As the premier organization representing American gun owners, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has taken center stage in the ongoing election drama. To stop anti-gun presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, gun owners must unite to protect their Second Amendment rights. With early primaries right around the corner, there’s no time to lose.
Republican presidential candidates lined up to spend time with the NRA at its Celebration of American Values in Washington, D.C. Leading candidates of one of America’s major political parties set aside a day of campaigning to speak to NRA members.
The candidates who took part understand that the gun vote is important. They get it. How things have changed.
When I was first elected to the NRA board of directors in 1992, I could not have imagined that an exclusively Second Amendment event would draw personal appearances by major presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Fred Thompson. Even candidates with whom the NRA has disagreed came, looking for common ground and to start a respectful and productive dialogue.
For over a generation now gun control has been a hotly-contested issue in national politics and NRA has been at the forefront of the debate. Occasionally the left has won. Anti-gun forces had their greatest success under Bill Clinton, the darkest years for Second Amendment supporters since NRA’s political apparatus went online.
But since then millions of gun owners have organized under the NRA, and the results have been astounding. George W. Bush beat Al Gore in 2000, and even Bill Clinton acknowledged the NRA played a pivotal role, especially in Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia and Florida. In 2002, NRA targeted anti-gun senators and helped secure a pro-Second Amendment Senate majority. In 2004, NRA targeted key states against John Kerry, and defeated Tom Daschle in gun-friendly South Dakota. Even in 2006, most Democrats who won swing seats in the House and Senate openly supported the Second Amendment.
Despite eight years of a Clinton White House, and millions of dollars funneled to anti-Second Amendment causes by leftist millionaire George Soros, MoveOn.org and the Hollywood establishment, gun ownership continues today to be an honored part of our American tradition. The NRA rightly claims much of the credit for that, and has proven to the entire political establishment that America’s 90 million gun owners demand that our nation’s leaders respect their Second Amendment rights.
More and more Americans have come to recognize and appreciate NRA’s contribution. So when NRA created a forum for presidential candidates to express their support for the Second Amendment, almost every major Republican candidate showed up.
Sandy Froman is the immediate past president of the National Rifle Association of America, only the second woman and the first Jewish American to hold that office in the 136-year history of the NRA. The views expressed are her own and not that of any organization.
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