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Governors 2008: Protecting Your Rights Close to Home

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Governors 2008: Protecting Your Rights Close to Home

While the presidential race grabs the headlines, the governors elected this year will play a key role in protecting--or diminishing--gun owners’ rights.

By NRA-ILA Staff

In this election year, the presidential contest is the proverbial 1,000-pound gorilla: It gets the attention of everyone in the room, and with good reason. Presidents are crucial decision makers who can seriously impact our Second Amendment rights. As we saw during the Clinton administration, a president can use his “bully pulpit” to bully the Congress into passing new restrictions on gun owners’ rights, and can command new anti-gun actions by federal agencies.
Governors have similar power in state capitals. In some ways, state legislatures and governors have a bigger impact on gun owners’ rights than do Congress and the president. That is why, in every election year, gun owners must pay close attention to the candidates in these races and select the best advocates for gun owners’ rights. And then we must follow up with the hard work to help get them elected.
The majority of governors’ races are held in non-presidential election years, so this year there are only 11 gubernatorial elections. But these few races provide important opportunities for gun owners to help elect pro-gun leaders. The following are some of the key races for gun owners.

INDIANA: Mitch Daniels
Governor Mitch Daniels has been a solid proponent of gun owners’ rights in Indianapolis for the past four years. He worked with legislative leaders to advance pro-gun initiatives. He strongly supported and signed Indiana’s “Castle Doctrine” law to promote Hoosiers’ self-defense rights. Daniels also signed the law creating lifetime Right-to-Carry permits. Gov. Daniels also, by executive order, changed regulations to allow lawful carry in state parks. Gun owners have a strong advocate in Governor Daniels and he deserves our full support.

Kenny Hulshof
Kenny Hulshof has served 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and during that time amassed a pro-gun record that is as close to perfect as that of any member of Congress. He has supported legislation to prohibit gun confiscation during emergencies. He also voted to end reckless lawsuits against the firearm industry, to reform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and to end the D.C. gun ban.
His opponent, Jay Nixon, on the other hand, has a long history of opposition to Second Amendment rights. In Missouri, the choice is clear: Kenny Hulshof is the only candidate who will stand up for gun owners and protect our hunting heritage.

John Hoeven
In North Dakota, gun owners have an opportunity to re-elect one of the most pro-gun and pro-hunting governors in the country. For eight years Governor Hoeven has proven himself time and again as a stalwart ally, and his election to a third term will give gun owners and sportsmen a strong friend in the governor’s mansion.
Joe Manchin
The Mountain State is certainly a haven for sportsmen and gun owners and, for the past four years, Governor Joe Manchin has reflected that fact. He has signed “Castle Doctrine” and emergency powers legislation, and has expanded Right-to-Carry reciprocity with many additional states. For sportsmen, he signed a bill to put hunting safety classes in the public schools as an elective. Governor Manchin’s pro-gun record goes back years as a state legislator and his long history of support makes his re-election an important goal for West Virginia gun owners.

These races, as well as the thousands of state legislative seats up for election this year, are all key to protecting our Second Amendment rights. With the presidential race getting all the press, it is important not to forget that state legislatures can and do have a huge impact on our rights. We must all get informed, get active and most importantly, get out to vote. Please make sure all your pro-gun friends and family do the same.

For more information on elections in your state, check the Political Preference Charts in the center of this magazine, or log on to


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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.