We speculated in an earlier article about who a hypothetical President Hillary Clinton—we’ll understand if you need to take a walk and clear your head after reading that phrase—would nominate to the Supreme Court. While the answers were interesting, we were hampered by the fact that judges often don’t have obvious records on political issues; it’s not always easy to tell where they stand on guns.
Not so with Hillary’s rumored vice-presidential shortlist, the members of which have voting records to examine. They have also been quite vocal on their feelings regarding guns and gun control, with one partial exception. Compiled from multiple media sources, these are the individuals who seem to be receiving the most buzz as potential Hillary VPs:
This would be a strange choice, given that he’s already the vice president. But after Biden decided not to run against Hillary for the Democratic nomination, she cryptically remarked that “… history isn’t finished with Joe Biden,” leading many to wonder whether she wanted him as her own running mate.
Biden’s stance on guns, he loves every kind of gun control you can think of, yet he also has a penchant for recommending non-sanctioned forms of firearm use. Appointed head of President Obama’s campaign to institute new gun control, he might be more than happy to serve as Hillary Clinton’s anti-gun attack dog.
The senator from Massachusetts is currently in an odd position, being discussed as a potential running mate for Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Stylistically she comes off as a cross between the two of them, so it’s not necessarily clear what new qualities she would bring to the table. But she’s certainly vocal on guns, recently predicting the defeat of the NRA over gun control (don’t hold your breath). Her voting record features support of a wide range of anti-gun bills.
The governor of Massachusetts was a prominent supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and would be enticing to Hillary for his ability to attract African-American voters. The big problem is that he doesn’t actually seem all that keen on her as a presidential candidate; but as President Obama appears interested in passing the torch to Hillary, he might be able to persuade Patrick to join her team. Gov. Patrick signed into law (and spoke positively of) a gun-control package that, among other things, gave Massachusetts police chiefs sweeping authority to deny gun permits to individuals.
It’s that old principle—“keep your friends close and your enemies closer”—that probably inspired Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State under Barack Obama in the first place. She may feel inclined to continue his “team of rivals” strategy by giving Martin O’Malley a position of influence. O’Malley has different views from Hillary on some issues, helping him to stand outside her shadow, but they’re both extreme in their hatred for guns. Of course, the implosion of his presidential campaign may not speak well of him as a power player.
The junior senator from New Jersey is popular and charismatic, although some observers think his lack of experience would keep voters from supporting him for one of the nation’s top offices. While Booker has wavered on certain gun-control measures, he is overall a squarely anti-gun candidate. As mayor of Newark, he was even a member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Intriguingly, the person most widely touted at the moment as Hillary’s running mate pick has probably kept quieter about guns than anyone else on this list. Along with his twin brother, Joaquín—who has also picked up a smattering of VP rumors—San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has avoided framing himself as a particularly anti-gun politician—he notably declined calls to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Yet when pressed on the issue, Julián hits most of the expected notes: He applauds “responsible gun owners” and casts himself broadly as a supporter of gun rights—with some additional regulations, of course, such as “closing the gun-show loophole.” He also has provided Hillary a forum to bash the NRA.
If Hillary Clinton does secure the Democratic nomination and picks Castro as her running mate, we can reasonably expect him to find his voice as a crusader against guns. But for now, he is generally content to keep mum on the issue. Maybe he has his finger on the pulse of American public opinion a little more firmly than Hillary does.