Even in the early days after the Tucson shootings, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was vague about which if any new gun control measures Pres. Obama would support, saying only that there would be an opportunity to evaluate proposals and noting the president's nominal, albeit quiet, support for the expired assault weapons ban.
The potential 2012 Republican field is the most gun-friendly group of political officials in recent history. It's led by Palin, who was introduced to the country through pictures of her sniping wolves from helicopters. South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) sponsored a controversial amendment in 2009 that would allow handgun owners to supersede state laws restricting their transportation.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) earned A+ ratings from the NRA during their time as governors. Former House Speaker Newt Gingich (R), Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) all have party-line records on gun control.
The only prospective White House candidates whose stances on gun control have changed come from the Northeast, and their evolution helped better position them in the Republican primary. Most notably, former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney slightly shifted his position on gun rights before the 2008 primary. He was followed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).
Otherwise, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) don't hew to party lines on gun control, but both have also insisted, repeatedly and unequivocally, that they will not run for president in 2012.
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