In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer earlier this week, former pizza executive and GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain took a surprisingly liberal view on gun control:
BLITIZER: Let’s talk about gun control. Do you support any gun control?
CAIN: I support the Second Amendment.
BLITZER: So you don’t? What’s the answer on gun control?
CAIN: The answer on gun control is 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.
BLITZER: Should states or local governments be allowed to the gun situation . . .CAIN: YesBLITZER: So the answer is yes?CAIN: Yes. The answer is yes, that should be a state’s decision.
Cain’s position — that Congress can’t regulate guns but states can — not only places him well to the left of the NRA, it also places him at odds with the Supreme Court. In McDonald v. Chicago, the justices held 5–4 that the Second Amendment applies equally to the states and to the federal government. So any gun control law that Congress could not enact also cannot be enacted by state or local governments as Cain would prefer.
Cain’s relatively moderate stance on gun control also places him well to the left of the Republican Party. Senate Republicans savaged Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings because she took the Herman Cain position on gun control while she was a lower court judge — although Sotomayor’s decision was the correct one because it came down before the Supreme Court changed its interpretation of the Second Amendment in McDonald.
To be fair to Cain, however, it is much more likely that he simply doesn’t know anything about the Second Amendment than that he actually is staking out a somewhat liberal position on guns. In his first Sunday show interview, Cain exposed his utter ignorance of foreign policy by not understanding what the Palestinian “right of return” is. Cain launched his campaign with a speech that mixed up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He claimed that Congress is powerless to regulate bankruptcy, even though the Constitution says exactly the opposite. And he embraced a wildly unconstitutional plan to force Islamic federal employees to swear a loyalty oath.
In other words, Cain is clearly more interested in making the Constitution up as he goes along than in actually following it.