Today I move up to my issue ranked number 11, Second Amendment rights. It’s a topic I happened to write about right after the Virginia Tech shootings. And I get the feeling that this issue will begin to separate the men from the boys; or more properly the GOP from the gun-grabbing Democrats. Unlike my last effort discussing property rights, almost every candidate has a stance on the Second Amendment.
Once again, if I have a link I’ll simply use it, if the stance is part of a general issues page I’ll quote. This is also a handy method to tell which candidates spend more in-depth time discussing particular issues and which ones seem to wish their site be a contribution inlet. I’ll start with the GOP side and work my way through the Democrats. Since this issue is slightly more important, I bump the point totals up from 5 to 7.
Gun Rights/Second Amendment
At the heart of the Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment. This Amendment guarantees an individual the right to keep and bear arms, which is essential, as the Amendment itself affirms, to “the security of a free state.” Restrictive gun control laws aimed at weakening this constitutional right are not the answer. Instead, it is important for the government to enforce criminal gun laws already on the books, for communities to stand against gun violence, and for parents to teach children about gun safety.
Also, according to a press release on his site, “Brownback is proud of his 13-year track record of supporting the right to bear arms and his lifetime ‘A’ rating from the NRA.
In addition, I have a video link from the Brownback blog that discusses the Second Amendment.
Rudy Giuliani is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. When he was Mayor of a city suffering an average of almost 2000 murders a year, he protected people by getting illegal handguns out of the hands of criminals. As a result, shootings fell by 72% and the murder rate was cut by two-thirds. But Rudy understands that what works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Mississippi or Montana.
Plus I found a video where Rudy discusses the Second Amendment, focusing on the DC gun ruling.
Mike Huckabee places his views here on its own web page.
It seems every election year, some liberal politician dons an NRA cap and grabs a shotgun for a hunting photo-op, as if that means they support our right as Americans to keep and bear arms. I, myself, thoroughly enjoy hunting, having just recently spent a great weekend hunting elk in Arizona. But, the second amendment is not about hunting. It is about the right of you and me to be secure in our homes. We must vigorously defend against all attempts to chip away at the Second Amendment. You know as well as I do that there is one thing criminals prefer over any other: unarmed victims.
John McCain notes his Second Amendment views here.
I fully and completely support the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The failure of the ACLU to defend this right, and of federal courts to make the second amendment binding on the states, as they have made the first amendment and most others, testifies to their intellectual hypocrisy.
On his blog site, Fred Thompson outlines how he sees gun rights.
Governor Thompson is a gun owner who signed legislation that banned Wisconsin communities from passing anti-gun ordinances that are stricter than state law.
For the other two on the GOP side, I didn’t find anything pertaining to Ron Paul’s or Mitt Romney’s views on the subject, although it was stated by Sam Brownback that Romney’s a flip-flopper on the issue because Romney has only been an NRA member a short time and was not a particularly gun-friendly governor in Massachusetts. I have to give Brownback a few props (how about 1/2 point) for violating the Eleventh Commandment when he feels it necessary. It’s not a personal attack at all.
Now it’s on to the Democrats. At the start of planning this series I struggled with the concept of “negative” points, but a bad view is worse than no view at all and should be penalized. Besides, if a Democrat is in negative territory and a Republican is in positive territory, there’s not much doubt whose side I’m on is there?
But oddly enough, I found only one Democrat willing to make a stand on the Second Amendment, Mike Gravel. The other seven didn’t see that as an issue of enough importance to bother with – possibly because they cater to their gun-grabbing base? Here’s Gravel’s stance on the issue:
While Senator Gravel fully supports the 2nd Amendment, he believes that fundamental change must take place with regards to gun ownership. The senator advocates a licensing program where a potential gun owner must be licensed as well as properly trained with a firearm before they may own one.
Of course, the question is how do they rate? We’ll actually have a little more movement this time around as 9 of the 18 hopefuls (8 of them GOP) took a stance.
Sam Brownback starts out well, but loses points because he speaks of enforcing existing gun laws and not repealing them. But he wants no further laws so he gets some credit, I’ll give him 4.5 out of 7 points, since he got the half-point bonus.
Jim Gilmore has the NRA leadership post, which is good. Despite that I have the same quibble with him as I do with Brownback, in that he advocates no rollback in federal law. Also, logic would dictate that getting the guns out of the hands of criminals would mean fewer guns on the street. After all, is a criminal not going to commit murder just because for him having a gun is illegal? Jim picks up 3 points.
Rudy Giuliani points at his record of keeping guns out the hands of criminals but makes no mention of getting the federal government out of the gun law business. On the other hand, he does mention in the video something that rings true – regardless of his personal views, the Constitution is clear on the matter of gun ownership. And he also shows an awareness that individual states need to have their own laws, so I’ll give Rudy 4 points.
Mike Huckabee comes thisclose to getting all seven points, I just wish he’d talked about repealing bad laws with the actual term. But he’ll get 6.5 points.
Duncan Hunter could do better if he expanded on his short statement. His heart’s in the right place but I want specifics, not platitudes. Hunter gets 3 points for effort.
With the exception of advocating trigger locks, John McCain’s Senatorial record is pretty good. But I see nowhere in the white paper where he’d roll back federal laws either. I’ll give him 5.5 points.
Like Hunter, Tom Tancredo suffers from a lack of specifics. Obviously I support the Second Amendment; hell, even most Democrats say they do with certain caveats. He’ll get three points for his effort but that’s all.
Fred Thompson did a nice commentary with background information and correctly points out that there are advocacy groups who would like to see the Second Amendment eroded. So he has a grasp of the problem; now what’s his solution? He’s lacking in that so he only gets two points.
Nor does Tommy Thompson say much about the issue, which is unfortunate. Signing one bill, albeit fairly sweeping, does not a pro-gun candidate make. One point.
On the Democrat side, I have to surprise myself and actually give Mike Gravel one point for advocating training and licensing. While firearm licensing is truly a state issue and not a federal one, he’s not explicitly in favor of taking away guns so I’ll give him a bit of credit.
With the number of comments on gun control from the GOP and Jim Gilmore’s withdrawal from the race it means my GOP standings are revised to a degree and will mostly reflect this issue.
- Duncan Hunter, 8 points
- Mike Huckabee, 6.5 points
- John McCain, 5.5 points
- Sam Brownback, 4.5 points
- Rudy Giuliani, 4 points
- Ron Paul, 4 points
- Tom Tancredo, 3 points
- Fred Thompson, 2 points
- Tommy Thompson, 1 point
- Mitt Romney, no points
And on the Democrat side, it can now be argued that, for at least three days, I support one Democrat (Mike Gravel) more than one Republican (Mitt Romney). Trust me, I doubt that will last, having seen both websites! And just wait until the D’s go into negative territory with all of the issues yet to come. Today’s rating is what you call a statistical fluke.
- Mike Gravel, 1 point
- Joe Biden, no points
- Hillary Clinton, no points
- Chris Dodd, no points
- John Edwards, no points
- Dennis Kucinich, no points
- Barack Obama, no points
- Bill Richardson, no points
On Friday, I’ll continue this series by looking at my next most important issue, election reform.