Indiana Governor Mike Pence is just 35 days away from potentially becoming the next vice president elect of the United States.
Donald Trump’s running mate is a Republican who served in the House of Representatives for over a decade prior to becoming the 50th governor of the state of Indiana. One issue that’s very important to a lot of voters in Pence’s party is gun control, with many Republicans looking for a candidate with a history of supporting the second amendment.
So what has been Mike Pence’s voting record when it comes to gun control legislation? Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Has an ‘A’ Rating From the NRA
Mike Pence has an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. This indicates a pro-gun record, and it is the group’s highest possible score. They base this on the individual’s history of voting for or against gun control related bills, and Republicans tend to look for an ‘A’ rating while Democrats look for an ‘F’ rating.
Pence is a card-carrying NRA member, and he has spoken many times at the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum, most recently giving a speech to the organization in May of 2016. This was before Pence was picked as Donald Trump’s running mate.
“You cannot support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States and promise the right of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed,” Pence told the organization in his speech. “It just doesn’t add up.”
2. He Voted to Prevent Individuals From Suing Gun Manufacturers
While he was a member of the House of Representatives, Pence cast many votes that would appeal to pro-gun Republicans, including a vote in October 2005 for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
This act would prevent firearms dealers from being held accountable when guns they sell are used to commit crimes. In the House of Representatives, it was passed with 283 votes for, 144 votes against. After being passed in both the House and the Senate, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26th, 2005.
Hillary Clinton voted against this bill when she was a senator, and she has stated that she would repeal the law if she became president.
“Probably one of the most egregious, wrong pieces of legislation that ever passed the Congress when it comes to this issue is to protect gun sellers and gun makers from liability,” Clinton said of this bill. “They are the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability. They can sell a gun to someone they know they shouldn’t, and they won’t be sued. There will be no consequences.”
3. He Voted for a National Concealed Carry Standard
Another one of Pence’s pro-gun acts came in 2009 when he supported the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act. This bill said that an individual who has a permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state can carry that concealed firearm in another state.
Pence was a co-sponsor, but the bill did not end up being put up for a vote. It was reintroduced in 2011, and at this time Pence voted for the bill and it passed the House in a 272 to 154 vote. It was not put up for a vote in the senate, however.
The National Rifle Association cited this piece of legislation when endorsing Pence in his run for governor in 2012.
“Pence cosponsored and voted for H.R. 822, ‘The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act,’ which would ensure that law-abiding Americans with valid concealed handgun permits would be able to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry,” the NRA said.
4. He Co-sponsored a Bill to Loosen Restrictions on Interstate Purchases
In 2011, Pence co-sponsored the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act. This bill would make it easier for gun manufacturers to sell firearms to individuals who are out of state, as long as the particular transaction does not go against anything in that state’s laws.
The NRA strongly supported this bill, saying that the current restrictions in place on interstate gun sales are “antiquated and unnecessary.” The bill did not go up for a vote but has been introduced several times since, including in 2015.
This bill would also loosen the restrictions on gun manufacturers’ abilities to sell weapons at gun shows.
5. He Signed a Bill Allowing Guns in School Parking Lots
While governor of Indiana, Mike Pence has signed into law several bills that were praised by the National Rifle Association.
One of these was SB229, which allows adults to have weapons in school parking lots. Prior to this, it was a felony for legal gun owners to posses weapons while at a school. However, under Pence’s new law, guns still need to be concealed and locked in a car. Student members of the school’s gun club can also have guns in their cars as long as they receive permission from the principal, according to the USA Today.
Pence argued that this was a common sense piece of legislation that would prevent parents from being charged with a felony for having their legally-owned gun in the car while dropping their child off at school. Not everyone was as enthusiastic about the bill, though.
“There’s been so much concern about school security and school safety, so why would we do something that has the potential of easily jeopardizing that with readily accessible guns in cars on school property,” JT Coopman, executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, said to The Indy Star.
As governor, Pence also signed Senate Bill 433, allowing individuals to own short barreled shotguns.