By Russ Thurman
It was refreshing — if not a bit stunning — to have the president of the United States actually promote the shooting sports and the Second Amendment.
In August, President Trump released a message recognizing NSSF’s National Shooting Sports Month. He opened with, “We celebrate the wonderful American tradition of shooting sports.” That alone is a morale booster!
The last time we had a president who supported the industry and firearms was 2008. Given the hostility directed at gun owners and the industry by the Obama Administration, it seems like a century ago. Especially since many of us recall presidents proudly holding firearms featured on covers of mainstream magazines.
“Shooting sports help reinforce many of the bedrock values of our people, such as the free exercise of the Second Amendment,” the president said. “Mastery of shooting sports requires rigor, discipline and training. State and local shooting sports programs — and instruction by trained family members and mentors — affirm the role of local communities as the primary teacher of the rule of law and personal responsibility.”
President Trump concluded his message with, “I encourage all Americans engaged in shooting sports to continue promoting a culture of safety and to continue exercising the responsibility and duty associated with the right to keep and bear arms.”
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke also celebrated National Shooting Sports Month by pulling the trigger at The Range of Richfield in Richfield, Wis. The
former Navy SEAL commander echoed NSSF’s message to all Americans: “Let’s go shooting.”
Congratulations to NSSF for the successful celebration of National Shooting Sports Month, with a special salute for garnering the support of the president.
Red Or Blue Wave?
The support for firearm ownership and the industry from those “inside the beltway” is vital. On Capitol Hill, Republican control of both houses of Congress has been instrumental in holding the line against an avalanche of proposed gun-control legislation. But control is not guaranteed. On Nov. 6, Americans will vote for numerous elected offices throughout the nation, including those in Washington, D.C.
A point concerning Republican vs. Democrat: There are hundreds of thousands of Democrats who are gun owners and support the Second Amendment. However, in recent decades, the Democratic Party, in general, has championed gun-control measures. Conversely, for the most part, the Republican Party has countered such efforts.
This November, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans hold a 43-seat margin, with an additional six seats vacant, as of this writing. In the Senate, Republicans hold 51 seats, Democrats 47 — with two Independents caucusing with the Democratic Party.
Is there a possibility Republicans could lose control of the House or Senate, or both? Yes. Possibly. Of course. Maybe.
Throughout the nation, there are a number of elections for state offices, including 36 for governors. While a lot of attention is focused on Capitol Hill and how Congress handles gun-related issues, we all know the harm many state and local governments are causing related to firearms, gun ownership and the industry.
In all, there is a significant number of elected offices in play next month. Depending on which political party, media outlet and self-appointed expert is making pronouncements, there will a Red Wave or a Blue Wave.
What’s really important is an Industry Voting Wave! We all must vote.
It is amazing the number of “dedicated” members of this industry, along with gun owners, who don’t vote. Just as remarkable are the excuses offered: “I forgot.” Forgot! “I just couldn’t get away,” “I was hunting,” “had a flat tire,” “didn’t have time,” “too tired.” Yet these are the same dedicated members of the industry who bemoan elections that might have gone their way if they “had voted.”
Every Vote Counts
Mark your calendars, set your smartphone alerts or hire a personal assistant if needed to ensure you vote on Nov. 6. If you are going to be away, say on that long-planned hunting trip, then vote absentee.
In addition, if you’re the boss, ensure those in your company are given time off to vote, and encourage them to do so.
The 2018 midterm elections are critical for a number of reasons in addition to those issues impacting gun ownership and the industry. And every vote counts. Just ask those who didn’t vote in November 2016 for their presidential candidate of choice, and were shocked at who is not in the White House and on Capitol Hill.