Neel Kashkari said Wednesday that he owns four guns and supports gun rights but is "not running on an agenda of the Second Amendment," highlighting a contrast with Tim Donnelly, the other main Republican running for governor.
"If you're a single issue voter, and you just want someone to give you a full capacity assault rifle magazine, God bless you, you can go vote for somebody else," Kashkari told a group of college Republicans at California State University, Sacramento. "I'm not your guy."
Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman, is the Legislature's most outspoken gun rights advocate. He pleaded no contest in 2012 to two misdemeanor gun charges related to the discovery of a loaded firearm in his carry-on bag at a Southern California airport, and he has used publicity around the incident to promote himself to conservative audiences.
Kashkari, the more moderate Republican challenging Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, said the most common questions he gets on Facebook are about the Second Amendment.
"I do know philosophically that I deeply believe in protecting my own gun rights, and that means protecting your gun rights," Kashkari said. "But I also believe that, you know, we need to be reasonable about things."
Kashkari spoke broadly against "layering more gun rules on me, on responsible gun owners," saying additional restrictions will not prevent gun violence or make people safer. But the former U.S. Treasury Department official said he does not oppose waiting periods or background checks, which he said "didn't inconvenience me in the slightest" when he has purchased guns.
Kashkari also said, "I'm not fearful of the Army coming and marching on my home, so I don't have guns to try to defend myself against the Army. I have guns for my own sport, for my own personal protection, etcetera."
Kashkari said after the event that he owns two 9mm Glock 17 pistols, one Weatherby rifle and one shotgun, a Remington 870 Express.
When a student suggested the purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure citizens can overthrow a tyrannical government, if necessary, Kashkari said, "I understand that, and I hear you on that, but if the Army decides to come in with an M1 tank, good luck."
PHOTO: Neel Kashkari speaks to college Republicans at California State University, Sacramento, on Feb. 19, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders