Which GOP Candidates Own Guns And How Does The NRA Rate Them?

Republican presidential candidates were asked if they owned a gun. Here’s how they stacked up:

gop presidential candidates

A profile on each the remaining GOP candidates, including their NRA rating can be found here:

Donald Trump


Donald Trump owns a handgun. Here he is pictured receiving a ceremonial rifle at a military academy Photo: Getty Images
Donald Trump appears to be part of a rare breed: a New Yorker with a handgun.

New York City has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country and applicants for a gun license go through a lengthy process and must be interviewed in person by police.

But a 2010 list of gun owners in the city showed Mr Trump had a carry business license, which allows him to carry a concealed handgun on his person. To get a carry business license you must prove you have a valid reason to carry a gun related to work – for example if you work with cash and might be targeted for robbery.
It is unclear what reason Mr Trump gave in order to obtain his license but he could argue his public profile makes him a potential target.

The billionaire was cagey during an interview with NBC earlier this year, saying he still had a gun and a license but it was “none of your business” if he ever used it. A spokeswoman declined to give details.

Mr Trump has flitted between being a Democrat, Republican and independent in recent years and his positions on gun control have shifted also.

In 2000, he wrote that he backed Bill Clinton’s ban on assault weapons and supported “a slightly longer” waiting period for buying a gun. He appears to have recanted and no longer supports any new gun controls.

“The problem is once you get into that you start getting into a situation, the slippery slope, where all of a sudden you are going to really violate the Second Amendment. I don’t want to do anything to violate the Second Amendment.”

Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush is one of the only Republican candidates who does not own a gun and seems to have little personal interest in firearms.
But he was avowedly pro-gun during his eight years as governor of Florida and earned an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Mr Bush signed the 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows citizens to stand their ground and open fire if they believe are they in danger, even if they have a chance to escape the situation.

The next year he signed six gun bills into law, a package he refers to as “the Six Pack of Freedom”.

Mr Bush has been bullish on gun rights on the campaign trail and said in September that the US government “should not be involved in gun laws” and that regulations should be left to individual states. He has attacked Donald Trump for his past support for Bill Clinton’s assault weapons bans.

Ted Cruz


Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas Photo: AP
The senator from Texas owns a .357 Magnum revolver and a Beretta Silver Pigeon II hunting shotgun. The Magnum is for self-defence while the shotgun is used for hunting trips, where Mr Cruz mainly shoots birds.

His campaign declined to say whether he has a license to carry a concealed weapon.

Mr Cruz was solicitor general of Texas before coming to the Senate and was involved in two landmark Supreme Court cases which came down in favour of gun owners.

He is a favourite of the NRA as a result and in 2010 the gun lobby group gave him an award in honour of his “exemplary activities in the support and protection of the right to Keep and Bear Arms”.

Marco Rubio


Florida Senator Marco Rubio Photo: Javier Manjarres

Jeb Bush does not own a gun but his fellow Floridian, Marco Rubio, has a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver.

The senator said he shoots two to three times a year with his wife, Jeanette, and has a license to carry a concealed gun.
He bought the gun in February 2010 just as he was mounting his campaign for the US Senate.

Mr Rubio was involved in passing the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida while he was in the state House of Representatives but some NRA figures said they thought he could have done more on guns rights and he was given an A ranking in 2010.

“He talked the talk, but he didn’t walk the walk,” Marion Hammer, an NRA lobbyist, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2009.

Correction: The NRA initially gave Marco Rubio’s rating as a B+. They have since said that was wrong and his rating is an A. We have corrected the story and the graphic to reflect this.

Chris Christie


Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Photo: AP Photo/Cheryl Senter

The governor of New Jersey is one of just three Republican candidates who does not own a gun and he has often been at odds with the gun lobby.

His state has a tradition of strong gun laws and Mr Christie has done little to loosen them during his time in office. While he vetoed a bill that would have limited gun magazines to 10 rounds, he has also said there must be a “balance” between gun rights and public safety. The NRA gave him a C when he ran for re-election in 2013.

Mr Christie was excluded from the NRA’s annual convention earlier this year and criticised the gun lobby group after it ran a television ad featuring Barack Obama’s children.

Ben Carsonben

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson Photo: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

An acclaimed neurosurgeon turned populist politician, Ben Carson says he is “extremely pro-second amendment”.

He owns a gun which he says is for self-defence and for protecting his home and family.

While he says he does not shoot frequently, he did recently go trap shooting.

Mr Carson was criticised by some gun rights advocates in 2013 when he suggested that semi-automatic weapons should be available in rural areas but not in major cities.

“It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it,” he said at the time.

He has since called the second amendment “the baton of freedom” to be passed on to future generations.

Rand Paul


Rand Paul’s campaign confirmed that the Kentucky senator owns multiple guns but, in keeping with his libertarian views on privacy, declined to give details.

Mr Paul has an A rating from the NRA but was not invited to their annual convention this year because of his links to the National Association for Gun Rights, a pro-gun group that is even more strident than the NRA.

The senator from Kentucky has linked freedom from gun control laws to his broader message of liberty.

John Kasich


Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich Photo: AP Photo/Jim Cole

The governor of Ohio has a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun and earned an A- ranking from the NRA during his re-election campaign in 2014.

During his time in office he has signed several pro-gun laws and earned praise from activists in his state.

But the relationship has not always been so warm. In 1994, when Mr Kasich was a Congressman, he voted for Bill Clinton’s ban on assault weapons. The NRA gave him an F ranking in response and endorsed his Democratic opponent in the 2010 race for governor.
“Gun owners don’t ever forget things like that,” said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “But as governor he’s signed everything he could and he’s been very good on this issue”.

Lindsey Graham


Lindsey Graham shooting an AR-15 Photo: Facebook

The South Carolina senator has one of the largest gun collections of any of the candidates. A spokeswoman said he has around a dozen guns including rifles, shotguns and a handgun.

Among them is an AR-15 rifle stamped with the insignia of his Air Force unit. He also owns a Sweet-16 Browning, given to him by his father when he was a teenger.

Mr Graham’s campaign describes him as “an excellent shot” and earlier this year he took donors to a shooting range in Utah.
He was given an A- rating by the NRA ahead of his last election in 2014.

Carly Fiorina


Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The businesswoman has six guns in her home but they belong to her husband, Frank. “My husband is the gun owner in our house,” she told the NRA in April.

Mrs Fiorina said she is not a hunter or a target shooter but is a firm supporter of the right to bear arms. “It is our God-given right and it is our Constitutional right,” she said.

She was given an A ranking by the NRA when she ran for the Senate in 2010. She lost to incumbent Democrat senator Barbara Boxer, who has been one of the Senate’s most outspoken voices on gun control.

Mike Huckabeehuckabee

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee Photo: Getty Images
The former Arkansas governor named his most recent book God, Guns, Grits and Gravy and wrote in it that “in the world that I come from and choose to live in, ‘gun control’ means that you hit the target”.

He owns “quite a few” guns, and claims to have bought his first, a .22-calibre rifle, when he was only nine years old.

He also owns more than one assault rifle. He says in his book that he hunts ducks with a Benelli Super Black Eagle .12 gauge, and deer with a Weatherby .300-magnum rifle.

He opposes waiting lists (“anyone who needs a gun for self-defense probably needs it now, not two or three weeks from now”) and was the first American governor to have a concealed-carry license.

His platform states that the second amendment is “the last line of defense against tyranny”.

Bobby Jindal


A spokeswoman for the governor of Louisiana said he owns a gun but declined to give details.

However, the staunchly conservative Mr Jindal’s Instagram feed shows him and his family posing regularly with weapons.

One picture shows him cradling a weapon at a gun store in Iowa.
Mr Jindal suspended his campaign briefly in July after a gunman killed two people and himself in a cinema in Lafayette, Louisiana. He called for states to strengthen their gun laws to ensure that people with reported mental illnesses could not purchase guns.

Rick Santorum


Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The former senator from Pennsylvania did not respond to the survey but said in 2011 that he owned seven guns.

An aide to Mr Santorum told the Daily Caller website that his favourite is a Kimber 1911 pistol.

He has a lifetime A+ rating from the NRA after consistently voting against gun control measures.

He took a break from campaigning in 2011 to go pheasant hunting in Iowa, and afterward spoke breathlessly about the moment his son John shot his first bird.

“There’s only one thing better than getting a bird, and that’s watching your son for the first time getting a bird,” he said.

George Pataki


Republican candidate for president and former New York Governor George Pataki Photo: EPA/CJ GUNTHER

The former governor of New York keeps a shotgun at his home for hunting and protection.

But that has not saved him from an F rating by the NRA – the worst ranking of any of the 17 Republican candidates.

He earned the gun lobby’s wrath in 2000 by signing a set of strict gun laws which banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. They were passed in response to a series of high-profile killings in New York, including a massacre on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993, which left six people dead.

Via: UK Telegraph



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