Rifle. (Ivan Radic/Flickr)

The issue of gun control and gun rights is a relentless point of controversy in the political space. While some advocate for increasing restrictions, others see these restrictions as imposing upon Second Amendment rights.

As the 2022 midterm elections approach, many candidates are sharing their stances on gun laws and their policy plans moving forward should they take office. As decisions regarding gun control and gun rights are frequently points of contention, the issue brings about heated debate in Senate, House, and gubernatorial races alike. Voters are keen to see how changes in representatives may impact these policies across the board.

AllSides examined where the 2022 candidates stand and what each is saying in regards to the controversial topic of gun rights. Let’s take a look at some of the candidates in key races.

Senate Elections

Florida

Val Demings (D)

“This is common sense. When you buy a gun, there should be a basic check to see if you’re a felon, a fugitive, or otherwise ineligible to have a deadly weapon…So many of these tragedies can be prevented with simple, basic policies like background checks.”

Val Demings supports increasing regulations on guns. Throughout her time in the House of Representatives, she has introduced and co-sponsored extensive legislation to promote gun safety. She introduced the Protecting Our Communities Act to strengthen federal gun regulation in addition to co-sponsoring the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act to close loopholes and strengthen gun background checks.


Marco Rubio (R, Incumbent)

“I’m trying to be clear and honest here: someone who has decided to commit this crime, they will find a way to get the gun to do it. It’s also unfair to argue that the reason why people are suffering today is because there’s some great law out there that if we had just passed it, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s not accurate.”

Marco Rubio opposes gun violence but believes restriction measures are largely ineffective. He has repeatedly voiced his views that background checks and gun control are ineffective as those who want to commit violent crime will find a means to do so. He voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill aimed at bolstering gun safety. He also co-sponsored the Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Bill which would allow individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home states to retain these rights in any other state with concealed carry laws. He does however support legislation to create “gun violence restraining orders” or “red flag laws” to remove guns from people who pose a risk to themselves or others.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

New Mexico

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D, Incumbent)

(In reference to the Bipartisan Gun Reform Framework): “New Mexico will benefit from the fundamental, common sense provisions in the Senate proposal, especially the enhanced background checks, investments in school safety and mental health services, and increased penalties for gun trafficking, while preserving the rights of gun owners.”


Michelle Lujan Grisham believes in ensuring gun safety through proper legislation. She supports bolstering gun legislation and has called for a ban on AR-15 style weapons across the state. She also signed an executive order establishing a task force for the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order to promote gun safety and fight gun violence. Further, she signed a red-flag law allowing courts to order removal of guns from those deemed a threat as well as a bill requiring background checks.

Mark Ronchetti (R)

“I completely support the Second Amendment and oppose such a ban. A law-abiding citizen who responsibly handles their guns doesn’t need the government to come knocking on their door. I support stronger penalties for criminals who commit crimes with guns in this state.”

Mark Ronchetti believes strongly in protecting Second Amendment rights. His campaign website shares that he is a gun owner and feels “no freedom is more under attack than our Second Amendment rights.” He opposes a federal ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles and other measures he deems are ploys by liberals to “criminalize law-abiding gun owners.”

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Iowa

Michael Franken (D)

“I will ‘gunsplain’ any NRA member and they will cower in fear with practical applications and anecdotal aspects of it. And I’m not anti-gun. I’m a gun owner. But I’m a responsible gun owner. Unlike those who commit these shootings.”

Michael Franken is not anti-gun, however he supports measures to make sure gun safety is prioritized. He believes more responsibility needs to be put on the gun manufacturing industry as well as gun owners. He supports background checks as well as gun education, citing the practices used by the United States military as a good model to build off of for greater society. 

Chuck Grassley (R)

“I will continue working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, promote responsible gun ownership and advance legislation like the EAGLES Act to prevent mass shootings before they happen, while also protecting Iowans’ Second Amendment and constitutional due process rights.”

Chuck Grassley believes that the Second Amendment must be safeguarded when dealing with gun legislation. He voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill expanding background checks and funding red-flag laws at the state level. He cited concerns with preserving constitutional rights in regards to guns as his reasoning behind his opposition.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Gubernatorial Elections

Colorado

Jared Polis (D, Incumbent)

“While of course this legislation can’t bring any of our fellow Coloradoans back who are no longer with us, we know that this not only can prevent future loss of life, but can also be part of the healing for the Thallas family and so many others impacted by gun violence by a stolen gun.”

Jared Polis supports bolstering legislation in regards to guns and gun safety. Throughout his time in office he has signed a number of new gun bills expanding background checks, returning local control of gun regulations, and establishing the Office of Gun Violence Prevention. He also signed the Vote Without Fear Act, prohibiting open carry firearms at voting sites. Further, he is endorsed by the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

Heidi Ganahl (R)

“And we’ve got to follow the Constitution. I’ve got to trust people and follow the Constitution. I’ve got to defend your Second Amendment rights. I’m the daughter of a police officer. I got concealed carry. I was raised to know how to shoot and we cannot let them degrade our rights anymore at the Capitol.”

Heidi Ganahl describes herself as a “strong defender of the Second Amendment” on her campaign website. She believes that gun legislation in Colorado has grown to be too restrictive in the past few years, citing magazine restrictions as an example.

Danielle Neuschwanger (American Constitution Party)

“Colorado has some of the strictest gun laws yet has more mass shootings than most states. Why’s that? Because passing unconstitutional gun control is insensible, even during times of tragedy.”

“We need more guns, better gun education especially for youth and trained gun owners. We also need less government overreach and politicians passing laws infringing upon 2A.”

Danielle Neuschwanger is a staunch advocate for rolling back legislation that restricts guns. On her campaign website, she shares that she feels every state should have constitutional carry and that there should be no limits on accessories. She also feels background checks should not include a mandatory waiting period. She opposes red flag laws and believes non-violent felony offenders should reobtain gun rights following release. She advocates for more guns and more gun education and opposes government regulations.

Kevin Ruskusky (Libertarian Party)

“Gun deaths in Colorado have increased over 30% in the last decade and I will do everything in my power to reverse that trend. Our Founding Fathers created the 2nd Amendment in a starkly different society than we live in today.  The root of gun safety issues in society today isn’t necessarily unregulated gun ownership but rather mental health treatment and education. I will strive to improve education on mental health and safe gun ownership. By starting there, we can more safely uphold the second amendment by reducing the likelihood of gun violence and danger. We need more education, not more laws.”

Kevin Ruskusky believes in bolstering gun education rather than increasing gun laws. He feels the main issue in gun safety is not unregulated ownership but instead mental health treatment and education. He wants to increase education in these areas while upholding Second Amendment rights.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Georgia

Stacey Abrams (D)

“We must take action to roll back dangerous laws that put guns in the wrong hands and to support responsible gun ownership. As #GAGov, in order to save the lives of our fellow Georgians, I will push for extensive background checks, a ban on assault weapons, expansion of Medicaid, and keeping weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers and predators. I am proud to be the only candidate for #GAGov on either side of the aisle who served in the legislature & never received a stamp of approval from the #NRA. When elected, I will continue to listen to our community’s cry that we champion gun violence prevention efforts.”

Stacey Abrams advocates for increasing regulations in regards to guns to prevent gun violence. Her campaign website shares, if elected, she will pursue policies to strengthen gun safety laws within the state. This includes repealing “criminal carry,” requiring gun owners to apply for a license to exercise concealed carry in public, and closing the gun show/private sales loopholes. She also advocates for universal background checks and limiting gun access for domestic violence offenders.

Brian Kemp (R, Incumbent)

“I hunt, shoot, and carry. During my time in the Senate, I fought to protect and expand our Second Amendment Rights. As governor, I will be on the frontlines fighting for our gun rights.”

Brain Kemp advocates for protecting gun rights and ownership. He signed the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act into law as well as a second measure allowing concealed permit holders from other states to carry in Georgia as well. He opposes Gun Free Zones and voices he would back efforts to end them. He also supports arming teachers as well as campus carry.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Maine

Janet Mills (D, Incumbent)

(Statement from Mills’s spokeswoman Lindsay Crete): “The Governor’s focus has always been to bring together people of different views – including Democrats, Republicans, public safety officials, public health officials, members of the judicial system, advocates, community members, and more – to implement lasting public safety reforms. That is the approach she took in 2019 when the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Maine’s yellow flag law, and that is the approach she will continue to take with any proposal that comes before the Legislature.”

Janet Mills supports some legislation regarding restrictions on guns and opposes others. Mills signed a “yellow flag law,” requiring that a medical professional rule on whether or not an individual is indeed a danger to themselves or others in order to take away their firearms, and that a police officer must issue the request for this procedure to take place. Mills opposes other restrictions however, including raising the age to purchase ammunition from 18 to 21, background checks for third-party gun sales, banning high-capacity magazines, and requiring a license to purchase ammunition.

Paul LePage (R)

“Gun control is a very emotional issue, especially after unstable people use firearms to kill innocent Americans. The media and liberal politicians use these horrific tragedies to demand the government take firearms away from law-abiding citizens…Maine does not need ineffective gun laws that have not worked in those cities. More laws that deprive Mainers of their traditional use of firearms will not stop deranged people or terrorists from killing Americans.”

Paul LePage supports lesser restrictions on guns. He opposes universal background checks. As governor, he signed Legislative Document 652 into law, allowing citizens to carry guns without a permit.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

House Elections

Arizona

District 1

Jevin Hodge (D)

“More than 80% Americans support common sense gun reform. David Schweikert does not. He would rather watch children die than advocate for something UNIVERSALLY supported to address this violence. If you want to change the laws, you have to change the lawmakers.”

Jevin Hodge supports gun reform to increase gun safety. His campaign website shares that he was named a Common Sense Gun advocate by Moms Demand Action and received their endorsement for his stance on strengthening gun laws and advocating for safer communities.

David Schweikert (R, Incumbent)

“Staying true to the principles of our founding documents has long been a priority of mine. Our founding fathers wrote the Second Amendment to protect our citizens’ right to own firearms. Overly aggressive gun control laws tend to penalize lawful gun owners and law-abiding citizens, not the criminals set on using those guns with ill intention.”

David Schweikert is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and rejects gun legislation he feels encroaches upon this right. He sponsored the Concealed Carry Law in Arizona and believes in advocating for these policies at the national level as well. He supports technology upgrades and improved training in regards to background checks, citing legislation such as Trump’s Fix NICS Act to ensure guns stay out of the hands of those with criminal motives.

California

District 47

Katie Porter (D, Incumbent)

“Americans, whether they’re gun owners or not, want to be safe; they care about public safety. They want to be safe in their schools and their places of worship. And that means we need to have common sense gun violence prevention strategies that work.”

Katie Porter supports legislation and reform to reduce gun violence and increase gun safety. She is passionate about standing up to the gun lobby as well as advocating for safe gun storage. She is a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and aided in the passage of gun violence prevention legislation including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. She also co-sponsored Ethan’s Law as well as the Violence Against Women Act, which included a provision to restrict domestic violence and stalking offenders from obtaining firearms. Further, she cosponsored the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act of 2019. She supports banning assault weapons as well as requiring background checks on all gun sales.

Scott Baugh (R)

“You’re not going to solve the gun violence issue in this country by taking away constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”

Scott Baugh believes in ensuring that gun laws do not threaten Second Amendment rights for law-abiding gun owners. He has expressed sympathy for red flag laws and their efforts to curtail gun violence, however he does not support other proposed measures that he sees as encroaching upon these Second Amendment rights.

Amy Phan West (R)

“Giving up our guns means giving up our freedom.”

Amy Phan West believes in safeguarding Second Amendment rights. Her campaign website shares that as a “constitutional conservative,” protecting these rights are of utmost importance to her and that, if elected, she will ensure it is upheld.

New York

District 19

Josh Riley (D, Working Families Party)

“Another day, another school shooting. As a dad, I’m sick and tired of politicians’ thoughts and prayers. As a candidate, I pledge to take action.”

Josh Riley believes in common-sense legislation to combat gun violence and increase gun safety. His campaign website indicates he supports improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), tailoring legislation to restrict large capacity magazines and “weapons of war,” prohibiting domestic violence offenders from obtaining guns, and repealing the Dickey Amendment. 

Marcus Molinaro (R, Conservative Party)

(From a WSKG report on an Endicott Town Hall): “Molinaro was also asked where he stands on restricting access to some firearms. He reiterated that he doesn’t support a federal prohibition on some semi-automatic assault weapons, but would rather see a more streamlined and resourced system for background checks, direct in-person services to identify people suffering from trauma, and to more aggressively prosecute gun-related crimes.”

Molinaro believes in some necessary restrictions on guns, however opposes other gun control measures. He opposes a federal ban on semi-automatic assault firearms and voted against the Prohibiting Domestic Violence Offenders from Possessing Firearms bill. However, he supports streamlining background checks and more aggressive prosecutions for crimes involving guns. 


Rose Mercer is a Content and Research Intern at AllSides. She has a Lean Left bias.

This blog was reviewed and edited by Henry A. Brechter, Managing Editor (Center bias).

Image Credit: (Ivan Radic/Flickr)