new energy for hunters and shooters
Few events have shaken up a recent campaign like the choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin—an NRA Life member—for the Republican vice-presidential nomination. Proof of Sen. John McCain’s wisdom in choosing her is that more Americans watched her acceptance speech than watched Barack Obama’s. Many commentators compared Gov. Palin’s natural stage presence to Ronald Reagan’s.
Star power aside, Gov. Palin is solidly rooted in America’s outdoor heritage. Shortly after she was born, her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, moved from Idaho to Alaska to enjoy the hunting and fishing lifestyle of America’s “Last Frontier.” And enjoy it they have: The Heaths were on their way to their caribou hunting camp when they got the news their daughter would be running for vice president, and the governor’s office is adorned with the skin of a bear that her father bagged.
As a young girl, the future governor went along on those adventures. “I was taught to use and respect guns at a very young age,” she told USA Today in 2006. “We hunt as much as we can and I’m proud to say our freezer is full of wild game we harvested here in Alaska.” While the mainstream urban media considers moose burgers exotic, Gov. Palin considers them dinner. As she told Women’s Adventure magazine, “My parents taught me to respect the land and the wildlife. When it comes to hunting, you’re going to hunt what you consume and leave no waste.”
Sarah Palin has carried the values of her youth into practice in the governor’s office. Under her leadership, Alaska joined 30 other states in submitting a brief to the Supreme Court in the Heller case, supporting the individual rights view of the Second Amendment and attacking the District of Columbia gun ban.
Gov. Palin has also stood strong against anti-hunting groups and in favor of wildlife management based on sound science. For example, because of the importance of subsistence hunting for many rural Alaskans, the state maintains a scientific program to ensure sustainable game animal populations by monitoring and controlling predator populations in certain areas. While Alaska maintains strict rules against use of aircraft for hunting, longtime anti-hunting U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., proposed a bill to outlaw use of aircraft in these sparingly used state management programs.
Gov. Palin didn’t hesitate to send Rep. Miller a strong response: “You have misconstrued the reality of life in Alaska and the importance of wild game as food to the people of this state,” her letter began. She went on to explain how the program worked, and urged the congressman “not to swallow the rhetoric of special interest advocacy groups trying to raise money for their inaccurate campaigns.”
Beyond her actions as governor, perhaps the best testimony that Sarah Palin would stick to her guns as vice president is her father’s. “The rest of the kids, I could force them to do something,” he told his daughter’s biographer. “But with Sarah, there was no way. From a young age she had a mind of her own. Once she made up her mind, she didn’t change it.” That’s the kind of spirit gun owners need on our side in Washington.