The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
Candidates on Rights
By Jeff Knox
(December 5, 2007) As the Primary season begins, now is the time for GunVoters to step up and make sure that they have a choice worth choosing come next November. If GunVoters don’t stand up now, in the early Primaries, there will only be a choice between an anti-gun Democrat and an anti-gun Republican for President.
Here is an outline of the key candidates’ positions.
If you are voting in a Democratic Primary, there is only one candidate with a pro-gun record; New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Gov. Richardson had a good record as a Representative and as Governor. All of the others have expressed strong anti-gun views.
If you are voting in a Republican Primary, things are a bit more complicated; here’s how they stack up.
Rudy Giuliani: "As a private citizen, as a prosecutor, as a Mayoral candidate and as Mayor, I have advocated for more regulated and more uniform gun licensing regulations, similar to those for a drivers license.” 1
While he has been attempting to downplay his gun control history during his presidential bid, gunowners see the shift with skepticism and I see no chance of Mayor Giuliani ever receiving even moderate support from GunVoters regardless of the Democratic candidate.
Mitt Romney: “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won’t chip away at them. I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.” 2
Former Massachusetts Governor Romney has made efforts to try to win gunowner support including purchasing a Life Membership in NRA and proclaiming his love of guns and hunting – though he owns no guns and has only been hunting only twice. As with Giuliani, I see no way that GunVoters would ever support Mitt Romney for President.
John McCain: "A few years ago, Congress passed a law to make sure people undergo a simple background check before buying a gun… Problem is, there's a dangerous loophole because right now the law doesn't cover most of America's gun shows." 3
Because Senator McCain was a fairly reliable pro-gun voter for many years, his anti-gun activities in recent years has been seen by gunowners as a betrayal. Sponsoring a gun show restriction bill and joining forces with the anti-gun group “Americans for Gun Safety” have irreparably damaged Sen. McCain’s credibility with GunVoters. In spite of McCain’s past support for gun rights, to GunVoters he is in the same category as Giuliani and Romney.
Fred Thompson: “The real effect of these gun-control measures is to place onerous restrictions on law-abiding citizens who use firearms for such legal activities as self-defense, sport-shooting, hunting, and collecting.” 4
Actor, former Senator from Tennessee, and former Watergate attorney, Fred Thompson is no-nonsense and pragmatic with a very good record on guns. During his time in the Senate Thompson tended to vote with the Republican majority including going along with a strategy of heading off really bad gun legislation with less onerous bills. On straight-up gun votes, Thompson has a near perfect record. Thompson could expect strong GunVoter support in the General Election.
Mike Huckabee: “The Founding Fathers weren’t worried about our being able to bag a duck or a deer, they were worried about our keeping our fundamental freedoms.” 5
A former Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee is a true believer in the right to bear arms. Huckabee has walked the talk and stood steadfast with the courage of his convictions in the face of immense media pressure after a highly publicized school shooting in his state. He also publicly repudiated attempts to hold gun dealers and manufacturers responsible for the actions of armed criminals. A real gun owner and hunter, Huckabee nonetheless rejects attempts to bind the Second Amendment to hunting. If Mike Huckabee can secure the Republican nomination, he can expect overwhelming support from GunVoters no matter who the Democrats put forward.
Ron Paul: “I share our Founders’ belief that in a free society each citizen must have the right to keep and bear arms. They ratified the Second Amendment knowing that this right is the guardian of every other right, and they all would be horrified by the proliferation of unconstitutional legislation that prevents law-abiding Americans from exercising this right.” 6
One of the most ardent Second Amendment supporters in the US House of Representatives, Dr. Ron Paul is a committed Constitutionalist. While he has been written off by the mainstream media and political pundits, Dr. Paul's campaign has been gaining momentum through alternative media with much of that support coming from gun rights activists. Ron Paul would receive resounding GunVoter support if he were to secure the Republican nomination.
If GunVoters don’t get involved now, they will have little reason to get involved later.
1. Citizens Crime Commission, March 6, 1997
2. Boston Herald, August 21, 2002
3. Radio ad for Americans for Gun Safety
4. Fred Thompson web site
5. Mike Huckabee web site
6. Ron Paul web site
For the record, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter both have good pro-gun records. Tancredo has now dropped out of the race – as I was expecting – and Hunter can't be far behind.