What BFA's candidate grades mean
BFA-PAC issues both endorsements and grades to help you better understand each race and how the candidates stack up on Second Amendment issues. We base our decisions on voting records, candidate surveys, and personal knowledge of each candidate. We generally know incumbents better and are incumbent-friendly, so incumbents will generally get the endorsement when two candidates are substantially similar.
What the grades mean
A+ = A strong supporter who has done more than vote with us every time. They are candidates that have answered a call to do specific work to improve our laws. We have kept the A+ rating very rare so you can identify the best of the best.
A = A candidate who supports what we have done and what we have left to do.
Aq = A candidate "A" grade that is based solely on our questionnaire. We have no voting record to evaluate. (Other grades may have a "q" for the same reason.)
B = A candidate who agrees with most of what we are doing and most of what we hope to accomplish in the upcoming legislative session. This is generally the lowest grade someone can have to earn our endorsement.
C = A candidate who has been helpful with some issues but has been against us on others. Oftentimes they simply need education to help them understand our issue, but sometimes they have concerns that we can not address without unduly burdening the law-abiding gun owner.
D = Someone who generally votes against us but is not necessarily hostile towards our rights or someone who may have supported our bills but who has done something we consider exceptionally harmful to rights.
F = Someone who has a terrible voting record, is openly hostile toward our rights, and/ or has worked or helped others to restrict our rights.
?? = Someone for whom we do not have enough current information to issue a grade according to our strict, data-driven process. This could mean they did not return a candidate survey, have no voting record, or for whom we could not find pertinent information relating to firearms rights.
NOTE: Unlike some other organizations, we do not just "guess" at grades or assign good grades to friends and bad grades to enemies. We strive to issue grades based on a careful assessment of actual data in order to be accurate, fair, and consistent. This often results in anti-gun candidates receiving a "??" grade. On the other hand, some "??" candidates may be supporters of your rights, but we don't have the data we need to better grade them. Use caution when voting for candidates with a "??" grade.
BFA-PAC endorsements are focused primarily on state-level races. We also endorse in some local races. BFA-PAC does not endorse in all federal office elections. (For federal NRA-PVF endorsements, click here.) We may issue endorsements to candidates for federal office that we have endorsed in prior elections or a candidate we have worked with on Second Amendment issues. BFA-PAC also reserves the right to address any political race with such importance, we feel compelled to endorse.
According to our candidate selection criterion, to be considered for grading and/or endorsement in a general election, the candidate individually must show that they have run for public office before and received at least 10% of the votes cast in that race, or the party the candidate is running to represent must have received at least 10% of the vote in a statewide general election race in the past three cycles.
This means that not every candidate who appears on the ballot will appear on our candidate list. Due to limited resources, we must utilize a selection criteria to keep the process manageable. Just because we don't list a candidate does not mean they are bad on our issues.
BFA-PAC is nonpartisan. We do list a candidate's party affiliation next to their name. Our only consideration is how a candidate measures up on Second Amendment related issues. While we understand that many people have preferences and party affiliation, we as an organization do not.
We are a "single issue" PAC. We understand that many people have other issues that are important to them. However, just as it would not be right for a pro-life group to endorse on the basis of gay rights issues, it is not appropriate for us to consider anything but Second Amendment rights when issuing our grades and endorsements. We recommend you find another groups that grade candidates on those issues that are important to you. We pride ourselves on being exceptionally accurate on our single issue.