Mike Pence and Guns

Governor Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s nominee for Vice President, has a long political career of supporting dangerous policies pushed by the gun lobby—all while receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the gun lobby to support his political ambitions. Rather than strengthening public safety laws—even as Indiana continued to supply crime guns to cities around the country—Governor Pence has parroted the gun lobby’s talking points and promoted their extremist agenda of pushing guns everywhere, for everyone, no questions asked.


Pence has consistently benefited from financial and political support from the gun lobby, receiving tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and an “A” rating from the NRA.


  • The NRA endorsed Pence in each of his elections between 2002 and 2012. [NRA—PVF 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002.]
  • Pence has received an ‘A’ grade from the NRA six times between 2002 and 2012. [NRA—PVF 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002.]
  • Over the course of his political career, gun groups have contributed a grand total of $35,794.07, with the NRA contributing $28,518.07. [Center For Responsive Politics, accessed on 7/12/16; Indiana Secretary Of State, accessed 7/12/16.]
  • Gun Owners Of America rated Pence between an 82% and 100% eight times. [Vote Smart, Mike Pence, accessed 7/12/16.]
  • Pence was given coveted speaking roles at the NRA Convention in 2014 and 2016, where he bragged that Indiana did not pass any laws to address gun violence after 20 children and 6 adults were killed at the Sandy Hook School. [NRA-ILA, video, 5/20/16.]

As a Member of Congress, Pence repeatedly sided with the gun lobby and voted for legislation that jeopardizes public safety.

  • He voted in favor of national concealed carry reciprocity, a policy that would require every state to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state and allow dangerous people, including certain violent criminals, sex offenders, and people who have never had any safety training, to carry hidden, loaded guns in public all over the country. [Roll Call 852, H.R. 822, 11/16/11.]
  • He voted multiple times in support of PLCAA, legislation that provided unprecedented immunity from liability for gun manufacturers. [Roll Call 476, H.R. 5092, 11/26/06; Roll Call 534, S. 397, 10/20/05.]
  • He voted for the ATF Modernization Act of 2006, which would have undermined law enforcement authority to prevent gun trafficking and hold gun dealers accountable for irresponsible, dangerous behavior. [Roll Call 476, H.R. 5092, 11/26/06.]
  • He voted for an amendment that blocked funding to a program that required gun locks to be sold with a firearm. [Roll Call 343, H.Amdt 1156 to H.R.5672, 6/28/06.]

As Governor, Pence enacted a number of extreme gun policies supported by the gun lobby.

  • He expanded Indiana’s PLCAA law, providing even greater immunity from liability for gun manufacturers. [Indiana General Assembly, SB 98, 05/04/14.]
  • He signed a bill that allows firearms to be kept in vehicles on school property. [Indiana General Assembly, SB 229, 03/26/2014.]
  • He signed legislation allowing high-powered rifles to be used on private property for deer hunting. [Indiana General Assembly, HB 1231, 3/22/16.]
  • He signed legislation that removed prohibitions on short-barreled shotguns. [Indiana General Assembly, SB 433, 4/29/15.]
  • Following the Chattanooga shooting, Pence recruited the NRA to train the Indiana National Guard on concealed carry, despite concerns expressed by national military officials. [On The Issue, accessed 7/12/16; The Huffington Post, 8/21/15.]

The laws enacted by Governor Pence further undermined Indiana’s already weak gun laws – which pose a dire cost for other states.

  • Over the last five years, 10,000 guns sold in Indiana were recovered at crime scenes outside the state and successfully traced. [ATF Trace data 2011-15]
  • Between 2009-13 nearly 1 in 5 guns recovered at Chicago crime scenes was sourced from Indiana, making it the largest out-of-state source for crime guns. [Tracing The Guns: The Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago, 11/2/15]
  • Because Indiana doesn’t require background checks for gun sales it is an easy target for gun traffickers. For example, between 2009-13, 22 crime guns recovered in Chicago were traced to a single Indiana purchaser. [Tracing The Guns: The Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago, 11/2/15]
  • An Everytown report on gun trafficking, Business As Usual, described one case, in which a man purchased more than 200 guns from unlicensed sellers at gun shows in Indiana and then carried them back to Illinois where he sold them to criminals and gang members. Among them was a gun used in a May 2012 shooting. When asked during the trial whether he cared that he was selling firearms to individuals planning on committing crimes, the defendant responded, “Am I supposed to care?” [Everytown, Business as Usual,11/12/15]

On the campaign trail, Pence has defended Trump’s statements inciting violence against Hillary Clinton and other insensitive comments about gun violence in America.

  • September 2016: Pence defended Trump after he made comments inciting violence against Clinton after he called for her security detail to be disarmed to "see what happens." Pence called it "absolute nonsense" to suggest that Trump was inciting violence. [Reuters, 9/18/16]
  • Pence continued to justify Trump's comments by questioning why Clinton would deny everyday Americans the right to self-defense after she has utilized a security detail for over 30 years. [CNN, 9/18/16]
  • August 2016: Pence defended Trump after he called on gun owners to assassinate a President Clinton over a potential nomination of an anti-gun Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Scalia. Pence claimed that Trump was only rallying gun owners to vote. [CNN, 8/10/16; The Hill, 8/9/16]
  • Pence defended Trump's insensitive comments in the wake of the deadly shooting of NBA star Dwayne Wade's cousin when Trump congratulated himself for being right on gun policy in Chicago. [NBC Chicago, 8/30/16; Twitter, 8/27/16]