The U.K. Telegraph is doing the job American journalists won’t do, and has set out to get a rough idea of where Republican candidates stand on the issue of Second Amendment rights. They asked whether or not candidates were gun owners, provided their NRA record (if available), and mentioned their known guns as reported in the media, resulting in the following chart.
I’ve asked one of the reporters (Raf Sanchez) who put this story together if they have a comparable story on Democrat candidate gun ownership that I’ve either missed, or that they haven’t published yet. We strongly suspect that there isn’t a story, as they are all abysmal on Second Amendment issues.
What Sanchez and his collaborator David Lawler didn’t do was rank the candidates based on their answers, and more importantly, their records.
Not every candidate has a legislative track record on 2nd Amendment issues. Donald Trump and Ben Carson are all coming into the race as private citizens.
Not every candidate is a gun owner. Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, and Chris Christie do not own guns.
While no ranking system is perfect, we can loosely rank the candidates* based upon their legislative records, their gun ownership, their past public statements, and “walking the walk”… whether or not we know they’ve put in time on the firing line, and whether their gun usage suggests an actual appreciation for firearms, or whether their interest is in merely fabricating a consumable public image.
Top Tier 2nd Amendment Candidates
To earn a spot in our top tier, candidates need to not only have a strong track record of supporting the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, but need to be not just gun owners themselves, but real shooters… not just on the campaign trail, or in theory.
Rick Perry (R) — The two-term governor of Texas not only spends a lot of time on the gun range with his collection of firearms, but has been known to carry a concealed handgun, which he’s famously used to shoot and kill a coyote that threatened his dog during a morning run. He would seem to easily have more trigger time than any other candidate, and has a solid pro-gun record in office.
Rand Paul (R)— The Kentucky libertarian is a known gun owner, and is a well-known 2nd Amendment absolutist.
Mike Huckabee (R) — The first American governor with a concealed carry permit, gun collector, and an avid hunter, Huckabee is clearly on the record as noting that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is as protection against a tyrannical government.