Gun owners now have one of their own on a presidential ticket. Rep. Paul Ryan recalled “deer camp over in Fairchild in Eau Claire County” in his remarks after being chosen as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate. The Wisconsin Republican is an avid hunter who’s been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.
Mr. Ryan, who owns a rifle and a shotgun, is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). “I know firsthand Paul’s commitment to the Second Amendment,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, to The Washington Times. “We’ve given him an A rating and endorsed him every cycle he’s been in Congress.”
Mr. Ryan is a co-sponsor of the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House in November but has been blocked from a vote in the Democratic Senate. The bill would allow gun owners with valid concealed-handgun permits the right to carry in any state that doesn’t ban the right to bear arms. He also voted in 2009 for the law that allowed for concealed carry and legal transport in national parks and wildlife refuges.
In April, he voted in favor of the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, which would promote hunting throughout the country. Mr. Ryan was co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and remains a member.
The veep candidate’s wife, Janna Little Ryan, is also a shooting enthusiast. In the mid-1990s, she co-founded the Washington Women’s Shooting Club with Suzie Brewster, wife of former Rep. Bill Brewster, Oklahoma Democrat. “Janna was instrumental in bringing women into shooting sports around the D.C. area,” said Jill Dowell, a longtime friend of Mrs. Ryan’s and a member of the club, which meets quarterly at Prince George’s Trap & Skeet.
If Mr. Romney is elected president, Mr. Ryan would have to go through the District’s gun-registration process to keep guns in the capital city, which he voted in the House to repeal. He also signed a congressional friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court’s 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller to support the position that the 30-year handgun ban in the nation’s capital was unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ryan will have to register his firearms with the Metropolitan Police Department if he wants to keep them at the vice-presidential residence. That means he personally will have to go to police headquarters to take a written test, be fingerprinted, stand in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles to pay fees and then wait 10 days for approval to bring his arms to the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Unlike Obama administration officials, there is little doubt a Vice President Ryan would oppose policies like the so-called “assault weapons ban” or prohibiting ammunition sales by mail. He said on Sunday in Waukesha, Wis., that America was founded on the idea that “our rights come from nature and God, not from government.” Mr. Ryan understands self-defense is a right, not a privilege.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.