Thank you for asking for my responses to your questionnaire. I realize that your efforts are designed to support values which you sincerely hold dearly. I also cherish the constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens through the Second Amendment. So it is with tremendous self-examination and thought that I am writing this letter to respond to your survey.
First, there are a number of questions on your survey that ask for my commitment on very specific legislation that is either pending or may be proposed. I find it uncomfortable that your survey and this process somehow implies that if I make a commitment on legislation that I would get your support. That strikes me as being the kind of quid pro quo agreement that has landed too many state leaders either in jail or out of office in recent years. If you walked into my office and told me you would provide endorsements, financial backing and votes in return for my commitment on legislation I believe we would rapidly be approaching grounds for an indictable offense.
Because I uphold the highest ethical standard, I will not entertain or make a commitment on any specific legislation.
But let me make my position clear. I will never favor taking any existing constitutional right away from any American unless we, as a people, come to the conclusion that restraint of some rights helps ensure the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by all.
The first amendment to our Constitution guarantees free speech. But we, as a people, have long recognized that speech can be a powerful weapon and as such must be restrained in ways to protect the rights of others. The right to bear arms is central to the creation and preservation of our republic but it clearly is no more central than our right to free speech.
So, I stand with those who would protect the liberties provided through our second amendment. As Governor, I will fight to ensure the preservation of all rights guaranteed by our Constitution.