Rick Santorum on The Second Amendment

Last Updated : Jan 11, 2012

Summary

Senator Santorum has a mixed record on the second amendment. Some of Senator Santorum's record indicates that he supports strong second amendment rights. In 1993, Senator Santorum voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, the Brady Bill. In 2004, he also voted against an extension of the Assault Weapons ban, and against an amendment to require background checks at gun shows.

On the other hand, much of Senator Santorum's record shows support for gun control to deter crime. In 1997, he voted for an omnibus spending bill that included the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban. This legislation would have made it illegal for men convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or who have a restraining order to own a gun. In 2004, Senator Santorum also voted for legislation to require child locks on all weapons.

That same legislation contained the Gun Free School Zone Act. That legislation made it illegal to be in possession of a firearm on school grounds.

in 1996, Senator Santorum co-sponsored legislation to increase mandatory minimum sentences for criminals possessing firearms. Specifically, the legislation would have increased penalties regarding using or carrying a firearm and using or carrying a firearm while in possession of armor piercing ammunition during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking.

In addition to these items, Senator Santorum has repeatedly supported Project Exile. Project Exile was a federal program started in Richmond, Virginia in 1997. The project was designed to shift the prosecution of illegal technical gun possession offenses from state courts to federal court, where they carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968. In 2000 and 2001, Senator Santorum co-sponsored legislation to implement this program. Specifically, that legislation would have amended the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to provide firearms sentencing incentive grants to eligible States that:

  1. demonstrate that they have implemented firearms sentencing laws requiring that any person who uses or carries a firearm during and in relation to any violent crime or serious drug trafficking crime be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years (without the possibility of parole) in addition to the punishment provided for such crime, or requiring that any person who possesses a firearm, having at least one prior conviction for a violent crime, shall be sentenced to five years' imprisonment (without the possibility of parole);
  2. or can demonstrate that they have in effect an equivalent Federal prosecution agreement;
  3. and demonstrate that they have or will implement a public awareness and community support program that seeks to build support for, and warns potential violators of, such firearms sentencing laws;
  4. and provide assurances that they will coordinate with Federal prosecutors and Federal law enforcement agencies to promote Federal involvement and cooperation in the enforcement of laws within that State and will allocate resources in a manner calculated to reduce crime in the high-crime areas of the State. 

 

Protection of Lawful Commerce Act

On July 28, 2005 Senator Santorum spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Protection of lawful commerce Act. In that speech, Senator Santorum discusses his support for Project Exile and his support for that program in Philadelphia, PA. 

Project Exile was a federal program started in Richmond, Virginia in 1997. Project Exile shifted the prosecution of illegal technical gun possession offenses to federal court, where they carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, rather than in state court.

Note that federal law (18 U.S.C. sec. 922 & 924) provides for a penalty of ten years in federal prison for being a "prohibited person" i.e. a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, as well as for falsifying information in order to obtain one, or furnishing a gun to a convicted felon.

 

2012 Presidential Campaign Website Statements

 

Voting Record

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

In 2005, the US Senate voted on S 397 - The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The act sought to protect gun manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers from being sued for crimes or accidents involving the weapons they sold or manufactured. The legislation came to a vote in July of 2005 and passed the Senate with a vote of 65-31. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

The Senate attempted to pass Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2004. The bill got very little support, failing in an 8-90 vote. Rick Santorum voted against the the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Rick Santorum voted against the the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Amendment - Cops carrying firearms

As an amendment to the Lawful Commerce Act, in March of 2004 the Senate voted on an amendment to exempt qualified current and former law enforcement officers from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns. The amendment was agreed to 91-8. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the amendment to exempt qualified current and former law enforcement officers from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the amendment to exempt qualified current and former law enforcement officers from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns.

Amendment - Background Checks

In an amendment to the lawful commerce act, the Senate voted to require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at events that provide a venue for the sale, offer for sale, transfer, or exchange of firearms, and for other purposes. The amendment was agreed to 53-46 with most Democrats supporting the amemdment and most Republicans oppossed to it. Rick Santorum voted against the amendment to require background checks at all events.

Rick Santorum voted against the amendment to require background checks at all events.

Amendment - Assoult Weapons Ban

In an amendment to the lawful commerce act, the Senate voted on a 10 year extension to the assault weapons ban. The amendment was agreed to in a 52-47 vote. Rick Santorum voted against the 10 year extension of the assault weapons ban.

Rick Santorum voted against the 10 year extension of the assault weapons ban.

Amendment - Child Safety Devices

An amendment to the lawful commerce act was the to require the provision of a child safety device in connection with the transfer of a handgun and to provide safety standards for child safety devices. The amendment passed 70-27. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the amendment to require child safety devices.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the amendment to require child safety devices.

Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban

In 1997, the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban passed as an amendment to the Omnibus spending bill for that year. The act banned shipment, transport, ownership and use of guns or ammunition by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, or who are under a restraining (protection) order for domestic abuse in all 50 states. The act also makes it unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to such persons. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the legislation containing the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the legislation containing the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban.

Gun Free School Zones Act

In 1997, the Gun Free School Zone Act passed as part of the Omnibus spending bill for that year. The act banned the possession of a firearm while in a school zone. The text of the legislation also contained a number of findings about the dangers of firearms to the nation. It was passed in the same legislation as the Domestic Violence Offender Ban. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Gun Free School Zones Act.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Gun Free School Zones Act.

Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act

The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act was passed in response to an attack on President Reagan in which Secretary Brady was injured. The 1993 law required gun purchasers to pass a background check to ensure that they were not a felon or did not fall into a number of other prohibitive classes. The measure passed the house 238-189. Rick Santorum voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act.

Rick Santorum voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-109; Bill Number-S 397; Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act - Cosponsor

A bill to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2599; Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 - Cosponsor

The Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 would have prohibited any U.S. officer or employee, or person operating under color of federal law, under control of a federal official, or providing services to such person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, from: (1) seizing, or authorizing seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under federal or state law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation; (2) requiring registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by federal or state law; (3) prohibiting possession of any firearm in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited; or (4) prohibiting the carrying of a firearm by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a federal agency in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency.

Session-107; Bill Number-S 2268; Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act - Cosponsor

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act sought to direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish and maintain a list of each person that notifies the Secretary that it is a manufacturer or seller that is: (1) licensed to engage in interstate or foreign commerce of a firearm (including antique firearm) or ammunition product; or (2) is a trade association representing such manufacturers or sellers. Declares that any lawful conduct carried out by a manufacturer or seller in interstate or foreign commerce of a firearm or ammunition product, or lawful conduct carried out by a trade association in the course of representing such manufacturers or sellers, shall not be the basis for imposing a restriction on such commerce (the award of civil damages, equitable relief, or any other specified limitation) as a result of harm caused by the criminal or other unlawful misuse of such firearm or ammunition product by any other person.

Session-104; Bill Number-S 1612; Increased Mandatory Minimums - Cosponsor

This law would have revised Federal criminal code provisions regarding using or carrying a firearm, and using or carrying a firearm while in possession of armor piercing ammunition capable of being fired in that firearm, during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime to make penalties under such provisions applicable to possessing a firearm under such circumstances. Directs the United States Sentencing Commission: (1) to review and, if appropriate, amend the sentencing guidelines and policy statements of the Commission to enhance the sentence of any defendant who discharges a firearm during or in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime; and (2) in carrying out such provision, to ensure that there is reasonable consistency with other Federal sentencing guidelines, avoid duplicative punishment for substantially the same offense, and take into account any mitigating circumstances that might justify an exception.

Session-106; Bill Number-S 2390; Project Exile: The Safe Streets and Neighborhoods Act of 2000 - Cosponsor

Amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to direct the Attorney General to provide firearms sentencing incentive grants to eligible States that: (1) demonstrate that they have implemented firearms sentencing laws requiring that any person who uses or carries a firearm during and in relation to any violent crime or serious drug trafficking crime be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years (without the possibility of parole) in addition to the punishment provided for such crime, or requiring that any person who possesses a firearm, having at least one prior conviction for a violent crime, shall be sentenced to five years' imprisonment (without the possibility of parole); or (2) can demonstrate that they have in effect an equivalent Federal prosecution agreement; and (3) demonstrate that they have or will implement a public awareness and community support program that seeks to build support for, and warns potential violators of, such firearms sentencing laws; and (4) provide assurances that they will coordinate with Federal prosecutors and Federal law enforcement agencies to promote Federal involvement and cooperation in the enforcement of laws within that State and will allocate resources in a manner calculated to reduce crime in the high-crime areas of the State. Sets forth allowable uses for such grants, including to: (1) support law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, courts, probation officers, correctional officers, the juvenile justice system, the improvement of criminal history records, or case management programs involving the sharing of information about serious offenders; (2) carry out such a public awareness and community support program; and (3) build or expand correctional facilities. Sets forth the allocation formula for grants, authorizes appropriations, and sets forth reporting requirements.

Session-107; Bill Number-S 619; Project Exile: The Safe Streets and Neighborhoods Act of 2001 - Cosponsor

Amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to direct the Attorney General to award firearms sentencing incentive grants to eligible States that: (1) demonstrate that they have implemented laws requiring that any person who uses or carries a firearm in any violent crime or serious drug trafficking crime be sentenced to not less than five years in prison (without the possibility of parole) in addition to the punishment provided for such crime, or requiring that any person who possesses a firearm, having at least one prior conviction for a violent crime, be sentenced to five years' imprisonment (without the possibility of parole); or (2) can demonstrate that they have in effect an equivalent Federal prosecution agreement; and (3) demonstrate that they have or will implement a public awareness and community support program that seeks to build support for, and warns potential violators of, such firearms sentencing laws; and (4) provide assurances that they will coordinate with Federal prosecutors and Federal law enforcement agencies and will allocate resources to reduce crime in high-crime areas. Sets forth allowable uses for such grants, including to: (1) support law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, courts, probation officers, correctional officers, the juvenile justice system, the improvement of criminal history records, or case management programs involving the sharing of information about serious offenders; (2) carry out such a public awareness and community support program; and (3) build or expand correctional facilities.

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