Herman Cain and the Second Amendment

According to several polls, Herman Cain sits atop the Republican field in the race to secure the Republican nomination.

Cain is one of a few Republican hopefuls who have taken a strong stand on issues that are important to political conservatives.  But where does he stand on the Second Amendment?

Cain has no legislative record.   We have no history in public office by which to judge him — which is why it’s so important that GOA gets an answer back from him on GOA’s Presidential Survey.

Otherwise, we only have bits and pieces of speeches and interviews that Cain has engaged in.    And while those statements help somewhat, they also raise more questions than they answer.

For example, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer earlier this year, Cain expressed strong support for gun rights:  “I support, strongly support, the Second 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 Second Amendment.”

But in answer to a follow-up question asking whether states or local governments should be allowed to impose gun control restrictions, Cain said, “Yes. The answer is yes, that should be a state’s decision.”

That’s an answer that needs further explanation, especially given the fact that almost one year earlier to the day, the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that states and localities were limited with respect to interfering with a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.

Now, to be fair, it could be that Cain is thinking:  As President, it’s none of my business what the states do on guns or any other issue.  A true constitutionalist (unlike the current President) would understand that the federal government has limited powers and is restricted to exercising the 17 or 18 powers that are spelled out in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Moreover, a true constitutionalist would understand that the states — as James Madison said — have “plenary powers” to try different approaches.  As goes the cliché: the states are separate “laboratories” for public policy experiments.

Obviously, we would like to hear answers to specific policy issues that Mr. Cain would be faced with as President.  And that’s why GOA’s Presidential Survey is so important.  It asks about concealed carry recognition, the renewal of the semi-auto ban and repealing gun restrictions (like the Brady law and various import bans).  Plus it gets the candidates’ views on issues such as UN gun control, undoing existing anti-gun Executive Orders and reining in the ATF.

GOA has sent a survey to Herman Cain, but so far, he has not returned a completed questionnaire.

Please stay tuned, we’ll update this section as soon as we get his completed survey.