GOP White House Hopefuls & Gun Rights


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Rep. Michele M. Bachmann, R-Minn.
Bachmann co-sponsored the D.C. Personal Protection Act, which would have banned gun registration and trigger lock law in the capital. In 2009, Bachmann co-sponsored the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which would have established a national standard for concealed carry. This past January, she co-sponsored the Fairness in Firearm Testing Act, which would require video recordings of all firearm tests conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Herman Cain, fomer CEO, Godfather’s Pizza; former chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
In a June 7 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Cain said he strongly supports the Second Amendment and does not approve of “onerous legislation” that would restrict the right of individuals to protect themselves. Cain also said he believes that gun rights should be a state issue.

Newton L. “Newt” Gingrich, former Speaker of the House
Shortly after assuming his role as Speaker of the House in 1995, Gingrich vowed that he would not allow any legislation on the floor of the House that would curb gun rights. Gingrich has attacked the Obama administration for its pro-gun control stance, labeling it as the most consistently anti-gun administration and anti-Second Amendment administration that we have ever seen.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., former ambassador to China, former governor of Utah
In 2009, during his governorship of Utah, Huntsman signed Senate Bill 78 into law. Backed by the National Rifle Association, this piece of legislation allows citizens to lawfully transport and storm firearms in their privately owned, locked motor vehicles while parked in public parking lots controlled by businesses. Huntsman also signed House Bill 357 into law, which permits law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in their homes, on their property, and in their places of employment without obtaining a state-issued concealed carry permit.


Gary E. Johnson, former governor of New Mexico
In a 2000 interview, Johnson said that he believes concealed carry reduces gun violence. He denounced current gun laws, citing their ineffectiveness.

Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter, R-Mich.
The National Rifle Association has given McCotter an A for his pro-gun rights voting record. McCotter co-sponsored the D.C. Personal Protection Act. He co-sponsored National the Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, as well as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009, which would have rendered concealed carry permits valid in all states where concealed carry is permitted. McCotter voted in favor of barring liability lawsuits from being brought against gun manufacturers and dealers in cases of criminal misuse of firearms.

Rep. Ronald E. “Ron” Paul, R-Texas
Paul co-sponsored the D.C. Personal Protection Act and the Fairness in Firearm Testing Act. He also co-sponsored the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 1999, which would have granted law-abiding citizens the right to acquire and use firearms as a means of self-defense. Paul sponsored the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act of 2003, which condemned attempts by the United Nations to limit Second Amendment rights and would have prevented taxation on firearms by the UN. In 1999, Paul voted against a bill that would have required individuals who purchase firearms at a gun show to submit to a background check within 24 hours, rather than 72. Paul scored an A from the National Rifle Association for his pro-gun rights voting record.


Timothy J. “Tim” Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota
In 2003, Pawlenty signed the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act into law, which made it significantly easier for law-abiding citizens to obtain concealed carry permits in the state of Minnesota. Under this legislation, public and private employers can lawfully restrict workers from carrying or possessing firearms while acting in the course of and scope of employment.

Gov. Richard R. “Rick” Perry, R-Texas
During his campaign for his third term as governor of Texas, Perry picked up the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. He supported a bill this year that would have allowed students and professors to carry concealed firearms on college campuses. The bill passed in the Texas Senate, but was killed in the House. In 2007, Gov. Perry signed “Castle Doctrine” legislation into law, which grants Texas citizens the legal right to use deadly force as a means of self-defense in their homes, vehicles and workplaces.

W. Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts
In 2007, during an interview on “Meet the Press,” Romney said he supports the work of the National Rifle Association, but he does not “line up” with them on every issue. Romney signed a bill into law in 2004 that permanently banned all assault weapons in the state of Massachusetts. During his 1994 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Romney supported the Brady Bill, which required a five-day waiting period on gun sales and banned certain assault weapons.


Richard J. “Rick” Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania
On May 11, 1999, Santorum voted in favor of less stringent license and background checks at gun shows. Days later, on May 14, 1999, he voted to approve an amendment that would increase penalties for gun and drug violations and would also require background checks of purchasers at gun shows. On May 20, 1999, Santorum voted against conducting background checks at gun shows.

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