In an interview concerning the tragic shooting on Texas A&M; campus on Monday, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) took a surprisingly moderate position on gun regulation. Although Perry rejected the suggestion that the shooting — the third high profile shooting in just one month — justified gun regulation in Texas, he also indicated that each state should be able to decide on its own whether or not to ban guns:
PERRY: When it gets back to this issue of taking guns away from law abiding citizens and somehow know this will make our country safer, I don’t agree with that. I think most people in Texas don’t agree with that, and that is a state by state issue frankly that should be decided in the states and not again a rush to Washington, D.C. to centralize the decision making, and them to decide what is in the best interest for the citizens and the people of Florida and Texas. That’s for the people of these states to decide.
Perry’s position, that each state should get to decide whether to “tak[e] guns away” from its citizens places him well to the left of the Supreme Court and the nation’s largest gun lobby. In McDonald v. Chicago, the five conservative justices held that the Second Amendment applies equally to the federal government and to state governments, so an absolute ban on guns would not be constitutional if enacted at the state level (although bans on “dangerous and unusual” weapons would remain valid). The National Rifle Association was the plaintiff in a sister case to McDonald.
Allowing each state to set its own gun policy, the position that Perry seems to embrace today, closely tracks the views expressed by dissenting Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor in McDonald.