Presidential candidate Jim Webb defended the Second Amendment rights of Americans during the Democratic Debate Tuesday evening, noting that many government officials are afforded round-the-clock armed protection.

After being confronted by CNN moderator Anderson Cooper on his previous “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, Webb, a former Virginia senator, began by noting that the majority of shootings in the country involve criminal street gangs and the mentally incapacitated.

“There are two fundamental issues that are involved in this discussion and we need to pay respect to both of them,” Webb said. “The first is the issue of who should be kept from having guns and using firearms and we have done not a good job on that.”

“A lot of them are criminals and a lot of the people that are getting killed are members of gangs inside our urban areas and a lot of them are mentally incapacitated.”

While advocating for a greater focus on mental health, Webb went on to defend the tradition of the Second Amendment in American culture.

“We have to respect the tradition in this country of people who want to defend themselves and their family from violence…” Webb said.

In his closing comments on the topic, Webb stunned his fellow candidates by alluding to the hypocrisy of government officials who demand strict gun control while being defended by armed body guards.

“There are people at high levels in this government who have body guards 24 hour a day, 7 days a week,” Webb added. “The average American does not have that and deserves the right to be able to protect their family.”

The point echoed by Webb has received increased attention in the wake of comments by media pioneer Matt Drudge, who gave a rare interview on the Alex Jones Show last week in which he called for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to remove their armed security.

“They’re all armed themselves, or they all have that security around them themselves. They don’t have to worry about [danger.] I challenge Hillary, take away your Secret Service. Take it away now. Take away your Secret Service; dismiss them. Have no security around you; have no guns around you, Hillary. I dare you. I dare you,” Drudge said.

“Obama, same thing. Drop your guns, Obama. Take your Secret Service away, Obama. Take it all away. Leave the White House unguarded, Obama. Let everybody know there’s no guns on the White House grounds, Obama.”

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