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NRA grades candidates on the curve
May 5, 9:36 PM - Fort Smith Gun Rights Examiner - Steve D. Jones
I had an NRA Political Victory Fund mailer forwarded to me today, one which announced they had graded the candidates for Arkansas House District 66 and was endorsing one of the candidates. I received this email after recently reading an open letter to Ted Nugent by the group Jews for the Preservation of Firearms, so I was naturally “on-guard” about the contents of the NRA’s suggestion.
The mailer stated the NRA-PVF was grading Kevin Holmes at an AQ rating (the “Q” stands for graded on questionnaire only) and was endorsing him for election to the seat. I then went to the PVF website and found they had graded opponent Gary Deffenbaugh at a B-. However, the PVF does not publish the answers candidates give on these questionnaires.
AQ A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.
B A generally pro-gun candidate. However, a “B” candidate may have opposed some pro-gun reform or supported some restrictive legislation in the past.
Why should this concern me? Several reasons come to mind, and all of them are connected to questionnaires the gun rights group Arkansas Carry sent out to both candidates earlier this year. Here are some examples of Kevin Holmes’s answers:
At this point, I would not support completely restoring open carry rights similar to those currently allowed in Vermont.
This answer may exactly match what the NRA wants in a candidate, based upon their lack of support for this gun right.
… I would support legislation that allows employers to make decisions whether to allow employee's the right to store firearms in their vehicles…
Anyone familiar with the NRA’s extended battle in Oklahoma over employee’s rights to possess firearms in their vehicles in an employer’s parking lot knows this viewpoint is completely against what the NRA stands for. How could the PVF give a candidate who has never voted on gun legislation an A rating with an anti-gun rights stance such as this? Holmes goes on to say in the questionnaire:
I believe the term "God-given right to self-defense" is not specifically included in the Heller decision, and I do not believe that the 2nd Amendment affirms a right to self-defense. I believe the 2nd Amendment gives our Country's citizens the right to keep and bear arms. I do not agree that the 2nd Amendment was extended in Heller to a specific right of self-defense, nor should it be. The decision to defend yourself or someone else from attack (and potentially take someone else's life in the process) should be reviewed on a case by case basis.
I would have to discuss these statements at length with Kevin Holmes to exactly understand his point on the Heller decision.
Gary Deffenbaugh answered the Arkansas Carry questionnaire with mostly brief statements. Arkansas Carry does not grade candidates; however, Deffenbaugh’s answers show him to be a definite pro-gun candidate. His answer to the question of support for open carry is questionable, but not in opposition, either:
I think churches and private businesses should be able to control what they do on their own property, but schools should be allowed have a more restrictive format. I would support that.
Deffenbaugh does say later in the questionnaire he would consider sponsoring open carry legislation.
Would the real pro-gun candidate please stand up? The NRA is no help here; in fact, without any real facts (such as the answers to the questionnaire submitted), voters should throw out the suggestion by NRA-PVR.
I suggest voters contact both candidates with any questions they have about their stance on gun issues. Read the Arkansas Carry questionnaires carefully and match them with the answers you personally get from the candidates. However you do it, vote pro-gun rights!
For more commentary, make the online journal, The War onGuns: Notes from the Resistance a daily stop.