Wow, the last few weeks for Republican frontrunner Herman Cain have been intense.
Perhaps, it all started with that “smoking” campaign ad. The one where Cain’s chief of staff, Mark Block, is seen taking a drag from a cigarette. It immediately went viral on the web and became a huge media sensation.
Following the buzz from the video, the Cain-train seemed to be charging full steam ahead until it was derailed this week by accusations stemming from a sexual harassment settlement Cain allegedly agreed to when he served as the president of the NRA – that is, the National Restaurant Association.
Did Herman Cain actually agree to a settlement with the two women who claimed he acted inappropriately? Well, it would appear some kind of agreement or settlement was reached just based off this video:
But whatever the truth may be with respect to that controversial agreement (whether it’s true or whether it’s a politically motivated attack from the left), it is not particularly relevant to Cain’s position on guns – which, as it turns out, is also controversial.
What is Cain’s position on guns and gun ownership?
A few months ago, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Cain made the following comments when asked about gun control:
BLITZER: How about gun control?
CAIN: I support the 2nd amendment.
B: So what’s the answer on gun control?
C: The answer is I support, strongly support, the 2nd amendment. I don’t support onerous legislation that’s going to restrict people’s rights in order to be able to protect themselves as guaranteed by the 2nd amendment.
B: Should states or local government be allowed to control guns, the gun situation, or should…
B: So the answer is yes?
C: The answer is yes, that should be a state’s decision.
Okay, you see why this is “controversial,” right? The McDonald v. Chicago ruling, which followed the District of Columbia v. Heller ruling, protect an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes (such as self-defense within the home) not only in federal enclaves (such as Washington, D.C.) but in all 50 individual states.
Therefore, the Second Amendment trumps all gun control laws passed at the State and local levels. So, Cain’s position, as articulated in the Blitzer interview, is actually at odds with what most gun owners and gun rights advocates believe and accept.
However, I think most of us would agree that Herman Cain probably misspoke during that interview. Or at the very least, failed to clearly articulate his position.
Now, this is not the first time he’s done this. He has also expressed a completely contradictory position on abortion.
But, in all fairness to Cain, I think this apparent lack of clarity on the issue of guns and abortion is due to his inexperience as a politician.
What’s ironic is that his lack of political experience cuts both ways. It’s probably the reason why he is the frontrunner, because he is not your typical politician, he is a straight shooter, he doesn’t regurgitate the same platitudes in every interview– but it is also the source for much of the controversy that surrounds his campaign. Giving contradictory statements and unclear answers can come back to bite a candidate, a lesson Cain is certainly learning right now.
In the end though, and with respect to firearms, I believe that Cain’s intentions are good (I know what you’re thinking, “the road to hell was paved with…”). If elected President he would support gun owners and gun rights.
As he said in a speech not too long ago, “I like my guns and Bible. Ain’t gonna give ’em up!”
My rating for Herman Cain on firearms: 3.5 out of 5 stars (to see what I gave Rick Perry, read here).