If you are a gun owner, or simply an American citizen who believes that the Second Amendment was intended to protect your right to bear arms, this is not the year to stay home from the polls in November. President Obama is not a friend of the National Rifle Association (NRA) or our gun rights. The writing was on the wall months before Mr. Obama was elected. During a campaign speech in Pennsylvania, he inadvertently revealed his true colors when he mockingly alluded to those who “cling to their Bibles and guns.”
You can be sure that if there is a second term for this President, he and his leftwing minions will find a way, directly or indirectly, to further erode gun use and ownership in the United States.
What can you do?
For one thing, vote: show up at the polls. The second best thing that you can do is to join and support the NRA. For years, the National Rifle Association has worked tirelessly, not only in the marbled halls of Washington, but in the trenches of heartland America.
A remarkable testimonial to NRA’s effectivesness at the grass roots level this year was its support for gun owners in Indiana who had had a bellyful of Sen. Richard Lugar and his unrelenting assaults on gun rights. Lugar had represented Indiana for 36 years in the U.S. Senate. Entrenched as he could be and a darling of the Beltway, media pundits said that Lugar was unbeatable. According to Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA, “The Clinton gun ban, the Brady Bill, hunting bans – all found support from Dick Lugar. In his ill-fated bid for the Presidency in 1996, one of his TV commercials proudly stated that he voted to ban millions of commonly owned firearms.” In fact, from the NRA, which rates lawmakers, Lugar garnered an “F” rating for most of his three decades in the U. S. Senate.
After decades of running unchallenged, Lugar faced off this spring in the Indiana state primary against fellow Republican Richard Mourdock, the Indiana State Treasurer. To everyone’s surprise, especially the media, which had been dismissive about Mourdock’s chances against an icon like Lugar, Mourdock tromped Lugar in the Indiana primary by a margin of 60 to 40 percent! Lugar was defeated through a collaborative effort of Indiana Republicans, who had had enough, and an all-out multi-media campaign organized and funded by the NRA. According to Cox, the Luger upset also had a lot of help from Indiana NRA members, as well as state gun owners and hunters.
In another successful grass roots effort, the NRA rolled up its sleeves and helped thwart the attempted ouster of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker in a union-sponsored recall election. When Walker was elected governor in 2010, he signed a bill that enacted a Right to Carry statute in Wisconsin. The anti-gun faction, which remained furious about the new governor’s pro-gun stance, wanted to replace him with anti-gun candidate Tom Barrett, the same candidate that Walker defeated in 2010. In that Wisconsin “recall battle” the NRA also funded and organized a “comprehensive communications campaign” to inform Wisconsin gun owners about what was at stake. In that contest, Gov. walker emerged victorious with over 200,000 more votes than he received just two years ago.
The lessons are clear. The NRA — media criticism to the contrary — is not a faceless, monolithic lobby group that fattens its coffers at the little guy’s expense. The NRA is vigilant, organized and effectively involved, not only in the nation’s capitol, but out in the heartland of this country, where our freedoms and gun rights face many challenges at the local level.
Most promising of all, as indicated by both the Indiana and Wisconsin experience, we can turn back those who threaten our freedoms, even when the odds are stacked against us.
About the Author
V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WQVM-FM 101.3) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his new book is “A Maine Deer Hunter’s Logbook.”.
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