In last night's Republican debate in Charleston, S.C., gun policy got more air time than it has in any of the GOP face-offs this cycle, reports The Trace. Senator Marco Rubio questioned Governor Chris Christie's past support for assault rifle limits, Christie parried by pointing to modest gun reform bills he has vetoed, and Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump took turns asserting their perfect fealty to gun rights. On guns, there's not much for the party's candidates to argue about. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose no-compromise stance on gun rights has earned him the endorsement of Gun Owners of America, summed up last night's back-and-forth succinctly: in a Republican primary, “unless you are clinically insane, you are going to say you support the Second Amendment.”
Last night, Rubio reiterated that he is “convinced” that Obama wants to rescind the Second Amendment. In a campaign ad, Rubio dramatically cautions that Obama's plan is to “take away our guns.” Bush said “the first impulse of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is to take rights away from law-abiding citizens.” No candidate is choosing a more moderate gun stance as a way of standing out despite the fact that a recent Reuters poll says 44 percent of Republicans believe that the next president should tighten gun laws. Eitan Hersh, a Yale political scientist, says the uniformity is a product of varying voter intensity; there are GOP voters in favor of more restrictions, it's just not the most important issue for them.