The American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA) is once again trying to confuse hunters into believing two bold lies: that the NRA does not support hunting, and that AHSA and the Sierra Club do.
In a report released on August 21, AHSA makes the ridiculous argument that NRA is anti-hunting because NRA does not support the same candidates that Sierra Club and other environmental groups support. The problem is, these groups rate candidates on their radical environmental record, not on their support for hunting or for gun owners’ rights. In fact, the politicians endorsed by the Sierra Club are a “Who’s Who” of the most anti-gun politicians in American history. Gun-ban advocates like Barack Obama, John Kerry, Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Frank Lautenberg, Jack Reed, and Teddy Kennedy have all been endorsed by the Sierra Club. Since Teddy Kennedy wants to ban almost all ammunition used by hunters in America, it is impossible to see how the Sierra Club is supporting hunters by endorsing him.
Groups like the Sierra Club rate lawmakers on many issues that have nothing to do with hunters or hunting, and do not rate on some issues that do. While the Sierra Club supports massive set-asides of land under wilderness designations, they fail to consider hunter access to these lands. Wilderness designations often create problems for hunters because they do not provide for methods of access needed to actually use the land for hunting, since all improvements–including roads, trails and other changes–are prohibited. Such designations also prohibit programs to provide food and water to wildlife during times of drought. These policies are hardly good for hunters. Neither is Sierra Club support for anti-gun politicians who would end gun shows, ban guns and ammo, and support gun registration and gun licensing.
NRA knows that without our Second Amendment rights, Americans will lose our firearms to radical politicians like Obama. And without the right to own firearms, our hunting tradition will not survive. With this report, AHSA has made one thing perfectly clear: it is willing to sacrifice Second Amendment rights–and in the end, hunting in America–on the altar of its radical anti-gun agenda.
On the other hand, the NRA Political Victory Fund grades candidates first and foremost on their position on the protection of the Second Amendment, but also on their positions in support of issues relating to hunters. These issues include access to hunting lands, proper scientific management of game species, and expanding opportunities for hunters and hunting. NRA is also one of the most effective advocates for issues that truly impact hunters. Over the decades, NRA has worked hard at the federal and state level to protect and enhance our hunting heritage. NRA worked to reform federal law on migratory birdhunting. We have fought to keep federal lands open to hunting, to open more federal lands for hunters, and to protect conservation reserve programs that provide vital habitat for game species. In the states, NRA has worked for passage of youth hunting programs, for no-net-loss bills that ensure the amount of public land available to hunters is not diminished, and for increased hunter access plans like Open Fields and walk-in programs. AHSA has done none of this.
AHSA claims it is promoting “conservation,” but in truth, the groups it is endorsing are radical environmental groups. For these groups, hunting is either not a factor at all, or, at best, something to be endured but not promoted. In fact, these groups oppose hunting if it interferes with their radical agenda, as it did when it came to listing polar bears as endangered and banning the importation of polar bear trophies.
AHSA knows its report is phony, which is why it never lists any of the anti-gun politicians it is attacking NRA for not supporting. But for AHSA to mislead gun owners and hunters is nothing new. AHSA claims to be pro-gun, but in reality, they are not.
AHSA was created with the specific intent to provide political cover for anti-gun politicians by allowing them to claim support from a “sportsmen’s” group. In truth, the anti-gun credentials of AHSA’s leadership is well documented. In 2000, AHSA president Ray Schoenke donated $5,000 to Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Campaign) and the Ray and Holly Schoenke Foundation also made donations to the Brady Campaign. Former AHSA Board member John Rosenthal remains the leader of Stop Handgun Violence, and has recently unveiled a new anti-gun billboard in Massachusetts attacking gun shows with misleading and untrue claims. And one of the leading organizers, and current Executive Director, of AHSA is Bob Ricker, who has been a paid expert witness against gun manufacturers in a number of reckless lawsuits. (For more information, see Anti-Gunners Don Camo As Elections Loom.)
AHSA is a front group for left-wing zealots who want to fool sportsmen into voting for anti-gun candidates by lying to them about the issues. That is why AHSA has endorsed Barack Obama and his extreme anti-gun views. That is why AHSA is now attacking NRA for failing to endorse men and women who would end most gun ownership in America, including the guns used by hunters. NRA members, and everyone who really cares about our hunting tradition, should be reassured that NRA does not, and will not ever, endorse the vast majority of radical anti-gun zealots regularly supported by the Sierra Club and AHSA.