Where do GOP Presidential Candidates Stand on Guns?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Guns are often a major issue in presidential campaigns. It is expected to be so this time around, what with people suspicious of President Obama true feelings on the 2nd Amendment. Let's check in with the Republican candidates (listed alphabetically) and see where they stand:

Michele Bachman
Bachmann supports gun ownership. According to On the Issues in 2007 she co-sponsored a bill that would have banned gun registration and a trigger lock law in Washington, D.C. She wrote on her website in 2006:

Growing up in a home that valued hunting and fishing, the 2nd Amendment is of equal importance as the other nine Amendments in our Bill of Rights. Since the age of twelve, when I passed my first gun safety class, I’ve enjoyed the privilege afforded us by the right to bear arms. While serving in the Minnesota State Senate I supported and helped pass the Minnesota Personal Protection Act and legislation to protect local shooting ranges. I will fight to uphold our 2nd Amendment rights.

Herman Cain
Cain supports the 2nd Amendment, as well as the right to carry a concealed gun. When he was asked during a Q&A in New Hampshire in April 2011 if he would support a national concealed weapons bill, Cain responded, "Here's how I'd like that done: Let each state pass a concealed weapon bill. Empower the states -- some states already have it -- and not have a federal mandate. I believe in the Second Amendment."

Newt Gingrich
Gingrich believes everyone has the right to own guns, and is angered by courts which interpret the Constitution and rule otherwise. Regarding a 9th Circuit Court decision in 2002 that said there is no individual right to own guns, Gingrich wrote:

Over the last 50 years the Supreme Court has become a permanent constitutional convention in which the whims of five appointed lawyers have rewritten the meaning of the Constitution. Under this new, all-powerful model of the Court--and by extension the trail-breaking 9th Circuit Court--the Constitution and the law can be redefined, unchecked, by federal judges.

Jon Huntsman
Huntsman totes the conservative line on guns -- he is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. In an email following a radio interview in June 2011 in which he inadvertently said he would not veto an assault weapons ban, he wrote to host Hugh Hewitt:

"Hugh, I clearly misunderstood your question regarding the assault weapons ban. I would absolutely veto the ban. I have always stood firmly for 2nd Amendment rights, and my record in Utah reflects it. With a name like 'Huntsman' it really goes without saying."

Ron Paul
Speaking in his weekly message for August 22, Paul said recent violence abroad has made it clear that we can't expect the government to protect us, that we must to it for ourselves. Therefore, "we must own and wisely use firearms to deter or prevent criminal assaults on our homes and persons."

Rick Perry
Perry is outspoken in his support for the 2nd Amendment. He famously admitted that he takes his gun with him while jogging because he is afraid of snakes. In 2010 he shot and killed a coyote who threatened his dog while out on a run.

Mitt Romney
GovWatch reports on a Romney flip-flop on guns: 

Campaigning for the Senate in 1994, Romney said he favored strong gun laws and did not “line up with the NRA.” He signed up for “lifetime membership” of the NRA in August 2006 while pondering a presidential run, praising the group for “doing good things” and “supporting the right to bear arms.”

He said on "Meet the Press":

"I support the work of the NRA. I’m a member of the NRA. But do we line up on every issue? No, we don’t."

Rick Santorum
Santorum is a strong supporter of gun rights. He voted to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits, as well as voting against background checks at gun shows.