It may surprise some people to learn that I am a Second Amendment absolutist. I take the Second Amendment’s clear text at face value:
The right to bear arms and a well-regulated militia are essential to the security of any free state.
I think that “shall not be infringed” means precisely that. I also apply a politician’s stance on the Second Amendment as something of a litmus test; I don’t trust any politician who doesn’t trust me with firearms.
This survey by Firearms News is very interesting.
The Republican presidential candidates who are determined to knock former President Donald Trump from his top spot in the polls, present themselves as the best candidate to face Joe Biden or whoever the Democratic candidates will be in the 2024 elections. Firearms News is going to explore where these candidates stand on the Second Amendment. This will include a separate analysis of actions, statements, and positions as well as a questionnaire that will produce unambiguous answers.
The survey is extensive and covers all of the important points, particularly if you are a Second Amendment absolutist like me. The survey is far too long for me to cover it all, but I have cherry-picked a few of the questions that I would like to see the GOP candidates respond to, even though I doubt they will.
Now, without further delay
What is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution?
Recognize — not grant, not allow — the right of the American people to bear arms.
What will you do if ATF turns rules into laws and effectively enforces them? What do you think about “ghost weapons”? Bump stocks? Stabilizing braces? Reset triggers that are forced? Should Congress have the power to ban them if ATF cannot?
I am willing to disband and defund the ATF. Its existence is not constitutionally authorized. And, no.
Do you possess a permit for concealed carry? Are you in favor of or against licensing requirements for firearms owners or carriers? Does the right of any peaceful citizen to keep and bear arms include their right to carry openly or in a concealed manner without a permit as well?
Do you think that citizens should be able to own military-grade weapons as a means of defense against an upcoming tyrannical regime and foreign invasions?
No, I do not believe that they should be allowed to have this right. I believe they have a right that the government is illegitimately violating.
Are you in agreement with the statement “enforce existing firearm laws” or “repeal current gun laws?” What gun laws are you working to repeal?
Repeal. All the way back to — and including — the 1934 National Firearms Act. They are all infringements.
Will you, if elected, back up your words of support for firearms rights with consistent actions? How?
De-funding and disbanding ATF is a great start. Of course, the Constitution limits the President, but the ATF is under the Executive Branch. I would encourage Congress to repeal the legislation. But that would require solid pro-2nd Amendment majorities in both chambers. I believe that politics is an art of the feasible, and would do everything possible to achieve it, within the limits of the Constitution.
It will be fascinating to see how the candidates respond. They’ll have to answer some Second Amendment questions sooner or later. And like me, many pro-gun people will listen to their responses and keep them in mind throughout the primary season.