As New York City mayor, Rudolph Giuliani was the favorite Republican of gun control advocates. He favored a licensing system for gun owners that would require trigger locks and firearms training, and he lobbied Congress to outlaw military-style assault weapons. At Bill Clinton’s signing ceremony for the 1994 crime bill with the assault weapons ban, Giuliani had a prominent seat in the front row.
The New York Times reports that as a 2008 presidential candidate, Giuliani talks very differently about guns as he tries to allay the concerns of Republican primary voters. He supports the right of individuals to bear arms, and says that states – and generally not the federal government – should decide whether to put some limits on that right. He spoke in favor of a federal appeals court ruling this month that struck down a District of Columbia ordinance barring people from keeping handguns in their homes. Giuliani's campaign says it is not clear that he would support a measure he once championed: an assault weapons ban. People on both sides of the gun control issue who say Giuliani has changed positions, not just language, on a matter of vital importance to many voters. As mayor he advocated national standards, while recently he said gun control issues should be decided by state and local governments.