Charles CottonNRA endorsements are powerful, very very powerful, and every gun owner had better hope they remain so. Gun rights are not the only issue I care strongly about, but gun rights are a litmus test. If a candidate is wrong on guns, then I don’t care where they stand on anything else. Most people who take gun rights seriously feel the same way and that’s why NRA endorsements are so important in elections. Were it otherwise, Gore and/or Kerry would have been President and many legislative battles would have been lost. Like it or not, admit it or not, those are the facts.

The general public tends to believe that Second Amendment supporters are conservatives, but we also have moderates and liberals in our ranks.   Good, as Second Amendment supporters we need people from every political persuasion if we are to protect gun rights and some day make the Second Amendment a non-issue. If we want guns to be off-limits to all political parties, then we had better make everyone welcome on our side of this issue. Otherwise, our future will always be in doubt and dependent upon the party in power.

The media are abuzz about the NRA’s presumed endorsement of Nevada Senator Harry Reid.  However, the NRA has not endorsed Harry Reid.  Most of the time people who support the Second Amendment also support conservative values, so it’s relatively rare that we have a voting dilemma in supporting pro-gun candidates. This is precisely why the majority of pro-gun elected officials are Republicans and why most newly elected Democrats in Congress are considered “blue-dog” pro-gun Democrats.  Hopefully, this will change and we will see more Democrats supporting the Second Amendment.  I’d love to see the day when gun rights are absolutely safe regardless who is in power in Washington or Austin, so we can fight over abortion, taxes, school vouchers, immigration, prayer in school, and numerous other issues that will surely divide us. Unless we make guns a do-or-die issue above everything else, that day will never come. Politicians and Party leaders need to know that, no matter how divided we may be on other issues, we will come together to defend the Second Amendment and that we will vote “guns” above anything else.

The NRA has a “friendly noncombatant” policy that is crucial to its success. No offense intended, but anyone who thinks this policy is not absolutely necessary simply does not know how politics works in the real world.   As soon as an organization abandons someone who supports its programs, legislation and goals, that organization has lost power in Washington (or Austin). Reliability is just as important in politics as in combat.  If an elected official who votes as you want them to vote (even against his Party’s position) can’t depend upon your support during tough times as well as the good times, then you have lost influence not only with that politician, but with all elected officials.  Betrayal is a message that travels quickly through the halls of congress and its impact is both lasting and devastating.

Occasionally I have to take a position on an issue or candidate that really goes against the grain, but it’s necessary for the protection of the Second Amendment.  It reminds me of the days when my two sons were young.  Sometimes it was necessary spank them or ground them or take them to the doctor to get shots (I HATE needles); I hated doing it, I would loved to have found a way around it, but because I love them I did what was necessary for their protection.  I love the Second Amendment too, so I answer the call to protect it even when I’d rather say home.

Chas.