Graib or 100,000 more dead civilians or martial law.

      That is what you meant by “Duty, Integrity, Honor and Courage”, isn’t it?

  24. I think it should also be mentioned that Ron Paul has a bit more 2A street cred than this article gives him credit for:

    * Introducing legislation to repeal the “Brady Bill” and the “Assault Weapons Ban.”
    *Writing a bill that would allow pilots and specially trained law enforcement personnel to carry firearms in order to protect airline passengers .
    *Voted against every gun law that has come up for vote while in office.
    *Co-sponsored legislation to restore second amendment rights to D.C.

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