The McCain-Palin ticket: A good choice for gun owners

By Tim Inwood

This has been a most unusual political year for me--unusual in that I was having trouble working up real enthusiasm for the Republican nominee after the primary season, as I thrive on politics. But I had little joy this time.

I will confess John McCain was not my first pick, nor even my second or third choice, in the primary process. His record on guns has not been good enough for my tastes. Hence my lackluster desire to get too involved. His often reaching across the aisle also made me somewhat suspicious. I did not care for his status as a Maverick bucking conservative trends.

The words from an essay circulating on the Internet best expressed how I felt about Senator McCain: “Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain.”

Indeed this was pretty much the case. Senator Barack Obama inspired me to act for Senator McCain. Obama has a terrible record on guns and gun rights. He argued to allow criminals to sue people who defended themselves with firearms, and to allow the state of Illinois to prosecute homeowners who used a firearm to defend themselves. He thought his support of the Washington D.C. gun ban was entirely consistent with his claim that he supported the Second Amendment. Pure nonsense. The man is your typical anti-gun liberal democrat.

A couple months ago I was asked to be the Coordinator for Sportsmen and Gun owners for McCain in my home county. I had done this for President Bush in 2004 and, though reluctant this time, I agreed to do the job. I did however lecture those representatives of the campaign at length about how the conservative base and that very important constituency, gun owners, must not be forgotten after the election, and to show good faith the campaign needed a pro-gun Vice-Presidential pick.

Fast forward to August 7th and we find the McCains visiting my home town of Wilmington, Ohio. The reason for the visit was for the Senator to get a briefing on the crisis over DHL leaving Clinton County and the 10,000+ jobs that would be lost. During this visit I am pleased to say I got to meet both the Senator and his lovely wife Cindy. Though I did not really get to talk to the Senator, I did get to chat with Cindy about what I did for the campaign and the importance of keeping gun owners happy. I strongly suggested a pro-gun Vice-Presidential pick. I am very pleased to report that Mrs. McCain is a very informed woman and well aware of how the campaign is structured and what goes on in the inner workings. I thought the chat productive, as rumor has it she has his ear.

Skip forward to Friday, August 29th. My son and I found ourselves standing in line outside the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. As we waited to get in the hall, we and the others speculated on who the Vice Presidential pick would be. I had heard early that morning that the Governor of Alaska had flown in overnight. I must say the rumors regarding Sarah Palin had us quite exhilarated, as I had done a bit of research on her and found her to embrace many of the issues so important to us, the firearm-owning population of the USA. With VIP passes in hand we worked our way down on to the floor near the stage.

The morning rally had the crowd worked up. Noon came and my son and I stood on the floor to the left of the podium and with a good view down the tunnel where John McCain and his wife with their daughter emerged into the light and the cheers of thousands of people. As they took the stage I continued to look into the tunnel. To my pleasure, I could see in the dim light the entire Palin family standing waiting to be introduced.

What happened next you saw on television. (or if not, watch it now!)

It was great political theater. We were told of her experience as Governor of Alaska, her life story and about her son who has joined the army on September 11th and was soon to leave for Iraq. What they did not cover in detail, but that is being repeated everywhere by the media, is Sarah Palin is a life member of the NRA.

Indeed, she is not one of these politicians who join so they can say they are a NRA member; no, she is a true believer in our Second Amendment rights. An avid hunter all her life, there is a photo of her with game she had taken on the biography page of the State of Alaska’s web site for the governor. She makes no apologies for participating in the traditional blood sports of hunting and fishing. She embraces these traditions.

This is a woman who grew up in a family that owned guns and hunts. On the day of her announcement she called her parents to let them know to watch TV--which interrupted her parents’ plans to go Caribou hunting that Friday morning. These are my kind of people.

Her selection is just the reassurance this conservative gun owner needed to be assured the McCain camp understands our concerns and has heard our voices.

From the gun owners' perspective, Obama has given us more reason to come out and vote in November, with his Vice Presidential selection. Senator Joe Biden is another avowed anti-gun liberal politician. Hardly “change we can believe in”...this guy is the epitome of the anti-gun liberal politics of old. He has been entrenched in the Senate since 1972 and there has not been a year of his career that he has not worked against our gun rights. While chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he over saw codifying the 1989 Semi Auto firearms import ban. The Brady Act and the Clinton semi-auto ban, as part of the Omnibus crime bill of 1994, were his pet projects. As I recall, they also entertained looking at legislation with a one-gun-a-month limit, a 10,000% tax on ammo suggested by the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and legislation to put taggants in ammo as well as a chemical to shorten primer life. Thank God none of that moved beyond that committee. In short, Obama- Biden is the Sarah Brady/Toby Hoover dream ticket.

Voting for a third party is only going to help the Obama anti-gun crew get closer to the White House, my friends. Nice guy that Bob Barr is, don’t even consider it. We should all remember the folks who voted for Perot in 1992 and 1996 and how that gave us two terms of Clinton. Both times, I might add, with less than 50 percent of the people voting for him.

When you compare the two major parties, the choice is clear for gun owners. You have the two anti-gun candidates on the Democrat ticket, both very deserving of the solid F- rating they have garnered from the NRA. Then you have Senator McCain who, despite what the NRA says, in my book deserves a “C” rating, though I would bump it up to a B- with his choice today of Governor Palin, for she is clearly a solid A+. The choice is very clear to me. Senator McCain is not perfect, but is clearly the better choice for us. I can now feel much better about trying to help him secure the Presidency with Sarah Palin by his side. He is making progress in our direction. He hailed the Heller decision as brilliant and has chosen a female running mate who knows how to shoot an AR-15.

My choice is made, and I hope yours is too. Now you need to get out and get registered, vote and get your like-minded family and friends to do the same.

Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA and Life Member of the OGCA, Republican Central Committeeman for Chester Township A, in Clinton County, Ohio, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.

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