Newt Gingrich is a student of history. Watching him in the debates, it’s clear that his knowledge of our founding fathers and his understanding of our Constitution are unrivaled (okay Ron Paul fans, your guy is pretty astute too). If one had to pick a candidate to give a lecture on the Second Amendment and the reason why it was included as part of the Bill of Rights, one could do no better than Newt.
In a speech made before NRA members at an annual convention staged in Pittsburgh, PA, this past April, Newt articulated the following point about the Second Amendment:
“The right to bear arms is not about hunting. It’s not about target practice … The right to bear arms is a political right designed to safeguard freedom so that no government can take away from you the rights that God has given you, and it was written by people who had spent their lifetime fighting the greatest empire in the world and they knew that if they had not had the right to bear arms, they would have been enslaved. And they did not want us to be enslaved. And that is why they guaranteed us the right to protect ourselves. It is a political right of the deepest importance to the survival of freedom in America.”
But does Newt’s knowledge of history make him a strong, pro-Second Amendment candidate?
Well, the NRA has given Newt an “A” rating. They contend that he has a long track record that substantiates his unequivocal support of gun rights. And at that April NRA conference, Newt had a chance to speak to Cam Edwards, of NRA radio, about the importance of our Second Amendment rights (see video below).
However, not everyone is convinced that Newt is as pro-gun as he makes himself out to be. In a article titled, “The Inconvenient Truth About Newt,” Dudley Brown the Executive Director of the National Association For Gun Rights argued that “Newt Gingrich has a long history of supporting gun control…”
Brown points to the following examples as reasons to suggest that Newt is pro gun-control:
In 1996, Newt Gingrich turned his back on guns and voted for the anti-gun Brady Campaign’s Lautenberg Gun Ban, which strips the Second Amendment rights of citizens involved in misdemeanor domestic violence charges or temporary protection orders –- in some cases for actions as minor as spanking a child or grabbing a spouse’s wrist.
Gingrich even called the anti-gun measure “reasonable,” and predicted that it would sail through his Republican-controlled House of Representatives with little trouble.
Gingrich also stood shoulder to shoulder with Nancy Pelosi to pass the “Criminal Safezones Act” which prevents armed citizens from defending themselves in certain arbitrary locations. You and I both know that Criminal Safezones don’t protect law-abiding citizens, but actually protect the criminals who ignore them.
Brown concludes his article by stating that Newt needs to “not only apologize for his past support of anti-gun measures but also to reveal where he stands on international gun grabs like the UN “Small Arms Treaty” and domestic anti-gun schemes like the banning of .50 caliber rifles.”
See, Newt has failed to complete the National Association for Gun Rights Presidential Survey. A survey that asks important and very specific questions about a candidate’s position on various gun related issues: The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, “assault weapons” ban, .50 caliber firearms ban, the Brady Bill, mental health data and the instant background check system, “gun free school zones,” etc., (to read the survey, click here).
The reason why Newt (and other candidates, most notably Romney) has refused to fill out the Presidential Survey is because it would reveal (if he answered honestly) the fact that he is not 100% pro gun. He’s probably, like 80-85% pro gun based on the survey.
Does this make him pro-gun control/anti-gun as Brown and others have suggested? No. And it’s unfair to suggest that anything but a 100% score on a survey or a political track record that’s 100%, squeaky-clean means a candidate is anti-gun.
Is he the best candidate on this issue? No. But he is certainly better than other alternatives, which is why I give him 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars for his flawed, but largely pro-gun stance.