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.
But there’s still a lot to do and not much time left.
In Congress and the courts, the left has carefully mapped out an anti-gun agenda. All they need is a president willing to push it though. All they need is another Clinton.
As Ken Blackwell noted in his recent column, Hillary Clinton is the most openly anti-gun presidential candidate in history. She does not even pretend to be friendly to America’s gun owners. She’s a Northeastern liberal with a socialist philosophy, no background or experience with firearms, and fiercely opposes Second Amendment rights. She hates guns, plain and simple. And she doesn’t think much of those of us who value our constitutional right to own them.
Gun owners must elect a president in 2008 who will support and defend the Second Amendment together with the rest of the Constitution. In fact, we can’t claim victory for the Second Amendment until all the candidates of both major parties—Democrats and Republicans alike—are eager to appear before the NRA and its supporters.
This election also will shape the federal courts. The 30-year old DC gun ban was struck down six months ago by a federal appeals court as violating the Second Amendment. DC is asking the Supreme Court to uphold the ban. NRA’s lawsuit over the New Orleans gun confiscation during Hurricane Katrina is set for trial in federal court in a few months. Gun rights are at stake.
If Hillary Clinton is going to be denied the presidency, it will be because American gun owners refuse to let her launch a hostile agenda against the Second Amendment and pack the Supreme Court with anti-gun judges.
To win this election and protect the Second Amendment America’s 90 million gun owners must unite under a common banner. The organization that has been on the front lines of the fight and has delivered for gun owners is the NRA. I hope to see millions more join the NRA to win what will be the toughest fight in history for the Second Amendment.
Who will be president if America’s 90 million gun owners speak with one voice? Anyone we want.