Texas Gov. Rick Perry at shooting range; Presidential candidate keeps Second Amendment front and center of his campaign
by Chad D. Baus
ABCNews.com is reporting that ahead of Saturday night's ABC News-Yahoo-WMUR debate in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Perry took a few moments to himself at an Austin-area shooting range.
Perry is the only Republican presidential candidate to have made his support for gun rights an integral part of his campaign.
From the article:
"Just relaxing a bit @ Red's Range before we leave for New Hampshire!" @governorperry tweeted Friday along with a photo of himself wearing a green sweatshirt and a baseball cap with a firearm in hand.
On the campaign trail, Perry, a staunch defender of second amendment rights, has not been shy about talking about his "long love affair" with guns.
"It was a long love affair with a boy and his gun that turned into a man and his gun, and it turned into a man and his son and his daughter and their guns," Perry told reporters before a pheasant hunting trip with Iowa Rep. Steve King in October. "It's, I think, one of the great American traditions is taking your family hunting.
And Perry often boasts about the time he allegedly shot a coyote who threatened his daughter's dog while on a morning run.
"You know the second amendment allows me to go to jogging with my daughter's dog over here and if it coyote comes out, I can take care of it," Perry said at the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair in August.
In a 2010 KTRK interview during his gubernatorial race, Perry called the shooting range "my golf."
On Friday, Perry showed up at Red’s Indoor Range, which according to its website, "has been in the shooting range and retail firearms business for over 20 years, proudly serving central Texas with two high-quality indoor shooting facilities as well as two retail locations with extensive inventories of firearms, ammunition, and accessories."
ABCNews.com notes that Perry has decided not to compete actively in New Hampshire, where anti-gun candidate Mitt Romney has a commanding lead, preferring to turn his attention to the contest in South Carolina instead.
In 2008, there was much discussion about gun rights during the Republican Presidential primaries. Although there were a number of Republican candidates who had a strong pro-Second Amendment record, the party eventually settled on a candidate with an extremely spotty record on the Second Amendment (as well as other issues important to the conservative base).
The end result was that very little excitement could be found among the grassroots gun rights movement, which had been credited just two elections before with having tipped the vote in favor of then-Texas Governor George W. Bush (R) over then-Vice President Albert Gore Jr. (D). (In 2000, gun owners made up 38 percent of the total vote in New Mexico, 33 percent of the total in Florida and 27 percent of the total in Ohio)
Coupled with a media willing to cover for the extreme anti-gun record of the Democrats' candidate, Barack Obama, and a faux pro-gun group which had been set up by Democrats to provide cover (and which has since been dismantled), the stage was set for the election of the most anti-gun President in history.
Three years later, the Republican party is again faced with the prospect of choosing a candidate they believe can beat Obama at the ballot box. Unlike his last campaign, Obama's record of opposition to the Second Amendment rights of Americans can no longer be concealed. Since he was elected, Obama nominated proven gun ban extremists to his cabinet, attempted to stop the Department of Defense from selling once-fired military brass to reloaders, voiced support for a South American treaty as an end run around the Constitution, appointed two anti-gun Supreme Court Justices, blocked the import of highly collectible, historical military surplus firearms and slated them for destruction, and in a secret, closed door meeting with one of the nation's leading gun ban groups promised that he is working on even more gun control efforts "under the radar." More recently still, Obama's ATF has been exposed for having allowed the sale of as many as 2500 guns to Mexican drug cartels, which have since been used in multiple murders, as part of the now infamous "Fast and Furious" scandal.
If ever there was a time for Republicans to take advantage of a motivated grassroots pro-gun voting block, it is now. But will the party choose wisely, or will they once again neuter the pro-gun vote?
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.