This year’s election is going to define the future of our freedom, perhaps more than any other in our history. For gun owners, there are a number of areas crucial to the survival of our Second Amendment rights. That’s why I took the time to visit with Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, to find out precisely where he stands on the issues of concern to gun owners.
Chris W. Cox: First, let me start with the most basic question of all. In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, and in the 2010 case McDonald v. City of Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court —by a 5-4 majority— held that the Second Amendment guarantees the fundamental, individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.
Do you agree that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to own and use firearms for all lawful purposes?Gov. Mitt Romney: Absolutely, and I was pleased when the Court finally rendered a clear and concise decision on this critical issue. The Second Amendment is essential to our free society. I strongly support the right of all law-abiding Americans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to own firearms and to use them for lawful purposes, including self-defense; the protection of family and property; hunting and recreational shooting.
Cox: Obviously, America’s 100 million gun owners are very concerned that their Second Amendment rights hang in the balance at the U.S. Supreme Court by just one vote. President Obama’s two nominees to the Court so far —Justices Sotomayor and Kagan— have a history of anti-gun opinions and activism. And some have predicted that if Barack Obama is re-elected, he may have the opportunity to nominate several more justices to the Court.
As president, if you had the opportunity, what type of individuals would you nominate to the Supreme Court? And which of the justices currently serving on the Court would you consider to be the best models of your judicial philosophy?Gov. Romney: Chris, I believe the next president could indeed have the opportunity to shape the Court for decades to come, and that’s a key reason why the tens of millions of Americans who support the NRA should support my candidacy. My view of the Constitution is straightforward: Its words have meaning. The founders adopted a written constitution for a reason. They intended to limit the powers of government. The job of a judge is to enforce the Constitution’s restraints on government and, where the Constitution does not speak, to leave the governance of the nation to its elected representatives. I believe in the rule of law, and I will appoint wise, experienced and restrained judges who take seriously their oath to discharge their duties impartially in accordance with our Constitution and our laws—not their personal policy preferences.
The rest is as unsurprising as these typically political responses. But it's worth a read.