Conservation versus Guns: Faux gun group American Hunters and Shooters Assoc. says take conservation

By Larry S. Moore

Much a-do has been made about the false prophets of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA) spreading the gospel of conservation according to the high holy Barack Obama. AHSA's mantra is that there is more to the sportsmen vote than just guns.

AHSA was recently described by its founder as a gun rights organization for Democrats, and the backgrounds of the AHSA founders and leadership are well documented on this and other websites.

AHSA President Ray Schoenke has been touring Ohio promoting Obama, their endorsed candidate.

Schoenke, who is a former NFL player, owns a hunting preserve on the east coast. His wife is a former member of the Brady Campaign Board of Directors. She left the Brady Campaign because the gun control issue was not moving forward quickly enough. No doubt, despite her husband’s assurances that our guns are safe with Obama, she expects things to move more quickly under an Obama presidency.

Joining Schoenke in Ohio is Charles “Rocky” Saxbe, who also owns an exclusive hunting preserve operation called Van Darby Club. I suppose they may believe that because of money, influence and position their guns and their hunting preserves might be spared under Barack Obama. I wonder where that may leave the rest of us who rely on public wildlife areas or farming contacts for our places to hunt? This sounds tremendously like the British or European version of hunting for the landed gentry. We threw off that yoke over 230 years ago and I have no desire to return to it.

Conservation is important to hunters. Hunters, such as Teddy Roosevelt were responsible for the first conservation laws and founding the national park system. From this grew the conservation movement in which hunters continue to lead in true conservation efforts through organizations like the NWTF, DU, Pheasants Forever, etc. Some groups within the conservation movement, such as the Sierra Club, have been hijacked by liberal environmentalist who oppose land use, hunting and also favor gun control. Guns are important to hunters.

I am involved in many conservation efforts through my time, my membership and my purchase of hunting/fishing licenses. Shooters are involved with conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax. This tax was sought by sportsmen many years ago as a method to fund conservation. It is levied at the manufacturing level on makers of firearms, ammunition and hunting/trapping-related merchandise. Similar taxes are levied on fishing equipment and archery equipment.

I am involved with Second Amendment issues because I am a gun owner and a hunter. Prior to concealed carry in Ohio, I did not own any semi-automatic handguns. But, as a sportsman, I understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment and worked for the passage of concealed carry.

So faced with the decision of conservation versus gun issues, what is the deciding factor in my vote? I don’t need a smoke screen proclaiming alternate issues. My decision is simply based on the Constitution of the United States. There is a Second Amendment. There is no amendment proclaiming my right to hunt. There is no amendment proclaiming the right to conservation. That is simple and straightforward enough for this country boy.

The Obama track record on the Second Amendment and guns is quite clear enough for anyone who wishes to take a look. The false prophets of the AHSA and their allies should try removing the blinders and look for the truth.

If that is not enough, just look at the endorsements by the radical anti-hunting Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club. Politics makes for some strange bedfellows. It seems impossible to apply logic to this situation and come up with any sort of rationale about why a hunter should endorse Obama when the leading anti-hunting organizations are also endorsing him. That goes well beyond strange bedfellows in politics – that is impossible bed fellows in my mind.

Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award and 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year.

Related Story:
Guest VIEW: Clarifying the position of gun club, NRA

In response to the front page article in the Oct. 9 Tribune about the Gallia County Gun Club, Barack Obama and the NRA:

As a past president of the Gun Club and chairman of the Gallia Area Friends of NRA, to my knowledge the Gun Club has never endorsed any candidate being local, state or national and certainly not Sen. Barack Obama, as was implied in the article.

The so-called member of the Gallia County Gun Club, Mr. George Myers, was a member about two years ago, but according to the club’s secretary, he was dropped as a member in good standing for failure to pay his dues, and for violation of club rules. In my opinion this article was nothing more than a political stunt from a group that nobody heard of, and is less than two years old compared to the NRA that has been protecting our Second Amendment rights for over a 137 years.

...AHSA was created with the specific intent to provide political cover for anti-gun politicians by allowing them to claim support from a "sportsman's" group.

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