I'm not going to get into the current state of "Second Amendment" jurisprudence to say anything other than it is quite friendly to what is called "reasonable regulation". I already went through that in pretty clear detail in the Cutting the Baby in Half post. People should have been questioning why both sides of the argument thought it was an acceptable decision.
That said Richard Nixon would have banned guns and is on record thus:
Nixon didn't take any action in regard to handguns because he saw it as a political loser. On the other hand, Ronald Reagan signed into law the Mulford Act, which sounds like it came from another universe compared to the current situation of "gun rights":
"I don't know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house," Nixon said in a taped conversation with aides. "The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth." He asked why "can't we go after handguns, period?"Nixon went on: "I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it." But "people should not have handguns." He laced his comments with obscenities, as was typical.
Nixon made his remarks in the Oval Office on May 16, 1972, the day after a would-be assassin shot and paralyzed segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. As president, Nixon never publicly called for a ban on all handguns. Instead, he urged Congress to pass more modest legislation banning Saturday night specials, which were cheaply made, easily concealed and often used by criminals.
Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control, as did the National Rifle Association of America. Governor Ronald Reagan, who was coincidentally present on the capitol lawn when the protesters arrived, later commented that he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons" and that guns were a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." In a later press conference, Reagan added that the Mulford Act "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."Oddly enough, this wasn't an aberration:
If anything demonstrates just how much the GOP has changed from its once-held belief in good governance to its radical anti-government stance, it’s the issue of gun control. For decades, Republicans had a reputation for supporting moderate gun control laws. (Some even entertained more drastic measures, such as Richard Nixon’s private deliberation over whether to ban all handguns in 1972.) The Republican philosophy of limited government still allowed most Republicans to believe they had an obligation to limit guns.
While many commenters point out the switch in the NRA posture to the 1977 Cincinnati Revolt. That was when the NRA changed from what would be considered a sporting organisation to its current "gun rights" stance.
Intervening is the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan, which didn't really do much for gun laws. It did result in something called "the Brady Campaign", which is named for James "Jim" Brady who was wounded in that attack.
I would go on to point out that the previous attempt to regulate "assault weapons" started with an executive order by George H.W. Bush, which is something most commenters leave out of the discussion. The 1994 law only codified something what was already weak.
But like the Second Amendment revisionism, I have been pointing out that this issue is not one of right or left, liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, but of public safety. There have been people on the "right", "Republicans"if you will who have pointed out that the "Second Amendment Right" "is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
There are many issues related to this, but the bottom line is that this is an issue of public safety. As such it deserves an honest discussion with proper facts.
And start questioning why YOUR side may be taking the stance it is since it may not be in YOUR best interest.