It can be difficult to determine where your favorite Presidential Candidate stands on the Second Amendment if you only listen to their standard talking points. As a result it is helpful to look at their ratings from the gun rights organizations that you trust. Unfortunately the NRA does not rate candidates specifically for the primary, so you have to do some digging through the NRA PVF Archive to find NRA ratings from past elections. For your convenience, I've done the digging for you, and below is what I found for the current top contenders along with the date that the NRA rated them.
NRA PVF Ratings:
- A+ Rick Perry (2010 election for Texas Governor)
- A+ Rick Santorum (2006 election for Pennsylvania US Senate)
- A- Ron Paul (2010 election for US House of Representatives)
- B Mitt Romney (2002 election for Massachusetts Governor - prior to signing 2004 legislation)
- Newt Gingrich - I can't find the ratings on Gingrich since the archive only goes back to 2002 and he last ran for office in 1998 but rest assured that Newt Gingrich is a big government progressive with plenty of Gun Rights issues to be concerned about.
Unlike the NRA which rates incumbant candidates based on a mathematical grade scale measurment of specific gun rights votes and actions, the GOA rates candidates on a subjective gut feeling of the GOA President, so I recommend considering the GOA ratings as the subjective opinion of a single gun rights activist. However, here are the GOA 2012 Presidential Primary candidate ratings which includes some details on why the GOA rated some of them the way they did.
Update 1: Clarification from the NRA on the 2004 Legislation Mitt Romney Signed