Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in the July 13, 2011 article, "Governor Johnson Calls Department of Justice Reporting Requirement an Outrage," available at www.garyjohnson2012.com:
"Now, the DOJ's [Department of Justice's] plan to address gun trafficking is to require law-abiding citizens in border states to be reported and entered into a federal database for buying perfectly legal rifles from licensed dealers.
Not only will this requirement do absolutely nothing to curb violence on either side of the border, it is yet another unacceptable infringement on fundamental 2nd Amendment rights. It is an outrage that this Administration is using border violence as an excuse to add the names of more law-abiding gun owners to their database. The President and his Attorney General need to get off the backs of American gun owners, and focus on policies that will actually work to stop border violence – without eroding basic constitutional rights." July 13, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, wrote the following in his Mar. 13, 2011 Arizona Daily Star article "President Obama: We Must Seek Agreement on Gun Reforms:"
"We lose the same number of young people to guns every day and a half as we did at Columbine, and every four days as we did at Virginia Tech.
Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society. And as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to it.
I'm willing to bet that responsible, law-abiding gun owners agree that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few - dangerous criminals and fugitives, for example - from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.
I'm willing to bet they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas - that we should check someone's criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to buy a gun so easily; that there's room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety and are fully compatible with a robust Second Amendment." Mar. 13, 2011 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, was quoted as saying the following in the Jan. 7, 2008 article "Romney's Issue Statements," available at www.washingtonpost.com:
"I believe we need to focus on enforcing our current laws rather than creating new laws that burden lawful gun owners. I believe in safe and responsible gun ownership and that anyone who exercises the right to keep and bear arms must do so lawfully and properly. I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all federal approach to gun ownership because people keep and use firearms for different reasons. Law-abiding citizens have a right to protect their homes and their families and as President, I will vigorously defend that right." Jan. 7, 2008 Mitt Romney
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), wrote the following under the title "Minnesota Values," available in the "Issues" section at bachmann.house.gov (accessed Oct. 5, 2011):
"The Second Amendment states that the people’s right to keep and bear arms may not be infringed, and I believe that citizens who are in compliance with the law should not have that guaranteed right taken away." Oct. 5, 2011 Michele Bachmann
[Editor’s Note: Bachmann voted yes on the Second Amendment Enforcement Act, H.R. 6842(137 KB), on Sep. 17, 2008. The bill repealed portions of a ban on possession and sales of firearms in Washington, DC.]
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following during an interview with Wolf Blizter on The Situation Room, aired June 7, 2011 on CNN:
"The answer on gun control is I support strong - strongly support the Second Amendment. I don't support, you know, onerous legislation that's going to restrict people's rights in order to be able to protect themselves as guaranteed by the Second Amendment." June 7, 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following in the Apr. 9, 2011 "Gingrich to NRA: Obama Most Anti-Gun Rights President in History," available at www.newt.org:
"Gingrich will call for the next President to issue four executive orders on the first day he takes office to protect the second amendment rights of Americans…In proposing these executive orders, Gingrich will cite the success of Project Exile in Richmond, VA, which has taken advantage of existing federal laws and prosecutes suspects in federal courts, as proof that new gun restrictions on law-abiding Americans are unnecessary.” Apr. 9, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, wrote the following in a June 8, 2011 email to talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, available at www.hughhewitt.com:
"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." June 8, 2011 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), was quoted as having said the following in the Jan. 17, 2011 article "On Gun Control and Violence," available at www.thehill.com:
"The terrible violence in Arizona last weekend prompted much national discussion on many issues. All Americans are united in their sympathies for the victims and their families...
[T]roubling are the renewed calls for stricter gun control laws, and for government to 'do something' to somehow prevent similar incidents in the future. This always seems to be the knee jerk reaction to any crime committed with a gun. Nonsensical proposals to outlaw guns around federal officials and install bulletproof barriers in the congressional gallery only reinforce the growing perception that politicians view their own lives as far more important than the lives of ordinary citizens...
Remember - liberty only has meaning if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and more government security is demanded. Government cannot make us safe by mandating security any more than it can make us prosperous by decreeing an end to poverty...
Since police cannot be everywhere all of the time, a large part of our personal safety depends on our ability to defend ourselves.
Our constitutional right to bear arms does not create a society without risks of violent crime, and neither would the strictest gun control laws. Guns and violence are a fact of life." Jan. 17, 2011 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, wrote the following in his 2010 book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington:
"We Texans like our guns. We don't like meddlesome statists whos want to infringe on our right to keep and bear them...
I believe there are fundamental rights expressed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms is one of those fundamental rights... The Commerce Clause should not be used [by Congress] as a catchall for statists to tell the people of Texas or any other state how it should handle the regulation of firearms or any other fundamental right." 2010 Rick Perry
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following in a Mar. 17, 2011 video interview with Michael D. Shear, "Looking Toward 2012," available at www.nytimes.com:
Michael D. Shear: "Is there anything that needs to be done on gun control in the wake of that tragedy [mass shooting in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011]?”
Roemer: "Well it’s a Constitutional right. I mean our founding fathers kind of wrote it down …”
Michael D. Shear: "Well not necessarily, activists would say not necessarily to have a big clip with…”
Roemer: "I think restrictions on criminal use, I think enhanced penalties for the use of weapons while committing a crime, there are a lot of ways to get at this problem. But you phrased the question, Mike, at least I heard it: 'That would I take away from that farmer in West Texas his right to have a shotgun?' Of course not. Would defend it. That’s part of America." Mar. 17, 2011 Buddy Roemer
[Editor's Note: While serving as a US Representative (D-LA), Roemer cosponsored H.R 6833 (79 KB), Firearms Ownership Rights Act of 1982. According to the Congressional Research Service summary, the bill "declares that Congress does intend to preempt any local government law which prohibits or regulates the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition, unless the local law is created by Federal or State law.”]
[Editors Note: Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), completed the Gun Owners of America 2012 Presidential Candidate Survey on Jan. 6, 2012, available at ricksantorum.com. For 19 out of 20 questions, Santorum answered "yes," indicating that he would oppose new regulations on guns and ammunition. However, Santorum also answered "No" to question #9, which asked: “Legislation in Congress seeks to ban private firearm sales at guns shows unless the buyer submits to a federal background check. Would you veto any legislation that would require private buyers and sellers of firearms at a gun show to get the federal government’s approval before completing a transaction?", indicating that Santorum may support at least one new federal regulation on gun purchases.]