Shooting for 2016 - We Grade the Candidates! - Women's Holsters

Shooting for 2016 - We Grade the Candidates!

Candidates on Guns Rights

Less a year from now both political parties will be holding their conventions, seemingly for the purpose of nominating their candidates for the 2016 presidential election. In truth, the nominees will have long since been chosen, the conventions serving merely to announce the choices already made in the primary elections. It is in those primaries, especially early on in the process, that the American people have their best opportunity to impact the democratic process. In order to do so intelligently, the voter is required to familiarize themselves with the candidates’ positions on a multitude of issues, from Social Security to the War on Terror. We here at recognize the importance of the next presidential election, and understand how daunting a task it can be to try to gather factual, unbiased information on which to a choice. As promised in an earlier article, we will do our utmost to make sure our readers are well-informed issues important to gun owners.

Support and respect for our Constitutional liberties is an absolute requirement for anyone wishing to be President of the United States.  If nothing else, the last seven years have so painfully illustrated this. It’s certainly not the only requirement, but fundamental respect for what makes this nation great determines how each candidate responds to every other issue. As for our purposes, how the candidates view one of those liberties is the sole criterion upon which we will judge their fitness to occupy the White House - Second Amendment Rights.

Now, on to the grades for each major candidate in both parties solely based upon their Stance on Second Amendment issues:

A+: Cruz (R), Paul (R) — Two candidates have distinguished themselves with their unyielding support for our 2A rights, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Cruz has been, by far, the most steadfast and determined defender of the Constitution to serve in Congress for many years. He first gained prominence with a twenty-one hour filibuster, an actual, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, talk ‘til you drop filibuster on a procedural vote regarding the funding of Obamacare. He’s been no less aggressive in fighting for our gun rights. His speech to the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville last April electrified the crowd in attendance, as well as 2A supporters nationwide.

Most Republican hopefuls were in attendance at that convention in April, with a few notable exceptions. One was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who wasn’t invited to attend, according to reports at the time. However, the reason for that lack of an invitation might surprise some people. For several years, Paul has been a major supporter and fundraiser for the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), a group that considers itself a ‘more conservative’ alternative to the NRA, one that views any restriction on Gun Rights as unconstitutional. When a candidate views the NRA as too soft on Gun Rights, well … they might not get my vote, but they’ll definitely earn an A+.

A: Gilmore (R), Graham (R), Huckabee (R), Jindal (R), Perry (R), Rubio (R), Walker (R) — All of these candidates are staunch supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and, with the exceptions of Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, both of whom are members of the United States Senate, all are or have been Governors. I don’t believe that’s coincidental; in the face of the Federal government’s war on individual liberty, it is the Statehouses that have become the bastions of freedom for their constituents. All of these individuals have fought to protect and ensure our 2A rights, and I believe all would continue to do so as President.

B: Bush (R), Carson (R) —Jeb Bush has a good record as Governor of Florida on Gun Rights issues, however, recent statements made on the campaign trail seem to betray a certain lack of understanding of the nature of the Second Amendment following the Heller and McDonald decisions from the Supreme Court. He apparently feels that Gun Rights, or Gun Control, are issues best settled on the local level, in direct contrast to the McDonald decision, which incorporated the Second Amendment against state and municipal authorities.

Carson as well has made comments from which he has tried, for the most part successfully, to walk back. Before he was a candidate, he told an interviewer that he felt that high-powered weapons might not belong in urban settings, which provoked a predictable firestorm of commentary online. Ever since that interview, he has been steadfast in his support for the Second Amendment … but Gun owners have long memories, and are firm believers in the old adage, “fool me once, shame on you …”

C: Kasich (R) —Though his record on Gun Rights as Governor of Ohio has been a positive one, Kasich’s name among serious 2A proponents will forever be tarnished by his 1994 vote in favor of the Clinton “Assault Weapon Ban.” It is indicative, both of the seriousness with which I view that vote, as well as the quality of his work for Gun owners as Governor, that he has managed to earn a grade as high as a C.

D: Christie (R) —As Governor of the state with some of the most repressive Gun Laws in the nation, Chris Christie is already at a serious disadvantage for our purposes.  Had he made any efforts to improve the state’s stand on its citizens’ 2A rights, he might have earned a better grade in this course. While he has vetoed several bills designed to further infringe on the rights of New Jerseyans, he has done nothing to lessen the already onerous burden his residents suffer under in order to enjoy a fundamental Constitutional right.

F: Clinton (D), O’Malley (D), Sanders (D) —Both Clinton and O’Malley are almost stereotypically Big Government Liberals, and it’s not surprising that they have matching viewpoints on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In short, they don’t like it. Both are eager to further restrict our rights, and aren’t the least bit shy about expressing that eagerness, virtually salivating at every high-profile crime associated with a gun, claiming that the, “pro-gun lobby,” is responsible for blood in the streets. Both are enemies of Constitutional rights, and either a President Clinton or President O’Malley would continue the destructive policies of the current administration, and mark the end of individual liberty in the United States.

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Socialist, would be an even greater disaster for the country. Though his home state has long enjoyed Constitutional Carry, and though prior to his Presidential campaign Sanders espoused somewhat Libertarian views on Gun Rights, now that he’s fighting for the Democratic nomination he’s revealed his true colors. Sanders has stated in a recent interview that all guns not intended for hunting should be banned, and that, “guns used to kill people exclusively, not for hunting, should not be sold in the United States of America.” [Meet the Press, NBC, 26 July 2015] When combined with his radical Socialist political philosophy, this callous disregard for our Constitutional liberty makes it patently obvious that a Sanders presidency would be disastrous.

Incomplete: Fiorina (R), Trump (R)—Since neither candidate has held public office before, their stances on a range of important issues are rather unknown, or at least unverified. Carly Fiorina of California is truly a cipher; though she says that she supports the Second Amendment, words are cheap, and anyone can mouth the appropriate phrases.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has spent a lifetime as one of the most outspoken people in a city full of outspoken people. He’s had no problem voicing his opinions on a host of issues, including in his 2000 book, The America we Deserve, written in anticipation of a possible Reform Party Presidential bid. In that book he states, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” Opinions may evolve over time, true … but as yet the Donald has failed to convince me that he’s repented of his former positions.

 We hope that clears some of the muddy waters - Big John

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